Returning Nationals Commend Government’s COVID-19 response

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“I must commend the Government and Supporting Agencies for their response approach to stem the deadly virus reaching our shores,” Dr. Levi Hou, one of the hundreds of returning Solomon Islands national who have undergone the mandatory 14-days quarantine process said.

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The obstetrics and gynaecology specialist has been stuck in Brisbane following the country’s locking down of borders and travel restrictions in March 24th.

Dr Hou managed to book his way back on the recent government coordinated Solomon Airlines flight IE695, 29th July from Brisbane, Australia.

He was amongst 5 other returnees released from the government-managed Access Quarantine Station (QS) last week.

“I am happy to see a well organized and satisfactory services offered for incoming passengers accommodated in the quarantine stations.

“The repatriation arrangement, the flights, the arrival and professionalism by frontliners manning the stations should be praised.

“The free swab tests accuracy on DNA samples, social distancing practices of the Camp Management with Clinical teams speaks for itself- our country’s COVID-19-free status,” Dr Hou said in an exclusive interview after being cleared to leave the station by medical doctors.

Dr Hou served at the National Referral Hospital for more than 30 years then later venture out, now jointly operates the renowned Honiara Private Medical Center, one of leading private clinics in the heart of Honiara city. He left Honiara on 6th February purposely to visit his children who reside and study in Brisbane.

“Let’s maintain the level of preparedness and response during the repatriation and quarantine period such as zero contact and use of Protective Personal Equipment’s.

“Now that the process is mandatory, it will safeguard the wider Honiara and should control possible provincial community transmission,” he said.

“Also the pandemic has given the message of reassessing our lifestyle since it will be in existence for a while until a vaccine is discovered,” he emphasized.

Another returning national, Rachel Holmes, salute the security and friendliness of the Camp Management and Surveillance teams.

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“I really enjoyed my 14-days stay at Access Apartment station.

“The site is well secured and the front line workers are friendly to us in their support services as per Standard Operating Procedures,” Ms Holmes, who have just completed her studies in Hamilton, New Zealand said.

But she highlight two recommendations for the Camp Management to consider.

“I think the menu for meals per day should be provided beforehand, so those who have dietary requirements will choose.

“Also consider a spacious front yard area for people to come out and do workouts maintaining fitness level,” Ms Holmes said.

National Disaster Council (NDC) in their situational reports highlighted that to fix the feedback mechanisms and monitoring, work stations has been established at the stations to manage quarantine persons and continuous improvement of services on-site.

NDC adds that after the establishment of the QS’s, Monday 23rd March 2020, the front line teams, as observed, worked under meticulous protocols to ensure they will not contract any possible trace of coronavirus and more importantly, respect dignity and privacy of the quarantined persons.

Currently, 21 nationals who have just arrived on yesterday’s flight from Samoa and Vanuatu are undergoing the process at Honiara Hotel, Airport Motel and Vimo Apartment.

More than 800 Solomon Islanders and dozens of foreign nationals (exempted for essential service support) have entered the country since the first declared State of Public Emergency in March 24th. Also, the country’s Solomon Airlines has conducted a total of 9 repatriation flights to neighbouring Pacific Island countries.

Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) continues to lead the Government’s multi-sectoral approach to stem COVID-19 infiltration on our shores. All government agencies and stakeholders are providing the required support through the National Disaster Operations Committee (N-DOC) and Provincial Disaster Operations Committee (P-DOC) Sectors.

N-DOC/P-DOC Camp Management Sector Committee maintains and continues to manage all the Government Approved (QS’s) in Honiara and Western Province.

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