Take Ministry of Health warning seriously

By The Editorial Board 03 December 2023, 10:00AM

The very thought of a lockdown is a dread and something no Samoan wants. The nation was shut off from the world for two years and the notion of living in your own homes as a prison is not very pleasing either.

That is why it is very important that people take all necessary steps to take preventative measures to stop another calamity.

The Director General of Health, Aiono Dr. Alec Ekeroma says there are more COVID-19 cases amongst the public. This statement should not be taken lightly. The Ministry of Health laboratories have uncovered that Rapid Antigen Test (R.A.T.) tests underestimates the positivity of the virus.

In an interview with the Samoa Observer, Aiono said it is one of the interesting results of the research the Ministry is conducting and there is a great possibility that there could be more positive cases in the country other than the numbers confirmed through the tests.

"It’s quite interesting today that we heard some research that was done by our other laboratory that has shown that our R.A.D. tests necessarily used, not generally ours, actually underestimates the positivity of COVID-19," he said.

"So if we say that there’s 10 positive cases from it doesn’t mean that there’s 10, it could be more than that because the R.A.T. tests actually underestimate."

A week ago, Aiono confirmed that there are six new positive cases of COVID-19 in Samoa and have been advised to isolate and apply symptomatic treatment.

As said earlier, prevention is always better than cure. The Ministry has asked people to get their booster shots for COVID-19 as the immunity provided by the vaccine is waning. The shots according to the MOH is very important in reducing serious cases especially for people with pre-existing health conditions.

Samoa’s economy has just started to recover. Tourism is doing well, businesses are benefiting, people are able to go for seasonal work, visit families and the sporting teams are able to participate in international meets. The children are able to go to school and people have employment. Things are going good but let us not take that for granted.

If there are more cases in the public, people need to get their booster shots, practice safe distancing and most important of all keep a good hygiene by doing the simple things like washing hands. Nobody would like to go back to the dark days when going out of the house meant masking up.

A new report by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the United Nations University – Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), “Understanding and managing cascading and systemic risks: lessons from COVID-19”, says the pandemic was far more than a health crisis, and affected societies to their core. In addition to the direct health-related impacts, the pandemic showed severe cascading effects on social, economic and financial systems across the globe, and countries that have not been relatively untouched by the direct impacts have still been impacted significantly in other ways.

Many countries including Samoa faced additional challenges due to climate-related extreme events and natural hazards, such as floods, storms and earthquakes.

Cascading effects from the pandemic exacerbated existing societal inequalities and marginalisation in regards to income, gender, education and disability.

COVID-19 affected all Sustainable Development Goals, notably SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 3 (Health & Well-Being), SDG 4 (Quality Education) and SDG 8 (Decent Work & Economic Growth). While some positive effects were observed, such as the introduction or expansion of social protection programmes in many developing countries and the acceleration of digitalisation processes worldwide, the adverse effects significantly outweigh the benefits.

Right now, MOH has not pressed the panic button and are just monitoring the cases but if things go worse and there are more cases than surely enough there is a possibility, things could return to the way things were in the lockdown.

The power to make a difference remains in our hands. The people need to practice preventative measures including getting the booster shots and everything will be as normal as possible. 

By The Editorial Board 03 December 2023, 10:00AM
Samoa Observer

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