Ban flights: Doctors

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-Medical association say reality is Solomon Islands is not prepared for a covid-19 outbreak
-Pre-emptive measure of flight ban is crucial

BY ALFRED PAGEPITU


DOCTORS are calling on the national government to immediately ban all incoming flights for an indefinite period.
Solomon Islands is not ready for any virus outbreak, and among the measures available to government, a total ban on incoming flights is one that should be taken seriously.


Speaking with Dr Claude Posala, president of the country’s medical association (SIMA) on Tuesday 24th March, he confirms that Solomon Islands is not ready for any virus outbreak, and that the doctors of this country know firsthand the reality on the ground therefore have resorted to making the call.


SIMA, while reiterating support for the national government’s coid-19 response and the current measures being taken, urge government to consider the ban while we are still do not have any confirmed covid-19 case.


Posala said SIMA sees a total ban on incoming flights as supportive to current quarantine and isolation preparedness plans.


SIMA also recommends that if the ban is enforced, the airbus should be held on standby mode.


Posala explains that grounding the airbus to standby mode for emergency flights only, will save cost in the long term and allow essential items and articles to be flown in and out of Solomon Islands when and as required.


“SIMA sees the current action by government to ban all foreign nationals from entering Solomon Island, except for diplomats and technical Covid-19 expatriates, as a loophole and exposure risk of importing the Covid-19 into Solomon Islands.


“As of March 24, 2020, there is still no confirmed positive case locally but this status can change at any time.


“Solomon Islands does not have laboratory facilities to diagnose Covid-19,” said Posala.


He explains that this puts a lot of pressure on the processes of quarantine and isolation actions.


He said the National Referral Hospital (NRH) does not have an intensive care unit or a high dependency unit which can look after very sick patients. Currently an isolation facility is being constructed at the NRH and mass quarantine facility is being established outside NRH.


Posalal points out that Covid-19 is a viral illness that is not airborne but can be spread by droplets and direct contact with infected persons or infected surfaces/materials.


“There is currently no standard treatment available to cure Covid-19, however preventive measures in regards to aggressive hygiene and social distancing is strongly advised as best preventive measures.


“There is still a lot to learn about Covid-19 and treatment options and management measures are still dynamic.”


The public is therefore advised not to spread false rumours about any suspect of the Covid-19 which has no validated scientific support.

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