Opposition Leader says the National Government should humbly admit that it has failed miserably in the last two years to prepare for any COVID outbreak in the country.
In a statement today Matthew Wale says there is nothing wrong with the Government admitting its failure, in fact it is the right thing to do.
Mr Wale pointed out that in Sunday’s talkback show Secretary to Prime Minister (SPM) Dr Jimmie Rodgers even indirectly admitted that there was no COVID response plan in place for the outbreak.
“The SPM told the radio talkback show that the government was just finalising its national response plan on Sunday which will be handed to Cabinet today (Tuesday 25th 2021) for discussions,” he said.
The Leader of Opposition said that itself is an indication that there was never a COVID response plan developed in the past two years to address the outbreak.
“We had a two year grace period but it seems the Government has failed to prepare for this current situation,” he said.
Mr Wale said there are a lot of issues that has now surfaced to prove the fact that the Government did not prepare for this outbreak.
- The Government built a field hospital facility to cater for only 56 beds in the last two years. Surely, they knew very well that 56 beds would not cater for any COVID outbreak in the country.
- The Gene-Xpert Machine in Auki is still not ready to undergo testing now that we have cases in Malaita province.
- The Government had two years to establish food supply and distribution mechanisms. To date, it is still unknown how they will provide food supplies for communities in Honiara and other affected areas. The lack of proper planning means only short duration lockdowns possible, as shorter lockdowns are ineffective in arresting the runway infection rate. A 14-day lockdown is appropriate to effectively deal with the exponential rise in infections. But, it is impossible to do so because the government failed to prepare for this.
- The lack of priority and focus on the Tasman/OJ border. There was lack of resources and priority at the Tasman/OJ border. No quarantine sites and authorities on the ground to undergo proper monitoring and surveillance compared to Honiara and the Shortland border.
- No COVID-response plan to counter outbreak at NRH. The statements made by the Prime Minister and the Health Minister in Parliament that NRH is fully equipped and prepared is contrary to the situation now.
- The Government’s priority focus on building stadiums in the last two years and has ignored COVID health facilities in preparation for this outbreak is insane.This is a health crises that warrants are more comprehensive approach meaning we should prioritize all funding resources to our health care system and to manage and keep our citizens safe.
- Gov’t has failed to train enough frontline personnel.
- Allowance for frontliners very slow which further demoralises frontline staff performance.
- Addressing mental and physical health of frontliners, addressing workload and fatigue taking into serious consideration of our lab technicians as well.
Mr Wale said it is also unfortunate to hear in the Prime Minister’s address on Monday this week that the Government is pleading with SOE’s and the private sector to help provide food rations and vehicles.
The Leader of Opposition said that itself speaks volume of the lack of preparedness and response.
“The Prime Minister should advice MID to recall all government vehicles and hired vehicles from non essential staff to assist them. PMO should take the lead by recalling hired vehicles from the Political Appointees half of which have nothing to do but roam around misusing government hired vehicles,” he said.
Mr Wale said the Government had a two-year window to fully prepare but it is now clear that they have failed miserably.