“The implementation of the lockdown and simulation exercise was a decision taken by cabinet to test the COVID-19 preparedness efforts of individuals, communities, organisations and more importantly the state institutions that provide the last line of defense and response to this deadly disease”.
These were the statement made by the Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Health and Medical Services Ms Pauline McNeil when opening a two-day workshop on Lessons Learned from the recent lockdown and simulated exercise for the Declared Emergency Zone of Honiara.
Ms McNeil said the stance by the Solomon Islands Government since the declaration of COVID-19 by the WHO as a global pandemic remain unchanged, and that is to prevent the disease from reaching our shores, contain the spread of any positives cases within the Quarantine and Isolation facilities and to keep the economy of the country afloat so that essential services to the people are maintained.
To date the country has only recorded 20 positive cases of the COVID-19. Because of the strict measures that the Government have put into place all of them have been successfully contained within the Quarantine and Isolation facilities.
Globally the WHO have reported a total of 217.6 million cases with the number still increasing daily. Of that total 4.52 million people have already lost their lives to the disease. While efforts are being made to develop vaccines that will boost the immune system of the human population, COVID-19 is also mutating faster than vaccination programs and the development of new vaccines.
Owing to the very strict measures currently in place, the Solomon Islands remains one of the last 10 countries with no community transmission of the disease. However, given the struggles of our neighbours such as Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and PNG are facing with the delta variant Solomon Islands can no longer be complacent with its status.
“No country is protected from this deadly pandemic disease and we must try our best to keep it from reaching our communities especially those that are already vulnerable by their remoteness, climate and natural disasters” Ms McNeil said.
The review workshop is made possible through funding from UNDP and DFAT with participants coming from all the NDOC sector committees from Health, Police, Livelihood, Infrastructure, Protection and Education.
Red Cross, SIPPA and representative from three settlements namely Fishing Village, Green Valley and Lengakiki were also invited to give their view as they are a very important part of the simulation exercise conducted during the 36-hour lockdown
So far Solomon Islands has been without a positive case for the last four months.