Health ministry advises caution amid report of quarantined coronavirus suspects in Rennell

THE Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) has advised public especially in Rennell island, Renbel province, to practice caution and respect quarantine boundaries amid report that four crewmen of a Bintan Mining company ship are being isolated suspected of having the China coronavirus.

In a media statement on Monday 3rd February, MHMS said it has been alerted to a report of suspected 2019 novel coronavirus persons who displayed flu-like symptoms on a shipping vessel and is responding to the situation by sending a medical team to the shipping vessel that is currently quarantined outside Rennell Island. This team will provide the clinical assessment and also to take samples for laboratory confirmation.

The MHMS is working in collaboration with other government ministries such as Immigration, Customs, and Police and with the support of the Office of Prime Minister to respond to this situation, and measures to prevent the infection from spreading on ship have been implemented on the ship.

The MHMS wishes to advise that the sick people on board are, at the moment, only being treated as suspected cases of 2019 novel Coronavirus. The remaining people on the board are only being treated as contacts and will be monitored for development of symptoms and provided immediate clinical care should they develop the symptoms. The ship and people on board will be released from quarantine once it is assessed that they do not pose any risk to general public in Rennell and Solomon Islands.

For people on Rennell, we would like to request you to ensure that the quarantine boundaries are maintained and advise and directions from health authorities are adhered to. They are strictly prohibited from going to ship. The incident does not pose any risk to the residents of Rennell Island and there is no confirmed case of novel coronavirus in Rennell as of now.

The current public health emergency is a major concern and while Solomon Islands has not had a confirmed case of the virus so far, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services is not taking any chances. The health and safety of Solomon Islanders is the Ministry of Health’s main priority.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services would like to request that members of the public remain calm and exercise vigilance by ensuring they follow proper hygiene practices are followed.

1. Cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze.

2. Always wash your hands with water and soap.

3. Avoid crowded places and unnecessary public outings.

4. Seek medical advice if you have any flu-like symptoms. Call the public health emergency surveillance unit on 23650 or 7522202 and explain your recent travel history.


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