Case numbers of COVID-19 have soared from zero to 2,790 in the small Pacific nation of the Solomon Islands. The first case was reported on 19 January, and within 12 hours more than 100 cases had been reported. So far 25 people have died from COVID-19 in the country.
“The real number of cases is probably much higher than reports because testing capacity is limited,” says Rose Clough, Caritas Australia Solomon Islands’ Program Quality Coordinator.
“We also have low vaccination rates – less than half of people are vaccinated at this point and vaccination centres have closed down temporarily because we’ve had problems with people crowding and not following health protocols at the vaccination centres since the outbreak started.
“What really concerns me is how this outbreak will impact our health system. There are only 59 beds in the national isolation centre in Honiara, and many healthcare workers have already been infected by COVID.
“This outbreak will also make things much harder for poor and vulnerable communities, who will be financially impacted by lockdowns, and have less access to high-quality testing and healthcare.
“Caritas Australia is working with the Church networks in the Solomon Islands to support vulnerable communities during COVID-19. We’re helping communities make their own soap and face masks, because low-income families can’t always afford to buy these products. This helps them to protect themselves but it’s also sustainable, and for some communities can even be a source of income.”
Caritas Australia has been working in the Solomon Islands since 1999, and continues to work with local communities to increase access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, as well as spreading life-saving information about the importance of COVID-19 treatment and vaccination.
Visit https://www.caritas.org.au/donate/emergency-appeals/pacific/ or call 1800 024 413 toll-free to provide much-needed support to vulnerable communities in the Pacific by donating to our Pacific Regional Appeal.
With thanks to Caritas Australia.