Home Opinion Frank Short Third COVID – 19 suspected case in the Solomon Islands tested negative...

Third COVID – 19 suspected case in the Solomon Islands tested negative for the virus6 min read

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Dear Editor Solomon Islands Herald,

According to a report in today’s edition of the Island Sun newspaper, the results of the third suspected Coronavirus case of Solomon Islands that was sent to Australia over the weekend has tested negative.

This is the last of the three sample tests received to date, all of which have tested negative, the newspaper reports.

Speaking with India Today, Dr Rodrico Ofrin, Regional Emergencies Director, WHO, said there was no need to panic, as cases tested positive in India were because of travelling abroad, citizens’ caught the virus on foreign land.

Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister said something similar in recent days when claiming those diagnosed with coronavirus in Australia had brought in the virus from outside the country.

Australian officials have said a large number of new cases (in Australia) involve people arriving from overseas or those who have been in contact with them.

In the Solomon Islands the Ministry of Health and Medical Services is now able to further inform the public about the deadly COVID-19 through social media.

This came about after the Ministry of Health’s Facebook page was successfully set up and will be administered by the Ministry of Health officials, a statement from the ministry said.

The page is mainly for those accessing Face book and social media networks to access accurate and factual information.

The MHMS wants to use all modes of mediums to make available COVID – 19  information for the population.

One can access our Face book page on this site

https://www.facebook.com/officialmhmssi/

Also, the MHMS through its Health Promotion Department continues to give awareness talks to government ministries, non-government ministries (NGO), State-Owned Enterprise (SOE) and other stakeholders.

MHMS surveillance unit continues to do daily follow up monitoring and clinical observation with suspected cases.Point of entry officers continues to do screening at international airports and seaports.
MOHMS surveillance and risk communication team are going to the provinces conducting training of provincial health teams.

The MHMS has acknowledged the SIG communication team for supporting the communication COVID-19 activities.

The MOMS continues to encourage the public to remain vigilant and continue to practice healthy hygiene behaviour and practices, such as:

  • Covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing
  • Washing hands often with water and soap or using hand sanitizers
  • If sick, keep a distance from other people – at least 1 meter away.
  • Avoid overcrowding areas and avoid close contacts especially when standing around betel nut sellers and playing Ludo games,
  • Avoid the sharing of cigarettes.

All regional countries have put in place measures to prevent coronavirus but in Australia, especially, and for the first time in Australia’s history, a ‘Level 4’ ban has been enforced.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has announced an indefinite travel ban for the entire world.

 “The travel advice to every Australian is “Do not travel abroad’. Do not go overseas. That is a very clear  instruction,” 

 He urged everyone to cancel any travel plans they have scheduled.

 In a further measure, yesterday, Australia closed its borders to stop coronavirus.

 “A travel ban will be placed on all non-residents and non-Australian citizens coming to Australia, effective from 9pm this Friday.”

In making the announcement on Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison explained the delay was to enable people currently preparing to arrive in Australia to make other arrangements, while not trapping travellers currently mid-flight.

“We believe it is essential to take (this) further step,” he said.

As a consequence to what is seen as a shutdown of Australia, Quantas today said all its international flights would be suspended for at least two months

Qantas said it would halt all international flights and suspend 20,000 staff in response to the coronavirus pandemic

All of its international flights would be suspended by late March for at least two months after the government told citizens Wednesday to forego all overseas travel in a bid to halt the spread of novel coronavirus.

The efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus have led to a huge drop in travel demand, the likes of which we have never seen before,” Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said, adding that the airline would suspend 20,000 of its 30,000 staff during the shutdown.

The move also affected Qantas’ budget offshoot, Jetstar. A number of foreign airlines also service Australian routes.

Qantas announced earlier this week a 90 percent cut in overseas flights while Virgin Australia grounded its entire international fleet.

Qantas is maintaining 60 percent of its domestic flights and Virgin Australia 50 percent.

Meanwhile in related news about coronavirus, it has been claimed in an article by Andy Wells, a Freelance Writer, in a post on Yahoo News UK, just a few hours ago, that the UK is very close to a breakthrough with a cornavirus immunity test.

Quoting what Mr Wells reported:

The UK is “very close” to developing an antibodies test that will determine whether someone has had coronavirus and is now immune, according to a former government adviser.

“Professor Sir Mark Walport said that the test, that would show whether someone has already had the virus and is able to safely interact with those who are infected, “has been validated’.

“Speaking on ITV’s Peston show on Wednesday, Prof Walport said: “This may seem slow now but compared to the rate at which you have been able to develop a test like this for a few years, this is going at the speed at light.

“I think that diagnostics whether people have immunity… I think we are very close. I can’t tell you the exact date when that is going to start but it will roll out quickly.”

“The government’s current chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said Public Health England’s (PHE) work on the antibody test is “progressing very fast”, and will provide valuable insight into the pandemic.

“Speaking at the daily Downing Street press conference, Boris Johnson said development of the test was not far away.

“The prime minister said: “The great thing about having a test to see whether you’ve had it enough, is suddenly a green light goes on above your head and you can go back to work safe and confident in the knowledge that you are most unlikely to get it again.

“So for an economic point of view, from a social point of view, it really could be a game-changer.

“You can really see the potential of that advance, which, as I say, is coming down the track.”

“Sir Patrick added: “That’s progressing very fast, Public Health England are looking at this today.

“They’ve got a test in-house they’ve got going and we’re looking at ways at getting the much more widespread version out.

“It is a game-changer. And the reason it’s a game-changer is that it allows you to understand the proportion of the asymptomatic population – who’s had this disease, but hasn’t had symptoms.”

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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