SOLOMON Islands is now confronted with the second wave of COVID-19 infections as the number of new infections starts rising again in Honiara.
Minister of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) Dr Culwick Togamana revealed this in a Special Situation Update on Saturday night.
Dr Togamana said in determining our response to the potentially and strong likelihood of second wave of infections, the Ministry’s focus now is to carefully balance the need to save lives and to protect livelihoods.
Therefore, he urged people 50 years and above as well as those with co-existing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disease, kidney disease and so on to contact the Ministry’s hotline if you are exposed to a COVID patient.
“If you belong to this category and have been exposed to a COVID patient immediately quarantine yourself and seek help from the MHMS hotline 115 or 25256,” the Minister said.
Dr Togamana made the special address after 93 new COVID-19 positive cases were detected from Wednesday 13th April to Friday 15th April.
“On Wednesday 13th April we detected 27 cases, on Thursday 14th April 18 cases and on Friday 15th April 48 cases, totalling to 93 cases.
“Out of these 93 cases, 84 cases are from Honiara itself, which includes 36 cases from Lord Howe Settlement and 48 cases from other parts of Honiara.
“Nine of the 93 cases are from the provinces,” the Minister revealed.
He said in the past three weeks, the Ministry only recorded an average four to five cases of COVID-19 in Honiara.
Therefore, he said the sudden jump in the number of cases is a cause of major concern “and we are treating the current surge as a second wave of COVID infections”.
“Given the rate at which new cases have grown over the last three days in Honiara, there is every possibility that if we do not act urgently and if we do not act together, the second wave will have major impact on the life of people and our health system,” Dr Togamana said.
He urged everyone during this Easter to start exercising COVID-19 safe measures.
“I am asking you to keep your Easter gatherings small and to avoid crowds.
“I am asking you to wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth whenever in public or in the company of people you don’t live with. There is no point wearing a mask on your chin, keeping it in your pocket or lowering it to speak to someone.
“Remember to regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or with sanitiser.
“Limit your travel as much as possible,” Dr Togamana reiterated.
He also urged all eligible population ages 12 years and above to get vaccinated.
“I am convinced that if we each play our part, if we each follow the few basic public health precautions, then we can all contain the second wave, with less lives getting severely sick and less lives saved,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile the two areas currently under the MHMS radar are Lord Howe Settlement and Alligator Creek.
This was after Lord Howe Settlement recorded 36 cases of the 93 positive COVID-19 cases.
He said specimens were collected from Alligator Creek on Saturday and the same will happen for other parts in Honiara which means that more cases will be detected in the coming days.