Churches urged to share information on virus

Ministry of Health (M.O.H.) officials have urged National Council of Churches (NCC) members to share information they gathered in a workshop on the coronavirus with their congregation members.

The M.O.H. Assistant C.E.O. (Health Protection and Enforcement Division), Mae'e Ualesi Silva, told Samoa Observer that they did a presentation on the COVID-19 coronavirus on Thursday for members of the N.C.C. who will then disseminate the information to their congregation members.

"Our program has now come to the National Council of Churches. We presented information about the coronavirus, ways it can spread, symptoms and ways to prevent the spread of the virus,"  she said.

"We have made copies of the presentation for members of the National Council of Churches so they can present it to their congregations. Our aim is to inform the public about the coronavirus. We emphasize the protection of our people because prevention can stop the spread of a disease.”

The N.C.C. Chairman Deacon Leaupepe Kasiano Leaupepe, N.C.C. Secretary Reverend Ma'auga Motu, and council members and MOH officials attended the presentation.

Mrs. Silva told the workshop participants that the virus is new and can be identified with the symptoms of fever, cough, difficulty of breathing and shortness of breath.

Due to the highly infectious virus, she said people should wear face masks or cover their mouths if they sneeze or cough. Travelers from countries with confirmed cases of the virus should also undergo self-quarantine for 14-days, and if any symptoms show then you must undergo self-isolation.

In an interview with the Samoa Observer, Reverend Ma'auga said prevention is always better than treatment, though he expressed concern about the long turnaround time for the coronavirus test results that are sent to Australia.

"In my opinion, we are sending the tests far away and waiting for a long time for the results. If the Government can request two or four specialists from the W.H.O to work together with the Ministry of Health to test any suspected cases, then that would help in the prevention of the disease,” he said. “If not specialists then machines used to test for the virus should be available here rather than having to send the tests all the way to Australia.”

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