Coronavirus clampdowns proposed
Schools, sporting tournaments, conferences, public gatherings such as bingo would all be closed under possible preventative measure for the coronavirus currently under consideration by the Government.
The Assistant Chief Executive Officer of Health Protection and Enforcement under the Ministry of Health, Mae’e Ualesi Silva, warned of the possible preventative measures on Wednesday at an awareness raising programme.
“The Ministry has presented its recommendations to Cabinet in relation to closing public gatherings,” said Mae’e.
She added that the M.O.H. will wait for Cabinet’s decision on the matter.
The Ministry facilitated the programme where school principals in Upolu and inspectors for all Government schools attended at their headquarters.
The awareness programme was focused on preparedness and awareness for the virus known as C.O.V.I.D.-19 measures to protect against the virus.
Mae’e told the participants that public awareness was significant:
“We will have presentations on what C.O.V.I.D. 19, where the virus originated from, the signs and symptoms of the virus, the complications, mode of transmission, and how to prevent the spread of the virus.
“You have the posters and pamphlets on ways to avoid the spread of C.O.V.I.D. 19; we cannot reach out to all schools hence why we have invited all principals so that you can inform students.
“You can also utilise the Tik Tok app so that they can use steps of washing hands.”
She added that the programme’s objective is to have schools play a role in informing members of the public.
“As of Wednesday morning, a total of 180,159 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, 7,103 total deaths," she said.
“Only Australia in the pacific has reported five deaths with 375 confirmed cases while New Zealand has 11 cases and in Samoa there are no suspected or confirmed cases.
“It is important for us to understand what the virus is because at the moment there is no cure for coronavirus and no scientific evidence that a country has come up with a vaccine to treat the virus.”
She added that there have been a lot of false statements made on social media which have caused needless panic.
“We must limit public gatherings, handshakes, hugs, and close contacts especially avoid the contact of your hands towards your face," she said.
“It is essential we practice our preventative measures especially [if] it’s a flu season and for those having the flu to stay home and isolate yourselves and avoid travelling.”
Mae’e added that Samoa’s priority is its border control.
“We were the first country to do our border security through M.O.H., immigration and Customs and Quarantine.
“Government has issued a stop notice on all public servants travelling overseas for affected countries.”
Another presenter, Joyce Roache-Levaai, said that it is recommended that members of the public use hand sanitisers made from 70 per cent alcohol.
“It is because sanitizers with less than 70 percent are not guaranteed to kill a lot of bacteria.
“Use appropriate product and technique: an alcohol-based hand rub product is preferable, if hands are not visibly soiled or dirty and rub hands for 20-30 seconds.
“With the use of soap and running water wash hands for 40-60 seconds when visibly dirty or contaminated with fluids.”
She also advised to keep nails short, natural and clean.
“No artificial nails or chipped nail polish; roll up long sleeves for clinical contact and hand hygiene; cover all [broken] skin (cuts, abrasions, dermatitis).
“No wrist watches, rings with stones/engraving, no earrings and remove rings when washing or sanitizing hands.
A World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) official, Dr. Dyxon Hansell has said that people with cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure are at a 60 per cent risk of fatality if infected with coronavirus.
“Be scared to do something instead of being scared to do nothing.
“If we were to learn anything from the measles it is when the Government said no prize giving but some schools still had their prize giving.
“If we do not learn from our mistakes we will suffer the consequences.”
Tepatasi Satauro Tosolina principal of Laulii Primary School said that it is very significant for people to understand and be aware of what to do in terms of preventative ways.
“Representatives from the health sector have stressed the importance of early prevention measures,” she said.
She added that the awareness programme is not a way to make our people panic but instead make our people ready.
The principal for Matatufu Primary School, Vaasa Fuimaono Fetalaiga also acknowledged initiatives by the health ministry in spreading awareness.
“The programme has given me so much information in terms of preparedness against the coronavirus.
“I know that the virus has not reached our shores but it is best to prepare our people and with this information we will inform teachers and students about preventative measures.”