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The Solomon Islands Government has now got the emergency powers to deal effectively with the threats the coronavirus poses to the nation.
It came with the state of public emergency Governor-General Sir David Vunagi declared for the nation Wednesday.
“The state of public emergency Regulations will empower the Prime Minister to make orders that are necessary for the Government to perform certain actions during the emergency period,” Attorney General John Muria Jnr explained.
“A state of emergency is a situation in which a government is empowered to perform actions or impose policies that it would normally not be permitted to undertake.
“A government can declare such a state during a natural disaster, medical pandemic/epidemic, civil unrest, or armed conflict.
“Such declarations are designed to alert citizens to change their normal behaviour and orders government agencies to implement emergency plans.”
In declaring the state of emergency, Vunagi said given that the spread of COVID-19 was not contained and continued to spread to other countries with high mortality rates worldwide, it already becomes a threat to the Solomon Islands.
“The Government recognises that the importation of the COVID-19 could be catastrophic for the country, considering the limited health resources we currently have,” Vunagi said.
“We will only be safe if the COVID-19 does not enter the Solomon Islands,” he added.
Vunagi said an assessment of the threat posed by COVID-19 has been conducted by the Government and the threat assessment has recommended that the risks associated with the continued spread of COVID-19 are matter of national security.
“As such, the Government needs to respond now to the rising security threat that COVID-19 poses.
“It is in light of the above and in accordance with section 16(2) of the Constitution that I declare that State of Public Emergency now exists in the Solomon Islands.”
Meanwhile, a good number of nurses and doctors are currently applying to take their leave despite the imminent threat the coronavirus (COVID-19) has posed.
The situation has put a lot of pressure on the Minister and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS).
Minister Dickson Mua confirmed this to the Solomon Star on Wednesday, stating this may be due to fears amongst health workers of contracting the virus.
However, he said his Permanent Secretary is doing her best to deal with this issue because “we do not want any setback in this critical time”.
“Nurses and doctors are professionals and they know their trade very well and how to execute them in their respective fields.
“I only pray and hope that this virus will not affect us on a larger scale if it ever gets here,” Mua said.
A doctor spoken to, agreed with Mua’s sentiments.
“The minister is right and the truth is we are not preparing on the ground when it comes to the safety of the medical professionals who will attend to any Covid-19 cases,” the doctor, who asked not to be named, said.
“At the moment, the nurses who dealt with a suspected Covid-19 case at Mbokona clinic have to be quarantined after their contact with the patient,” the doctor said.
Mua also confirmed that four nurses were in quarantine.
The doctor further stated the nurses were sent home after collecting samples from them because there is no Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) available and that the isolation room is yet to be functional.
“So the nurses and doctors will not risk their lives looking after the suspects or if we have positive cases,” the doctor said.
The doctor said that the government needs to act quickly and import more PPE and prepare the isolation area.
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