Frontline workers engaged in COVID-19 operations including support staff have underwent proper training on infection, prevention and control measures and effective use of personal protective equipment.

This means they have appropriate knowledge and skills to protect themselves in the management of arrivals from abroad including the most recent Philippine flight.

The Minister of Health and Medical Services (MHMS), Dr Culwick Togamana made the assurance amidst public concerns on the safety of frontline workers dealing with students arriving from the Philippines last week.

Dr Togamana said all the people who were involved in operations have undergone risk assessment and were considered at low risk.

People who were involved in the collection of biological specimen from the quarantined passengers have been quarantined as a prudent measure while all the 90 students have also been tested for COVID-19.

“All the staff who are involved in operations underwent daily risk assessment and adequate Infection Prevention and Control procedures that have been put in place and they pose no risk to the community or family members,” Dr Togamana said.

On the safety of front line staffs, not all staffs at the NRH care areas are allowed for cross overs to other care areas, and each workflow is now implementing a unidirectional workflow.

Accommodation for front line staffs on two weeks deployment is been progressed, where duty staffs will follow a strict pre-deployment, deployment and post deployment instructions.

Other precautionary measures have also been undertaken with the patient at NRH Isolation ward that included doctor - patient communication via mobile phone and staff of isolation ward 1 and 2 restricted from crossing over.

He said while the country has recorded its first case of COVID-19, people must be assured that the Ministry of Health is working very hard to ensure that the virus remains contained from spreading into the community.

The country’s first COVID-19 patient is currently isolated at the NRH Isolation ward and is being monitored by health workers.

The patient remains asymptomatic, meaning that although he has tested positive for COVID-19 he is not feeling sick or showing COVID-19 signs of fever, coughing or shortness of breath.

Contact tracing commenced on Saturday and included 29 student passengers who were seated close to the patient during the flight as well as on students and Camp Management staff at Chengs quarantine station.

Contact tracing was also extended to health workers and all frontliners who were involved in operations following the arrival and those who conducted health monitoring.

Source: GCU