STATEMENT FROM GP EXECUTIVE ON THE COMMUNITY TRANSMISSION OF COVID-19
The Executive of the Guadalcanal Province Government (GPG) wishes to inform the good people of Guadalcanal Province of the unfortunate health situation that is prevailing in the country especially in Honiara, Guadalcanal, Malaita, Isabel and Western Provinces. Guadalcanal province has directly recorded positive cases of COVID-19 in the community through community transmission. The total positive cases reported so far for Guadalcanal is 24. 21 by PCR and 3 by rapid test. At this stage, there is great uncertainty about the extent of the spread of the virus but the Guadalcanal Province Government through PEDOC is working closely with the national government on the fight to contain and control the spread of the corona virus in the communities.
Since the declaration of community transmission of the COVID-19 two weeks ago by the Prime Minister, Guadalcanal Province has been faced with direct risk of infection of the corona virus. In fact, when WHO declared the outbreak of the pandemic in 2019 the people of Guadalcanal Province has always been at the forefront of the risk of infection in terms of hosting the quarantine centre at Guadalcanal Beach Resort (GBR) in the Henderson suburb within Guadalcanal jurisdiction. This situation has always been acknowledged by the Guadalcanal Province government. The risk has always been there in the last two years. It has always been a question of when the community transmission would eventuate and the preparation for the fight. Today, with a heavy heart we wish to formally inform our people that the virus has in filtered into some of our communities. The risk is high and in the worst case scenario, it will be difficult to give adequate care for those infected by the virus due to lack of relevant infrastructure setup for the COVID-19 pandemic in Guadalcanal Province and even in the country.
Since community transmission was detected on the 10th January 2022, unfortunately the virus has made its way into communities within Guadalcanal Province including Foxwood, Good Samaritan Hospital, GPPOL, Aruligo and Horabau communities. There also possible suspect cases in Marau which the swab team has already conducted testing in the last two days. It is important that we all realize that the COVID-19 is now in our communities and it has the potential to spread rapidly and cause havoc, inconvenience and even death. It has taken almost nine days before the community transmission was detected by the Health Authorities at the national level. By that time on Guadalcanal the virus has unnoticeably in filtered the communities.
First and foremost, the Guadalcanal Provincial Government is calling on all its good citizens to continue to strictly observe the safety standards issued by the government to slow down the potential spread and devastating impact on our people. Since the last two weeks, the emergency zone is now in its second lockdown in the effort to continue to conduct more tracing, contain and control further community transmission of the COVID-19. It is important our people remain in their villages and avoid travelling to Honiara during the lockdowns. As we already know, if we move the virus move thus, the rate of community transmission increases. We do not want that to happen in our communities. All community leaders including chiefs, church leaders, community leaders and individuals are strongly asked to adhere to this call and support the Guadalcanal Province Government and the national government in this fight to contain and control the virus from further spreading in our communities.
In the last few days’ calls have been made by members of our communities for Guadalcanal Province to issue a media statement to let the people know about the plan to keep and protect our people safe from the spread of the virus. I wish to inform the people of Guadalcanal province that the plan has been developed and is now in place for implementation. The Guadalcanal Province government is grateful for the technical expertise rendered to have the plan developed and approved by the Executive last week. As of last week the GP PEDOC has been activated and work has commenced despite the great challenge been faced with resources to quickly mobilize the frontliners to all the communities as expected. Comprehensive detail of the Guadalcanal Province Corona Virus Response Plan will be released sooner.
In relation to the Corona Market at Tenaru, the Executive has taken the decision to temporarily close the market until further notice. This means that there will be no buying and selling of products on site to avoid any huge gatherings. As such the government is asking market vendors and public to respect the decision to close the market. This is critical for the protection of our people from the spread of the virus. The Guadalcanal Province Law Enforcement Team has been conducting awareness on site to ensure that the public adhere to the decision for closure of the Corona Market at Tenaru area.
The Guadalcanal Province Government is also considering the immediate lockdown of the constituencies which are directly bordering with Honiara City or outside the emergency zone to reduce the risk of further spreading of the virus.
In terms of vaccination in Guadalcanal Province, we want to thank those that have already taken their two jabs and those that have already taken their first jabs. Guadalcanal Province has been a concern to the Ministry of Health & Medical Service (MHMS) and the Guadalcanal Province Government given its low vaccination rate since the roll out of vaccination in 2021. This situation is largely attributed to limited resources and the reluctance of people to go out and get their jabs.
To date, total first dose both AstraZeneca and Sinopharm is 18,173 which is equivalent to 19.33%. Total second dose both AstraZeneca and Sinopharm is 8,379 which is equivalent to 8.91%. Given this low coverage the Government is calling on our good citizens, those that are yet to get their first or second jab to make it a priority to get vaccinated at your nearest vaccination centre.
In the last few days, an overwhelming response by members of the communities has been noticed and it is great to see the community stepping out in great numbers to get either their first or second vaccination. Given the reality of community transmission on Guadalcanal, all people are urged to come forward in great numbers and receive their jabs. This is critical for the containment and control of the spread of the corona virus. Guadalcanal province health workers and frontliners are rolling out the vaccination in Avuavu, Moli and Birao now ward has been through vaccination last week. The demand on our limited human resources and logistic has been a major impediment in the roll out but we acknowledge the support from UNICEF to Guadalcanal Province on the vaccination program. I must acknowledge the numerous community leaders around the 21 wards on Guadalcanal for working closely with your MPA’s in setting up lockdown programs in the week to restrict unwanted movement both internal and external. This is a very great support. I call on all the community leaders to continue to enforce the lockdown plans in collaboration with the GP PDOC and frontliners as this fight continues.
We wish to emphasise that community lockdown plans are carried out on voluntary basis as we cannot rely on other people to protect us. It is you for you and for your community. Your provincial leaders will continue to work closely with their respective communities to ensure that no unnecessary movement occurs in the community.
There have been incidences of stigmatisation towards others in some of our communities. It is important to note that we must respect other and avoid discrimination against other members of the community who may have been infected or are suspects. If there are suspect cases in your communities, please isolate them and call for the health team to attend to such cases. I understand that due to limited resources, response may be slow but it is important that these procedures are followed for the sake of the of the welfare of people.
Call is hereby made to the good people in all our communities to take the vaccination program seriously and mobilise members of the communities to come forward and take their jabs now. We acknowledge the limitation of resources to go back to the communities to make another round of vaccination roll out. My good people of Guadalcanal province please come forward and support your government to successfully fight our common invisible enemy.
The Guadalcanal Province Government is also taking this opportunity to appeal to businesses houses, stakeholders and individuals to support Guadalcanal Province through PEDOC. Currently, logistic has been the great challenge and it is critical for the mobilisation of the frontliners to the communities. Any interest for support should be directed to the PEDOC office or call in at Guadalcanal Province Headquarter Ritaleven Building. Your government, the Guadalcanal Province Executive takes this pandemic seriously and will do whatever it takes within its capacity to protect its good citizen from the devastating impact of the corona virus. It is our prayer that God Almighty will avert Guadalcanal Province and the people of Solomon Islands from the curse of this virus and that our people will once again enjoy the normality in their daily lives. Let me remind my good people of Guadalcanal Province that this not the time to finger point anyone for the outbreak of the virus in our communities. This is the time for us to join hands together to fight this common and invisible enemy. God bless Guadalcanal Province; God bless Solomon Islands form shore to shore!