Editorial comment – Staying focused on the virus

Minister for Health and Medical Services Ifereimi Waqainabete with Head of Health Protection at the Ministry of Health and Medical Services , Dr Aalisha Sahukhan after a press conference Picture: JONA KONATACI/FILE

It’s interesting that the Ministry of Health’s head of health protection, Dr Aalisha Sahukhan, says it is looking at various health facilities as a quarantine area for suspected coronavirus cases.

Our report today reveals the ministry is “looking for an isolation facility for the Central Division”.

“We are looking at all the different health facilities and based on a number of factors including suitability, the possibility of isolating patients from each other, and then we are making a decision based on that.”

What is important though is the confirmation by Dr Sahukhan that there were no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Fiji.

She was responding to concerns raised by villagers who live close to the Navua Hospital. Now that’s probably the most important part of this revelation.

In Geneva this week, according to the World Health Organization, leading health experts from around the world were meeting at the organisation’s headquarters to assess the level of knowledge about the new COVID-19 disease, identify gaps and work together to accelerate and fund priority research needed to help stop this outbreak and prepare for any future outbreaks.

The two-day forum, it stated, was convened in line with a strategy for developing drugs and vaccines before epidemics, and accelerating research and development while they are occurring.

The outbreak, it stated, was a test of solidarity — political, financial and scientific. It quoted WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus saying: “We need to come together to fight a common enemy that does not respect borders, ensure that we have the resources necessary to bring this outbreak to an end and bring our best science to the forefront to find shared answers to shared problems. Research is an integral part of the outbreak response.”

According to WHO, the meeting, hosted in collaboration with GloPID-R, (the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness) brought together major research funders and over 300 scientists and researchers from a large variety of disciplines.

They discussed all aspects of the outbreak and ways to control it.

Meanwhile, for a change in focus, Valentine’s Day, it seems, has had an impact on the infection as well.

BBC reported how people in Singapore were thanking healthcare workers on the frontline of the coronavirus outbreak with hand written notes for the special day which is today.

Singapore had 50 reported cases of the virus, and the government had stepped up measures to contain that.

It seems some people have gone on social media platforms to boost the morale of healthcare workers with special messages.

As countries around the world keep a tab on the spread of the virus, we will, once more, keep the powers that be on their toes.

They have a huge task of ensuring our safety in the face of the global outbreak.

They have a duty to be proactive, and vigilant.

On this very special day though, we wish you all a happy Valentine’s Day.

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