Uncontrollable interaction among students in quarantine foils government’s goal to contain virus spread in centres

Government is forewarning the country to expect more covid-19 cases from our students in quarantine.

This is because the students are breaching quarantine rules, says Dr Jimmie Rodgers, Secretary to the Prime Minister and member of government’s covid-19 oversight committee.

In a media conference yesterday with the oversight committee, Mr Rodgers said this grim outlook is based on a recent assessment carried out at the Chengs quarantine station after the second covid case was detected.

He adds that the risk of the virus spreading within the institutional quarantine facilities (IQF) is high, the assessment indicates.
This revelation indicates that whatever mechanisms government has entrusted to prevent the virus from spreading within the quarantine sites is failing.

However, most importantly, government reassures that the virus will be kept contained behind the walls of quarantine sites, and will not be allowed to enter the community.

Speaking of the students’ blasé behaviour in yesterday’s conference, Rodgers said, “This is because when we put students in quarantine, the understanding is they will be quarantined by staying in their rooms without going out, not mingling around and having their foods and going back into their rooms, but is very difficult, imagining ourselves trying to lock ourselves up, it’s difficult we know that.

“However, students in quarantine centres are not in fact isolating, they are in fact congregating, some of them are going into each other’s rooms, that gives us the sort of sense of concern.

“Basically, this means that we could be looking at expecting some more cases coming from the sites because of that.

“Now we hope we don’t have any which would be very good but, in the event, we have some it’s because of the way which the occupants of the quarantine stations have been mixing,” he said.

Rodgers said the report made some important conclusions; one is the risk of contracting the virus is low for frontline workers because – they are wearing personal protection equipment (PPE), and duration of contact with the students is “not long”.

Second, he says, is that the chance for the virus to spread into the community is low: “because the virus has to be transported from where it is to the public and get into someone in order for it to spread that one, we fairly sure it is not happening.

“However, one conclusion says the risk of spread within the centre can occur and that is our concern at the moment.

“So, in terms of how do we manage that, that would be something the oversight committee would be meeting tomorrow to see how best we can address this issue,” said Rodgers.

He adds that the third covid-19 test for Solomon Islands Philippines students in-country including the two positive is still pending. The third test was carried out after 12 to 14 days.

“We anticipate results maybe from later tonight (last night) because there are many of them. There are more than a hundred tests, some are repeat tests so maybe by tonight (last night) and tomorrow (today) will have some result and we will be able to share,” said Rodgers.

The number of covid-19 cases in the country remains at two.
The students, who were repatriated from the Philippines on September 29, are being quarantined in two sites – GBR and Chengs, both in east Honiara.

Photo: Google Supplied

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