Leader says COVID response mechanisms fail in Western Province


A prominent leader in the Western Province says the province’s COVID-19 mechanisms has failed and this has contributed to accumulating cases.

In an inclusive interview with Island Sun Gizo Office, Moffat Maeta said the failure was due to ill preparation prior to the outbreak.

He said there is no proper management systems put in place as part of approaches to contain the virus.

“We are fighting a losing battle if we continue to allow home quarantine self-isolation without proper supervision.

“It’s evident that without proper quarantine facilities in place to keep our positive patients from spreading the virus has been an issue,” Maeta said.

He said there are a couple of issues but two most important ones to note is lack of proper management of positive cases and lack of assistance for COVID patients when they undergo home-isolation.

“Assistance and supervision are lacking in the management of cases, especially in Gizo.

“Sending positive cases home for self-isolation is not helping to contain the virus, rather encouraging the virus to spread as there is no back up support for the people’s welfare.

“Let me give an example; a family was tested positive and was told to remain indoor. The family heed the advice but midway through their isolation they ran out of food. There was no assistance, so they decided to invade the isolation rule to find food and other necessary stuff. Again this comes back to assistance and management,” Maeta said.

He said there is no guarantee that people will stay in their homes when there is no supervision and assistance, adding lockdown will be meaningless if there is lack of supervision and humanitarian support to people under home-isolation.

“Lockdown is an approach when the virus is out of control. I think, the virus is already out of control and that we need to refocus on how best we can come with another localized approach to containing the virus.

“For example; identify venues for isolation, rally to help the isolation sites with basic needs, involve police to enforce public and health measures while health officials continue contact tracing,” Maeta said.

He stressed that existing actions taken by the Western Provincial Disaster Operation Committee is not helping the effort to stop the virus from spreading but encourage people to get exposed to the virus.

Maeta said resources have been wasted on lockdown and swabbing as there is no effective mechanism to prevent the virus from spreading.

“Lockdown and swabbing can be meaningful if we have effective prevention measures,” he said.

Maeta suggests that establishing quarantine centers, effective management of patients and effective enforcement of COVID-19 public and health measure are very important going forward.

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