THE Ministry of Health and Medical Services continues to focus on preventing the entry and potential spread of other COVID-19 variants by monitoring persons travelling into Honiara from overseas and the provinces.
Minister of Health and Medical Services Dr Culwick Togamana said preventing entry and potential community spread of Omicron and BA2 – an Omicron sub variant – remains a focus for health.
“If not contained, it can lead to the so-called 2nd wave of COVID-19 infection amongst our population,” Dr Togamana said.
Therefore, he said the ministry is monitoring a total of 179 persons in quarantine, 171 from international flights from Brisbane, Fiji and Kiribati and eight from the provinces.
“Seventeen people have tested positive for COVID-19 and are being held together with their close contacts, for an extended period of quarantine days and for additional testings protocols,” he said.
Extended period of quarantine days and testing for a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 in quarantine is 24 days, with three additional tests.
Dr Togamana said the remaining people are serving the normal the 10 days mandatory quarantine period and will undergo two COVID-19 tests, one at day five to seven and the second test at day 10 of quarantine.
He warned that with more people starting to come into Solomon Islands, the number of cases reported in Honiara will also increase.
However, he said these cases will not be counted as case count in Honiara.
He also added that with the swift effort to detect Omicron, its sub variants or other COVID-19 variants, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services continues to send samples abroad for genome sequencing (the laboratory procedure to identify and determine the type of COVID-19 variant).
“Recently the Ministry has sent a total of 84 samples, 37 samples being send as recently as last Friday to Australia for genome sequencing.
“So far COVID-19 variant detected is still Delta. Samples sent are selected based on certain criteria to ensure that they are valid for genome sequencing,” Dr Togamana said.
Dr Togamana was speaking during his national address on the COVID-19 situation in the country on Tuesday (April 5th).
He also took the opportunity to warn parents to keep your families indoors during the bad weather currently experienced in Honiara and parts of the country.
“…parents are encouraged to keep your family especially children indoors and discourage or stop any out of the house activities.
“Flu and pneumonia can easily be contracted in such weather.
“This includes swimming in the rivers and nearby streams nor sections roads inundated with water.
“It is both dangerous and unhealthy.
“Accidents can also easily occur with such weather, therefore drivers and pedestrians must take extra precautions when driving and walking beside the main highway and community feeder roads,” he said.