MHMS: Quarantine is a standard measure against COVID-19
The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) is reassuring the public that quarantine is a standard measure or procedure to protect and prevent the spread of any disease.
As a response to the government’s travelling advisory, people travelling through affected countries must be quarantined for at least 14days, the ministry said in a statement.
“People quarantined are those who are not sick but have travelled through affected countries.
“People are placed in quarantine not because they are suspected to have COVID-19, but because there is a risk that they may have come in contact with the virus. The number of those quarantined can be changed at the end of a 14 day quarantine period of monitoring and clinical observation.
“Thus, there is no fixed or consistent number of people in the Quarantined facility,” the statement explains.
On the other hand, people travelling from restricted countries where there are high levels of COVID-19 infection or are in breach of the Travel Advisory are immediately refused entry to the Solomon Islands.
Permanent Secretary for Health, Mrs Pauline McNeil acknowledged the high level of public anxiety about the threat of COVID-19 but pointed out that quarantine measures are there to protect the community.
Mrs. McNeil also sought to reassure the public that there is no evidence to suggest that surrounding communities can be exposed to the virus. COVID-19 spreads through close personal contact with a sick person.
It is understandable that people are feeling scared and anxious at this time, but misinformation and rumors can only make things worse, Mrs. McNeil said. “In fact, rumors and misinformation can be as harmful as the virus itself because they can lead people to make poor choices that affect their health and that of others, and increases challenges health workers are facing daily.
“Now is the time for us to come together as a community: to replace fear and speculation with facts, to get informed, and to be prepared. We are not powerless against COVID-19. There are actions we can take to protect ourselves.
“We know that the virus spreads from person to person through droplets when a person coughs, sneezes or breathes out. So, even before COVID-19 is in our communities, we should be getting into the habit of washing our hands several times a day with soap and water; covering our coughs and sneezes with an elbow, or tissue, and keeping a one-metre distance from others when we are sick.
“My Ministry is working to get this information out to the public, through daily radio programming on SIBC, regular news media updates, information sessions for the business, education, government and non-government sectors, churches and the distribution of posters and leaflets to communities.
“Thanks to the support of B-Mobile and Telekom, we are able to reach people all over the country with tips on how to protect themselves and others from COVID-19. If you have access to the internet, visit the Learning about Coronavirus section on the government portal at www.solomons.gov.sb.
“We will be updating the information there regularly as well,” the Permanent Secretary said.