BY MAVIS NISHIMURA PODOKOLO
CORONAVIRUS-19 (COVID-19) entry will have social, economic and health impacts in the country, says the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Dr Sevil Huseynova, WHO representative in Solomon Islands, says the current coronavirus threat is not just a health issue but a public health emergency of national concern that entail social, economic and health impacts.
She said it is time the government and people of Solomon Islands prepare, get ready and really understand the right approaches needed when it comes to COVID-19 as it is a national concern.
“This is not just a health issue – this a Public health emergency of National Concern, that will have social, economic and health impacts on the country.
“It’s time to prepare, it’s time to get ready. It is time for us all to really understand that an all-of-government and an all-of-society approach is what is needed,” she said.
Huseynova adds, Solomon Islands is at a critical juncture in the outbreak, but to date no cases of COVID-19 have been reported. Hence, the country must continue to contain it and applying appropriate measures to prevent further spread but to also prepare for the possibility of wider transmission.
“Because it not a matter of IF the new Coronavirus comes to Solomon Islands, but WHEN,” Huseynova said.
Moreover, she said the experiences of other countries has been that, with all the screening measures in the world, they could not keep the virus out. That is because screening does not pick up people who show no symptoms.
“The country must be ready for the first case, the first cluster of cases, the first evidence of community transmission and for dealing with ongoing community transmission -all at the same time,” Huseynova said.
Minister for Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) Dickson Mua said he wants to assure the people of Solomon Islands that his ministry and its partner ministries are doing everything possible to prevent COVID-19 entering Solomon Islands.
“Whilst I am confident of the success of endeavours in this regard based on the excellent work that was done to prevent Solomon Islands being affected by measles despite the measles outbreak in other countries in the region, the ministry is also making sure that we are as prepared as we can ,IF COVID-10 does reach Solomon Islands.
“I would also like to reach out to every citizen of this beloved country to pray and ask our Heavenly father for his protection at this trying and challenging times,” said Mua.
These statements were echoed at a recent joint press conference organised by Ministry of Health.