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Solomon Islands taking decisive preventive action against Covid-19 and NZ winning international praise for its elimination strategy against the virus

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Dear Editor,

Please consider this letter.

Yours sincerely,

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Frank Short

In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic the Solomon Islands government is continuing to take decisive action to prevent coronavirus getting a foothold in the country.

In assisting the Solomon Islands it its preventative strategy, the Australian government funded and air lifted medical supplies to Honiara last week on a special cargo flight that was operated by Solomon Airlines.

The airlifted cargo included vital medical equipment and supplies funded by Australia and delivered through the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) COVID-19 support package for the Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services, and ordered for the National Referral Hospital (NRH)

In the latest of a series of measures provided for by the State of Public Emergency Declaration, the Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on Thursday gave details of the night curfew that would be imposed on the country from 8pm to 5am on Friday and Saturday.

Capture PM 2
Hon. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogovare

The PM said while people’s movement would be strictly restricted during those two nights, they would be free to move around as usual during the day.

The Solomon Islands does not have a case of coronavirus and following a preventative strategy one hopes will keep the deadly virus away.

New Zealand is starting to get international acclaim for its bold elimination strategy in completely ending transmissions of Covid-19 within the borders of the country.

The Guardian newspaper today featured an article on the New Zealand elimination strategy, and I will quote some extracts:   


“New Zealand now appears to be the only “western” nation following an articulated elimination strategy with the goal of completely ending transmission of Covid-19 within its borders.

“New Zealand only embraced the elimination strategy in mid-March. Up until then, the country was taking a similar approach to Australia. Both countries were following their pandemic plans, which were based on managing influenza pandemics. Both were applying increasing border restrictions to “keep it out”, with controls increased after 15 March to require 14-day periods of self-isolation for all arrivals. Familiar methods of case isolation, contact tracing and quarantine to stamp out cases were also being used.

“On 23 March New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced that New Zealand was going to rapidly escalate levels of physical distancing and travel restrictions, reaching the level of a full national lockdown on 26 March

“New Zealand needed this lockdown for several reasons. By effectively putting the country into mass home quarantine for a month it extinguished many chains of Covid-19 transmission. This period gave much needed time to ramp up the critical measures required for elimination to work It was probably also the only way to ensure the population would swiftly adhere to the physical distancing behaviours needed to extinguish chains of viral transmission.

“Taking an elimination approach is very different from mitigating pandemic influenza. With mitigation, the response is increased as the pandemic progresses, and more intensive interventions such as school closures are often held in reserve to “flatten the peak”. By contrast, disease elimination partly reverses the sequence by using vigorous interventions early to interrupt disease transmission.

“A major driver of the New Zealand decision to pursue elimination was the increasing evidence that this was the least bad option. A turning point was reading the report on the WHO Mission to China showing that, in contrast to influenza, this disease was more like SARS and could be eliminated even after community transmission had been established

“New Zealand also observed the relative success of a number of Asian jurisdictions in containing the Covid-19 pandemic, notably Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong.”

Yours sincerely

Frank Short


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