Solomon Islands Maritime Authority aware of COVID-19 situation

Photo: Glenda Willie | File

The Maritime Authority in Solomon Islands has been informed of the deceased Filipino crew that contracted COVID-19 and died in Vanuatu.

The Office of tahe Maritime Regulator (OMR) has conveyed the information to them, because the UK-flagged tanker is expected to go Solomon Islands once it is cleared by authorities in Vanuatu.

Acting Superintendent of Vila Central Hospital (VCH), Dr Vincent Atua explained there are two types of autopsies — external when the pathologists examine the outside of the body and internal when a surgery is performed.

“We don’t have a negative pressure room (where contaminated air can be controlled) so this presents a risk to the hospital’s only pathologist (physician who studies body fluids and tissues),” he explained.

“As such, a full post-mortem examination cannot be done, just half, so the post-mortem is inconclusive.”

On the question of whether a dead body is safe to examine, he said as long as the body has fluid secretion, it can still spread.

“If you can prove he is a false positive, everything is fine,” Dr Atua said. “His test results must be validated in Australia; the samples will be kept for the next available flight to Brisbane. Then the deceased’s family will be contacted through the vessels agent for burial options.”

Meanwhile, the Managing Director of Origin assured there has never been any contact between the staff of Origin and the crew on board the tanker. He further confirmed that ever since the Covid pandemic, the company has been observing all COVID-19 protocols when refilling gas.

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