RMI bares coronavirus mitigation plans

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With the closure of the Marshall Islands to inbound flights for two weeks, the government has been busy putting up public health infrastructure in case the coronavirus outbreak reaches the island.

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The Marshall Islands Ministry of Health held a press conference this morning to address concerns about the travel advisory issued by the government over the weekend.

Jack Niedenthal, Secretary of the Ministry of Health and other health officials bared plans made by the government to strengthen its internal public health infrastructure, including the construction of a quarantine facility in the Arrak campus of the College of the Marshall Islands and isolation wards at the Majuro hospital.

“Right now, under construction in our Arrak campus at CMI, we are building a quarantine center should we have cases of coronavirus. We are also looking to have our isolation ward here by the hospital. It is an 8-unit ward — very expensive. It is a $600,000 ward that we are building to try to house our critical patients,” Niedenthal said.

Niedenthal also emphasized he wants the community to understand that the travel advisory was written in conjunction with the Marshall Islands’ National Disaster Committee.

“We needed these two weeks to prepare the country, The advisory was approved by the cabinet and the President,” Niedenthal said.

He added that with over 4,000 deaths, and 117 countries now with the coronavirus, the Marshall Islands continues to be free of COVID-19 and they hope to keep it that way but they also have to prepare for the worst and just hope for the best.

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