The Secretary to the Prime Minister, Dr Jimmie Rodgers, having just returned from Fiji, is encouraging all Solomon Islanders to put into practice COVID-19 measures to prepare themselves should there be community transmission in the country.

“We were blessed not to have registered a single case of community transmission and I’m hoping that we continue to remain that way,” Dr. Rodgers said.

He is adamant that the country’s stringent COVID-19 measures are working, but advised that we must not be complacent or else we will be caught off-guard.

“I think mask-wearing is a discipline that we need to start looking at because in the event that the country has community transmission, that will be the new normal.”

He says it is mandatory to wear masks when you are out and about in Fiji.

“This is how Fiji managed to get ahead of the virus. The beauty of what Fiji does despite the deaths and numbers is that Fiji now partially opens its borders internationally beginning last weekend.”

He says just to give some perspective on how quickly the Covid variant can spread, on his arrival in Fiji on April 9th 2021, Fiji had recorded a total of 67 cases.

He says prior to his departure about a month ago, Fiji had a total of 52,397 cases.

Dr. Rodgers says that means since the discovery of the two initial cases of the Delta variant from India on April 11, Fiji’s positive cases jumped by 52,328 cases in the last four months alone.

“This is a testament to how quickly the Delta variant can spread through the community which has put a lot of pressure on health systems and everyone in Fiji,” Dr Rodgers said.

He says he is impressed with the way Fiji had mobilized 15,000 plus workers to contain the infection, stating it would be a challenge for Solomon Islands to organize such numbers should there be community transmission.

He says another important feature of Fiji’s fight against the virus is its high vaccination rates, with 100% of the eligible population getting their first jab and close to 90% fully vaccinated.

He says a strong vaccination coverage and adhering to COVID-19 measures such as wearing a mask has proven to be effective, and does work, as shown in Fiji. Because of this successful vaccination drive Fiji will open its borders to the World in December.

“I’m just saying these things to position our country so that when our vaccination comes in, please make sure that our children are inoculated to protect themselves from the virus.

“We cannot guarantee whether we will forever keep the virus out or not. So far, we have been blessed and we will continue to be blessed but if it does come, we need to do our part,” he said.