Following recent increases in the number of COVID-19 cases detected in Honiara, The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) is issuing this statement to confirm (19) new COVID-19 cases in Honiara from 24 October to 2 November. This significant rise over the past days calls for increased vigilance to prevent further spread of the virus in the community.
MHMS can confirm that seven (7) cases do not have any overseas travel history and three (3) others were confirmed from international arrivals. As a result of MHMS’s contract tracing, nine (9) additional cases were found.
Moreover, samples from these positive cases have been assessed overseas, which confirmed Omicron sub-variant, BA4 and BA.5. As such, Solomon Islands has so far, since the outbreak of COVID-19 early this year, recorded Delta and Omicron variants with the sub-variants BA.2 responsible for the 2nd wave and now BA.4 and BA.5. Some more samples from the positive tests are being sent overseas for genome sequencing.
To date, these sub variants do not appear to be causing more severe disease, however, they do spread easily.
“While the COVID-19 situation has greatly improved compared to early this year, the threat is not yet over. COVID-19 continues to spread in our community, and we need to protect ourselves by once again reinforcing and upholding COVID-19 safety measures”,
“We continue to ask any person with flu-like illness to get tested in any of the Honiara City Council health centres and those showing signs and symptoms of COVID-19 should stay at home,” says Mrs Pauline McNeil, Permanent Secretary for Health.
If tested positive, please home isolate for at least ten (10) days or until a negative result is received before coming out of home isolation. During home isolation, avoid close contact with any persons in your household and as much as possible, keep all eating and drinking utensils, clothing separate from the rest of the household.
Workplaces are encouraged to support symptomatic staff to get tested. Test can be carried out by trained staff in the workplace or by visiting a testing site at one of the local health centres. MHMS is distributing kits to various workplaces for COVID-19 testing and that give quick results to provide rapid diagnosis.
“Many have experienced the first two waves of COVID-19 and should not take the threat of COVID-19 lightly. The COVID-19 vaccine continues to provide good protection against severe disease and those who have not had the full dose should strongly consider getting vaccinated to protect themselves and their loved ones. Even though this Omicron subvariant BA.5 does not appear to be the cause of more severe disease than previous subvariants, we need to continue protecting those most of risk including people over 60 years and those with illnesses that affect their immunity,” says Dr Howard Sobel, WHO Representative to the Solomon Islands.
The public is once again being asked to reinforce and uphold COVID-19 safe measures.
- Wear face masks in public spaces and on public transportation at all times if possible
- Frequent hand washing with soap or hand sanitizer at all times
- Cough into bent elbow or tissue and dispose of it properly at all times
- Implement social distancing of at least two (2) meters
- Avoid large gatherings as much as possible.
- Get fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Those who are not yet vaccinated are encouraged to get vaccinated at your nearest health clinic and those who are due, should get a booster
Showing signs and symptoms of COVID-19? Please call our National Health Emergency Operation Centre on phone 115