BY ALEX DADAMU
THE Country’s COVID-19 preparedness at the western border has again boosted with the completion of the new isolation ward at the Gizo Hospital which will be officially opened this week.
With the already established COVID-19 testing capabilities also at Gizo Hospital, this practically means anybody that is tested positive for COVID-19 can immediately be isolated at Gizo Hospital. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in his nationwide address on Monday said this is part of the Government’s ongoing COVID-19 preparedness and response plans.
“The Minister for Health and Medical Services and his officials are expected to travel down to Gizo this week to launch this milestone achievement.
“The Isolation ward is a critical component of our COVID-19 preparedness and response plan to prevent any further spread of the virus if COVID-19 enters through our western border,” Prime Minister Sogavare said.
He further revealed that as part of the country’s contribution towards the global protection against COVID-19, the National Referral Hospital’s Molecular Laboratory has recently commenced pre-departure COVID-19 testing, as per the requirement from destination countries.
“This means outgoing travelers whose destination country requires a certain number of tests, can get these COVID-19 tests at the National Referral Hospital.
“So far, 92 foreigners have taken the pre-departure tests with 192 tests conducted so far because of repeated tests required of some countries. Only the National Referral Hospital Molecular lab is authorized by the government to carry out these tests,” Sogavare said.
It is understood that Solomon Islands is one of the only few countries in the pacific apart from Fiji, New Caledonia, and Guam that can perform COVID-19 tests with a quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) machine. The World Health Organisation (WHO) rates qPCR machines as one of the most sensitive and accurate methods for detecting, tracking, and studying COVID-19.