TECHNICAL Advisor to the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), Dr. Yogesh Choudhri has announced that another eleven contact tracing samples have been collected in Malaita.
This is in response to the covid-19 reactivation case on Malaita a fortnight ago. The additional 11 samples now bring the total of samples to 42 as part of the government’s ongoing contact tracing efforts.
He emphasised that there is no evidence to suggest any community transmission from Covid-19 tests done on the 31 close contacts of the reactivation case on Malaita.
“Second testing on day 14 for all these close contacts was initiated on February 9 and 11. As usual, samples were collected and will be tested this week,” Dr. Choudhri said.
Dr. Yogesh said the health department on Malaita is also continuing with risk communication, awareness building, and community empowerment.
“The Ministry is very concerned with the level of stigma towards those who have come forward for COVID-19 and even towards those ex-positives.
“Although there is limited literature on this subject, the current evidence suggests that these re-activated or re-infected cases are less likely to be infectious,” he added.
Nevertheless, he said, “Health officers are taking extra precaution by doing contact tracing in the unlikely event the virus spreads and triggers community transmission.”
Dr. Yogesh said the Health Department will be strengthening the surveillance and reporting of any cases which have COVID symptoms.
He further stressed out that the Ministry is calling on the concerned community to stop stigmatization as it will worsen the situation.
“Stop stigmatizing against ex –positives and those in close contact with reactivation cases and even those who arrived from overseas,” he said.
The Technical Adviser said it is important that the community remain vigilant and report any illness to the concerned authorities on Malaita or at the national level on phone # 115 or 25256.
By FOLLET JOHN