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Pacific News Minute: Solomon Islands medical workers warn health system may collapse amid outbreak

AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein
FILE - Ships are docked offshore in Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, Nov. 24, 2018.

Frontline health workers in the Solomon Islands are warning that its health system may collapse as the country deals with an overwhelming outbreak of Covid-19.

The South Pacific nation, located about 2,000 miles northeast of Australia, had been Covid-free — without a single case of the virus since the pandemic began.

But since Covid arrived in the country of 700,000 people in mid-January, it has recorded nearly 6,400 cases and around 100 deaths.

A senior doctor and two nurses at the National Referral Hospital in the capital of Honiara told The Guardian there are no beds for Covid patients.

They say, as a result, people are dying on the floor of the wards.

A lack of facilities and staff shortages have led to Covid-positive nurses being recalled to work.

The doctor warned that patients suffering from other illnesses and conditions were not getting treatment or medication, potentially leading to more deaths.

Health Minister Dr. Culwick Togamana has said the health system could not cater to all the people who tested positive or were showing symptoms of Covid.

At the end of last year, the Solomon Islands had a very low vaccination rate, with about 20% of adults fully vaccinated.

Since the outbreak, vaccination sites are now experiencing a massive turnout from the public.

Derrick Malama is the local anchor of Morning Edition.
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