The National Referral Hospital is now closed for general health services and will only serve emergency cases starting today (January 22).
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare announced the closure in his fifth National Address on covid-19 today following concerns that 50 nursing staff at the hospital were tested positive for COVID-19.
In the last 24 hours from 8 am Friday 21 to 8 am Saturday 22 the NRH laboratory had tested 274 samples, of which 120 positive cases were diagnosed.
This means the total number of positive cases diagnosed in the country so far has now increased to 289.
264 of these 289 cases have been diagnosed in the past 5 days from 18 to 22 January 2022.
“The number of positive cases represent 44% of all samples tested yesterday. This is an extremely high slide positivity rate which means we are not testing enough,” Prime Minister Sogavare said.
The normal slide positivity rate agreed by the WHO is up to 5%. This simply means authorities are only catching a small portion of all the positive cases. The accurate number of positives could exceed 500 new cases per day.
The closure of the NRH means people seeking medical attention can visit their nearest health clinics.