OPPOSITION Leader Hon Matthew Wale has queried government response plans on a looming second wave of Covid infections in the country.
In a statement on Wednesday, Hon Wale said recent reports of 110 new Covid cases and increased hospitalization in Honiara in the last 72 hours is alarming.
The Opposition Leader said the fact that majority of the cases are re-infections also needs scientific explanations so that the public is made aware.
“We really need to know whether this is a new variant. I have been calling on the government in the past to purchase a genomic sequencing but it has fallen on deaf ears. We wouldn’t have to send samples to Australia if we had one in the country,” he said.
Hon Wale said government responses must be strategic and not panic driven as experienced during the first wave.
“We need to be made aware of government response plans if there is a second wave. We had experienced government failure and lack of preparedness during the first wave,” he said.
Hon Wale said the government had issued a statement early this year that the country must brace itself for a possible second wave but failed to provide any modelling to counter this.
The Opposition Leader said experiences and challenges faced during the first wave including the current situation at the NRH, lack of oxygen, manpower, allowances of frontliners amongst others needs to be improved and addressed urgently.
“It needs to be addressed and not just to merely identify them as challenges,” he said.
The Opposition Leader said other countries have experienced surges in infections and deaths, some even on 4th waves.
Hon Wale said the government’s planning must prepare for that.
“With the government’s “living with covid” approach and given the current situation at the NRH and provincial hospitals, lack of an alternative COVID facility, lack of any comprehensive strategy for Honiara and provinces, lack of planning for further waves of infections would be catastrophic,” he said.
Hon Wale urged the government to pull up their socks that serious waves of infections are yet to come and serious decisions and strategies must be put in place to avoid an already terrible health crisis becoming even worse.
The Opposition Leader said government response plans for the second wave must be based on epidemiological data and modelling to show both past and current infection rates, fatality rate, recovery rate and future projections to inform the response strategy.
“Our fight against COVID 19 will only be effective if it is informed and driven by sound epidemiology taking into account the challenges from past experience and most importantly there must be political will to drive this,” he said.