The Leader of Opposition, Hon. Matthew Wale, is alarmed by the lack of action by the government to date, in protecting Solomon Islands from the coronavirus.
Incoming passengers and airport workers have confirmed that up to Sunday 26th January 2020 there have been no active steps taken by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with other agencies, contrary to their public statements.
The coronavirus spreads from human to human, and spreads even when infected persons show no outward symptoms.
This makes the task of containing its spread particularly difficult, and Hon. Wale calls on the Ministry of Health to urgently seek guidance from the WHO and enter into collaboration with agencies tasked with border protection to do all they can to protect the Solomon Islands public.
“This is a very serious public health threat, made even more urgent by the lack of domestic capacity in our healthcare system to care for any infected persons and limit any spread in the country.
“It is far better to totally avoid getting any cases in Solomon Islands in the first instance. Marshall Islands has imposed a blanket ban on travelers from China to the country,” the Opposition Leader stressed.
Hon. Wale is calling on the government to take a similar approach until the virus is brought under control.
Whilst attention is placed on arrivals by air, Hon. Wale urges the government to also be vigilant with seaborne arrivals.
“This country has suffered major biosecurity breaches from log ships and barges that have brought pests into the country.
“They are a particularly high risk group that must be closely monitored to ensure they comply with our laws and any measures to protect the country from the Wuhan coronavirus.
“The government ought to consider imposing penalties on any carrier, airline, ship-owner, charterer, etc., who fails to comply with the protective measures,” says Hon Wale.
He adds that the government must show it is serious about this threat to public health.
“So far, beyond words, the public is questioning the lack of action by the government and the lack of urgency in its decision-making on this matter,” the Opposition Leader further adds.