Solomon Islands Prepares For Coronavirus

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Photo Source - Devpolicy Blog from the Development Policy Centre.

BY ALEX DADAMU

THE number of people killed in China by the coronavirus has risen to 80, with almost 3,000 confirmed ill, according to the latest reports cited from BBC.

As a result, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services held a meeting to address this issue, while the World Health Organization (WHO) held an emergency committee to determine its declared Public.

On the weekend, the Ministry of Health and Medical urged the relevant authorities and the public to take the threats seriously and urgently organize prevention measures to prevent the virus from spreading into the country.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Mrs. Pauline McNeil said the ministry has formed a technical working group, including experts from the World Health Organization, and UNICEF.

“The essential medical supplies to handle cases of 2019-nCoV are being mobilized, and development partners are standing by with additional resources should these be needed. As a ‘first line’ of defense MHMS is working with immigration and customs officials at ports and airports, training them on how to recognize cases of 2019-nCoV, incoming visitors will be provided with guidance on what to do if they think they have the infection,” Mrs. Pauline McNeil said.

McNeil urged the public to remain alert for signs or symptoms of the disease, especially if they have visited Wuhan in the past 15 days or have come in close contact with someone returning from affected countries and had similar symptoms.

“Anyone with suspected infection should avoid public transport and public spaces and remain at home except to seek advice from health professionals or should contact their local clinic or nurse aid post if they think they could have the disease, calling in advance if possible, so that they can be assessed at home or isolated upon arrival at the health facility.

“To prevent the infection from spreading to others, practice healthy habits such as cover cough and sneezes, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash your hands often. If your family member has a flu-like infection, limit contact with the family member and keep your house clean,” she added.

The Ministry of Health statement was aimed to reassure the public that they are preparing for the likelihood of importation of this infection into the Solomon Islands considering how close these countries are to the Solomon Islands and the number of people traveling especially in the upcoming Lunar New Year season.

According to the World Health Organization and national authorities, there have been at least 44 confirmed cases outside China.

  • Eight cases: Thailand
  • Five: USA, Australia
  • Four: Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea
  • Three: France, Japan
  • Two: Vietnam
  • One: Nepal, Canada

Almost all had recently been to Wuhan or had been in close contact with someone who had.

“It is expected that further international exportation of cases may appear in any country. Thus, all countries should be prepared for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention of onward spread of 2019-nCoV infection, and to share full data with WHO,” according to the Emergency Committee regarding the outbreak of novel coronavirus.