Final COVID-19 test for all 13 people quarantined at the Malaita Outer Islands (MOI), the four persons who illegally entered the Solomon Islands border from Tasman Island to Pelau (MOI) on the 26th of December 2020 and 9 others who came into close contact with them, returned negative.
Over the weekend, a team of three health workers under the lead of Dr Jackson Rakei were deployed to the MOI with the Royal Solomon Islands Police (RSIPF) and support from the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) in a joint operation. This health deployment was a follow up to an initial deployment on the 27th of December where contact tracing, initial swabbing, community engagement and risk communication was conducted due to the incidence.
Over the weekend, the health team conducted final swabbing for the 13 individuals and upon arriving at Honiara, COVID-19 testing was conducted at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) molecular laboratory. The results this morning returned negative for all 13 persons. As such, the four have now been turned over to the police and the other 9 close contacts scheduled for release today.
Acting National Health Emergency Operation Centre (NHEOC) Incidence Controller Dr Gregory Jilini acknowledged the tremendous support received from the MOI communities that enabled the swift apprehension of the four individuals by the police and more importantly for health, timely contact tracing and quarantining of all persons concerned.
“Health always encourage community participation, engagement and support especially with COVID-19 preparedness and operations and the successful response to the incidence in MOI by the various government agencies is a testament of the importance of community support”.
During the incidence, communities swiftly alerted the authorities of the suspicious entry and other persons in the communities to maintain social distancing, provided security to prevent close contacts and supported the quarantining of all 13 individuals of concern.
Dr Jilini reiterated the importance of continued support from the communities along the border.
“We have invested so much in the establishment of various facilities, such as quarantine stations and isolation wards and the capacities and capabilities of the workforce which has significantly contributed towards the prevention of a COVID-19 community transmission or outbreak to date. But we must all be reminded that it takes only one COVID-19 infected person to enter the country in such a manner as the incidence in MOI to jeopardize whole of these efforts”.
“Therefore health maintains its call to all borderline communities to continue supporting national efforts to protect our people against this deadly virus by refraining from aiding or facilitating such entries and provide the much needed support in monitoring movements in and out of our villages. Please immediately report any suspicious movements along our borders to the relevant authorities.” stated Dr Jilini.
He said that collective actions by everyone, including communities is very important in the fight against COVID-19. “It is not the responsibility of the ministry of health alone nor other government ministries and agencies, but every single person and organizations in the country. “ Our cooperation, support and commitment combined is the only effective way in which we can continue to protect ourselves from the virus and come of it successfully”.
As part of health’s efforts to continue ensuring that normal health services continues despite ongoing COVID-19 operation, the three health workers also assessed and supported other normal health services, which includes outpatient and clinical services, including monitoring vaccine cold chain and immunization of children.
Media Release from MHMS Corporate Communication Office