RENBEL LOSES COVID-FREE STATUS

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Temotu left as the only untouched province in the country

BY MAVIS N PODOKOLO & IRWIN ANGIKI

The Renbel province has lost its covid-free status after cases were reported there.

Now Temotu is left as the only province left untouched by the virus.

In the island of Bellona, 12 cases were reported the first day of testing on Monday this week. Rennell has reported no case.

Dr Yogesh Choudhri, technical advisor to the Ministry of Health, confirmed to Island Sun yesterday evening Renbel province’s 12 cases.

“We have received report today [yesterday] that 12 new positive cases of covid-19 recorded in Bellona,” Choudhri said.

The Covid Response Sub-Committee on Bellona also confirmed to Island Sun yesterday the positive covid-19 cases, adding that they will continue with voluntary swabbing.

However, citing protocol reasons, the Committee declined to comment further when asked if any contact tracing has been done to ascertain how the virus entered Bellona.

It is understood that there is no isolation facility on Bellona, and that the positive cases have been told to self-isolate in their homes and practice covid safety measures while taking treatment.

The paper understands that following growing reports of people experiencing flu-like symptoms, adding to reports that a passenger from Bellona to Honiara had tested positive for covid-19, the Committee on Bellona decided to carry out swabbing.

Out of the 22 voluntary tests carried out on Monday, 12 returned positive.

Meanwhile, it is understood from several sources in Bellona, speaking on condition of anonymity due to cultural reasons, that contact tracing is being carried out.

One tells Island Sun that two weeks ago more and more people started speaking out having had flu-like symptoms such as running nose, body aches, loss of senses of smell and taste, coughing, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.

Many have now recovered, another tells Island Sun, after having treated themselves with herbal treatment and ‘steaming’.

“We saw this as just seasonal flu outbreak and took the usual Panadol, antibiotics, and herbal treatment plus steam. And, it has helped just as the usual flu. We did not suspect that it would be covid-19 because we had thought the two islands to be covid-free, and that no passenger had arrived from Honiara which would have made us suspect anything.”

Speaking to Island Sun from Tingoa, Rennell, the Provincial Police Commander confirmed he had heard of the news, but was awaiting an official report from Bellona’s sub-committee, before he could file his report.

PPC Eddie Peseika, who is also the chairman of Renbel’s covid response committee, adds that Rennell is still covid-free.

“We had carried out a number of tests on our frontliners after receiving the testing kits from Honiara, and all the 15 results came back negative.”

He calls for calm in Bellona’s public and to continue to follow the government’s covid-19 safety measures, while getting treatment.


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