Seaport, SI weak link: PS McNeil

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SOLOMON Islands seaport as point of entry into the country is Solomon Islands’ weakest link when it comes to covid-19.

This was highlighted by Pauline McNeil, permanent secretary to Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

“Basically, the country’s sea port as point of entry is our weakest link when it comes to covid-19,” McNeil said.

She said monitoring on sea port and airport is still ongoing following the covid-19 cases detected amongst a crewmember of the Cargo vessel, MV Chefoo.

McNeil said the vessels exemption committee chaired by Secretary to Prime Minister Dr Jimmy Rodgers have been working hard in analysing and assessing vessels that come in.

“I acknowledge SPM who despite his well-deserved leave that he should have taken, he still doing his job in assessing the vessels that coming into the country.

“Also acknowledging the joint partnership with frontline ministries, Customs , Biosecurity and Immigration and Health team that potential risk from the vessel is quite high and so the teams are working very closely and working hard in ensuring that the risk is minimal or zero potential risk coming into  the country,” she said.

Dr Yogesh Choudhri, advisor to Ministry of Health said necessary measures have been put by the government to detect the cases of covid-19 at Ports and it has been exemplified by the cases detected last week.

“We do take testing of the people base on the risk assessment and if there is an element of doubt of there is a risk we test the people.

“And if it happened a case was detected the ship or cargo will be decontaminated upon off loading,” Choudhri said.

He said necessary precautions have been put in terms of testing, monitoring IPC, social distancing and disinfection of the cargo so there is no risk of covid-19 into Solomon Islands.