Vanuatu applauds handling of first Solomon Islands COVID-19 border case

Vanuatu’sMinistry of Health has joined its Pacific neighbours to applaud the Government of the Solomon Islands on the handling of its first COVID-19 case identified in quarantine.

“Like Vanuatu, until recently, Solomon Islands enjoyed the status of being one of the very few countries in the world to have recorded no confirmed cases of COVID-19,” said Len Tarivonda, Director of Public Health.

“This changed early on this month when the first case was detected at the country’s border.”

The first COVID-19 case identified on October 3 was among a person repatriated from the Philippines and identified in quarantine. The case was not identified in the community. The detection of the case by the Government of the Solomon Islands in quarantine demonstrates the absolute importance of quarantine as a measure to prevent importation to the community.

“I join the rest of our Pacific neighbours to applaud the Government of the Solomon Islands for its rapid implementation of measures to respond to, contain and manage the situation to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the people of the Solomon Islands,” Director Tarivonda stated.

“It really goes to show that any planning, preparation and simulation a country puts in place is never in vain”.

The detection of the case at the border clearly shows the strength of the quarantine process in the Solomon Islands. The first identified COVID-19 case in the Solomon Islands presents a real learning opportunity for Vanuatu. It stresses the importance of effective quarantine and community preparedness in the event of a case in Vanuatu.

“Available evidence appears that the case has been effectively contained, and that there was no need for widespread country-wide lockdowns,” Director Tarivonda added.

“Huge congratulations to the government of the Solomon Islands for their leadership and work to contain the case.”

Vanuatu continues to ensure everyone returning completes quarantine and respects the COVID-19 protocols being enforced in the facilities. It is of utmost priority during Phase 2 repatriation to ensure that the mandatory 14-day quarantine is completed as effectively as possible with minimal or no breaches.

Accordingly, quarantine protocols and security are being tightened and additional measures put in place include pooled testing on days five and 11 of those returning from higher risk countries where there is ongoing community transmission.

In the event that a case is detected in quarantine there are systems, processes and procedures in place to respond to this to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the people of Vanuatu.

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