Personal Observation on the Covid-19 Community Transmission in Ontong Java
As a concerned Ontong Javanese, I would like to bring forth to the Ontong Java (OJ) Community, the public, and the government some personal observations and analysis about the Covid 19 Community Transmission in Otong Java, in relation to the case in Honiara.
This is not a critique to demean anyone, but to bring about the truth of what actually had transpired during the period beginning from 1st September 2021 to 10th January 2022.
As we all know, this is in the first 5 months period when the Beche-de-mer ban was lifted. Firstly, let me set the scenario in context;
1. Since the out-break of the virus Ontong Java was fully featured in the preparation plans for the Covid 19 pandemic, but has never been fully materialized. In other words, nothing has seriously been done toward the preparation,
2. The border between Tasman Islands (PNG) and Ontong Java (SI) was unpatrolled. Meaning cross borders had happened illegally, but was not reported.
3. From the inception of the lifting of the ban, the islands and villages of Ontong Java had been flooded with people from OJ, other nationals from Solomon Islands who went there to sell their market products for fast money, and Chinese nationals who went there to buy beche-de-mer. We could say about half or more (representative) of the country were in Ontong Java during this period.
4. Ontong Java people, including others were obsessed with chronic drunkenness day in and day out during this period, and are still happening. This is due to the illegal sale of alcohol (beer and kwaso) in the community,
5. Social structures (cultural, political and religious) were not fully functional and operative then, a very sad scenario.
Secondly, allow me to provide some theoretical assumptions and a way forward;
1. If the transmission of the virus was brought over to Pelau Island on the 9th January 2022 then, it did not match with the detection of the case here in Honiara. If one considers the geographical setting of the atoll, this supposed not to be the case. The highly probable theory is that the virus was already in OJ during the influx of people in OJ (both citizens and illegal entries mentioned above) during the period described above. So it is highly likely that the virus was already there prior to the 9th January 2022,
2. This means all who visited OJ during that period need to be tested for the virus as a way of providing safety to our country.
3. This scenario demands the border be manned properly and be patrolled.
4. This also calls for the MP for MOI, MPA’s for the 2 wards in OJ, Chiefs and Church leaders from OJ and OJ-Honiara to seriously collaborate and look into the matter, and come up with a way forward.
Finally, this is an observation based on reality of what had transpired over the last few months in OJ. And thank you to the hardworking front-liners, the oversight committee and the government. Also, I want to call on all OJ people in OJ and Honiara to stay calm and not to be panic, and to fully observe the Covid 19 protocols. “IUMI TUGEDA AGAINST COVID 19”, GOD BLESS.
Rev. Dr. Edward Kolohai A concerned Ontong Javanese