Ministry puts in new measures
By IAN M. KAUKUI
ALL incoming international travellers will be subjected to temperature checks on arrival in the country.
They will also be required to complete a Traveller’s Public Health Declaration Card.
These are two of the latest measures the Ministry of Health and Medical Services has put in place as part of the efforts to keep the country safe from the coronavirus which is now spreading across the world.
“Incoming travellers who have been in China 15 days prior to their arrival here are mandated to report to the Ministry of Health’s Public Health Emergency and Surveillance Unit if they develop acute respiratory infection and have symptoms such as fever, cough and breathing difficulty,” Health Minister Dickson Mua said in an advisory issued Tuesday.
“Incoming travellers who have travelled to or from China within the past 15 days who display symptoms including fever and cough with or without breathing difficulty will be isolated upon arrival and will be investigated for coronavirus infection,” Mua added.
He also advised vessel and airline operators in the country to quickly report any sick persons on board.
Since the outbreak was recorded in China early this month, the coronavirus has since spread to nine countries including neighbouring Australia.
Mua said the ministry is very concerned about the spread of the disease and is doing all it can to stop the disease reaching the country.
He said an outbreak of the disease in the country will not only cause deaths but also huge economic loss.
The minister said Immigration and Quarantine have been informed of the measures the ministry came up with.
Meanwhile, government through the Ministry Of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) with other agencies is taking a leading role to manage and strategize on measures to combat coronavirus.
A government statement issued yesterday said MHMS this week submitted a strategy and work plan paper to the Cabinet for approval and endorsement to implement coronavirus strategy and work plan.
As a national security issue the government seriously considers key broad areas with the help of other relevant ministries and agencies.
These areas include points of entry, surveillance, laboratory, clinical management, isolation/supplies and critical centres, community enforcement, quarantine/social and legal and risk, communication and media.
MHMS will ensure proper management of our entry points and border posts for close monitoring of movement of our citizens and foreigners in and out of the country.
The support of Foreign Affairs & External Trade, Immigration, Biosecurity and Customs as well as other law enforcement agencies, are important to ensure Solomon Islands is well secured and protected from the virus.
Increased surveillance and monitoring of those suspected or found to have infected with the virus in the country and outside is equally important.
Therefore, the cooperation of all law enforcement agencies is important to ensure that we work together and coordinate our working efforts.
MHMS is also looking at laboratory and facilities to be appropriate and available for testing purposes, should we are required to do so and other medical works.
With Clinical Management, Isolation/Supplies and Critical Centers, MHMS will ensure that the country has adequate supplies, drugs and masks to combat the virus, when required.
On community enforcement, quarantine/social and legal, MHMS will also work with the public and community at large to be vigilant at all times and be pro-active and ensure that medical advice and instructions are heeded and compiled with.
MHMS noted that so much information and publicity on the coronavirus has gone out spiral on the social media and other outlets.
Hence MHMS will work with Government Communication to disseminate accurate information for public consumption and awareness.
Other relevant government ministries and agencies identified for the work plan include Ministry of Police National Security and Correctional Services, Ministry of Communication and Aviation, Biosecurity, Immigration, National Disaster and Management Office, World Health Organization (WHO) and Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.