The Red Cross warned Thursday about the danger of overcrowding the fragile health system of the Pacific Island nation after the coronavirus spread rapidly in the Solomon Islands.
Honiara’s capital has one hospital. Authorities have transformed a sports building into an emergency room and turned a football field into a vaccination center.
“They are currently trying to keep only those who are really sick, with COVID-19, and with difficulty breathing in those facilities,” Manuri said to The Associated Press from Honiara.
“Otherwise, the advice is for those who have been tested positive to self isolate in their homes.”
Manuri stated that the nation of 690,000 people is spread over hundreds of islands. Many are not served by any nearby facilities or only have access to small clinics.
He said, “I believe the fear now is that if it gets to the villages it’ll be a very serious issue.”
According to Manuri, Solomon Islands authorities, one in two residents in capital has COVID-19 symptoms. However, it’s difficult to know exactly how many people are suffering from the virus as there is no testing.
According to Our World in Data, there were 68 deaths confirmed by COVID-19, and 5,043 cases.
Many other Pacific countries are now experiencing their first outbreaks of coronavirus due to the contagious Omicron variant.
All of them, like the Solomon Islands have very limited health care resources and it is possible that they may not be able to access proper medical attention due to their location.
Katie Greenwood, head of the Red Cross’ Pacific delegation said in a statement that “we have already seen in Fiji, Papua New Guinea, how this ruthless disease overwhelms hospitals, and health systems.” As COVID spreads across the Pacific, it is more important than ever to ensure that vaccines reach those who are not vaccinated.
Authorities in the Solomon Islands have struggled with vaccine rollout, especially in remote islands. Manuri also stated that there is high levels of vaccine hesitancy due to false information being disseminated.
However, the current epidemic has caused people to rush to get vaccinated. In fact, some vaccination stations are overcrowded.
He said, “People are lined up all day.”
Manuri stated that the surge in interest is partly due to the outbreak but also because of new regulations by government closing down many facilities for non-vaccinated persons.
According to Our World in Data, 11% of the population has been fully vaccinated. However, 17% of those who have had their first shot are now complete.
cases were also reported elsewhere in the region. Fiji, Samoa, Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati and Samoa have all been fighting an ongoing epidemic for months.
Nearly all of Palau’s population is fully vaccinated. Fiji has 68%, Samoa has 65%. Kiribati has only 38%, but 24% of the population have had their first shot.
Tonga was covered in ash from the Jan. 15 eruption by the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano, which was located nearby. The tsunami that followed caused the ash to become a seared coating.
The coronavirus grew as international aid was received.
As the virus spreads, it has seen more than 200 cases. To try to contain the pandemic, have imposed lockdown measures. There have been no deaths.
61% of Tonga’s total population is fully vaccinated. 90% of the population who are eligible for vaccination are aged 12 or older. More than 98% have received at least one shot.
Saia Piukala, Health Minister, stated that no cases of positive outcomes have been reported and that an Australian navy vessel is available in case things get worse.
Matangi Tonga, Tonga’s online news portal Matangi Tonga, quoted him as saying that “The ship has forty beds and three operating rooms.” They can assist in any emergency right now.