While ample resources – and high hopes – are being invested in the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, policymakers and the public should be preparing for a scenario in which no silver bullet is possible. But even in that case, writes renowned infectious disease expert William A. Haseltine, there are strong grounds to believe that we can control the virus and its spread.
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Results for Health
Monday 20 July 2020
New York, USA
Even if one or more vaccines emerge that promise to make people less susceptible to COVID-19, the public-health problem will not be eliminated. But policymakers can avert some foreseeable problems by starting to address key questions about financing and distribution now. The toughest political question of all, though, is likely to concern access. Who should receive the initial doses of any vaccine? Who determines who is allowed into the queue and in what order? By Richard N. Haass
Wednesday 15 July 2020
A reliable and resilient electricity supply is important for health workers, even more so now during the stresses of CoViD-19. In a hospital a power cut could be life-threatening for some patients.
Wednesday 17 June 2020
London, United Kingdom
Governments cannot openly admit that the "controlled easing” of COVID-19 lockdowns in fact means controlled progress toward so-called herd immunity to the virus. Because there is currently no COVID-19 vaccine, governments have had to find other ways to prevent “excess deaths.” Most have opted for lockdowns, which remove entire populations from the path of the virus and thus deprive it of hosts. But this strategy has a terrible weakness: governments cannot keep their populations locked down until a vaccine arrives. Apart from anything else, the economic cost would be unthinkable. So, they have to ease the lockdown gradually. By Robert Skidelsky
Friday 29 May 2020
Tonga's CoViD-19 restrictions have been extended from today 8:00pm tonight 29 May until 11 June, the Tongan Government announced today. The restrictions have eased further with a shorter night time curfew from 11:00pm to 5:00am. Borders remain closed up to June 12.
Tuesday 19 May 2020
Preparations get Tonga ready to combat CoViD-19 should it reach the kingdom, are progressing slowly. The Ministry of Health reported delays in the construction of a specialised CoVid-19 testing laboratory, and they are waiting more protective gowns and overalls, and an oxygen generator. The Ministry is still working on a quarantine policy for future incoming passengers.
Monday 20 April 2020
International flights to Tonga have been barred up to 12 June according to a diversion order issued by the Ministry of Health CEO Dr Siale ‘Akau’ola. The order is to prevent the introduction, or spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to Tonga.
Monday 13 April 2020
An Australian doctor in Tonga warns that it’s too early for children to return to school tomorrow because we do not know for certain if the recent arrivals in Tonga were free of the virus or just had no symptoms. “If they did pass it to people they have contacted, those contacts may still be incubating the disease...To relax these restrictions now risks an outbreak of the disease, with potentially terrible consequences.” he said. There are no CoViD-19 tests here, so Tonga is “flying blind”.
Tuesday 7 April 2020
Three CoViD-19 testing machines and 2000 test kits are expect to arrive in Tonga later this month, although it is still uncertain how they will get here. Meanwhile, the Health CEO warned against public scaremongering: "When people try to force authorities not to accept donations like PPEs to help us fight CoViD-19, it is like the public forcing someone to use a fork and spoon to fight a lion."
Tuesday 24 March 2020
It is likely that eventually, CoViD-19 will become endemic (commonly recurring in the community), and most of us will get infected, says Justin Lessler, an associate professor of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the United States, stressing that it is most important to slow the speed of transmission.
Friday 6 March 2020
Tonga's Health officials are urging sick people, including Tongans, who are planning to visit Tonga, to stay away while they are ill. The plea comes after a 21-year-old Tongan woman travelled while sick with the flu from Sydney to Tonga on Monday, 2 March, and is now suspected of having COVID-19.
Tuesday 3 March 2020
While no cases of coronavirus have been identified in Tonga, the country has raised its alert level from high to very high, in a fourth travel advisory issued today, aimed at preventing the virus from entering the country.
Thursday 9 January 2020
An Otago University study is proposing that malaria in the past may have shaped the genome of Pacific people today, resulting in a genetic predisposition to Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and gout. The elevated levels of uric acids, which can strengthen the immune response to the mosquito-borne disease are also what causes the inflammatory reactions in gout. “Pacific people have their own genetic variants,” says Dr Ana Gosling.
Thursday 26 December 2019
Health services for over half a million people in four Pacific countries, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu, will benefit from a project that is helping to improve overall immunization coverage rates and support greater efficiency of primary health care.
Tuesday 17 December 2019
Seven biomedical engineering students from New Zealand’s University of Canterbury (UC) are spending 10 weeks in Tonga’s hospitals and clinics to repair life-saving medical equipment and to engineer biomedical solutions, as part of a work experience pilot program.
Tuesday 3 December 2019
Samoa is experiencing the deadliest epidemic to hit the South Pacific in the 21st century. The nation’s Government today confirmed 55 measles related deaths with at least 48 of the victims being being children under the age of four. A total of 3,881 measles cases have been recorded by Samoa’s Ministry of Health since the outbreak began in October.
Wednesday 20 November 2019
UNICEF is supporting the Government of Samoa to respond to a measles outbreak in the country. The Government of Samoa officially declared a state of emergency on 15 November 2019, four weeks into the continuing measles outbreak with more than 1000 suspected cases so far. The epidemic has claimed the lives of 14 children under-five years old and one adult. Lesser outbreaks are reported in Tonga and Fiji.
Monday 18 November 2019
A Tonga Body Building Federation brought home 3 gold medals, 1 silver medal and 3 bronze medals from the 25th South Pacific Body Building Championships held in New Caledonia, from 23-27 October 2019. The championship will be held in Tonga next year.
Wednesday 6 November 2019
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF are calling on Pacific communities to vaccinate against measles in response to recent outbreaks of measles in Tonga and Samoa.
Tuesday 5 November 2019
Wellington, New Zealand
The threat that climate change poses to global health is the theme of an annual conference being held by New Zealand’s Otago Global Health in Wellington, New Zealand this week 6 – 7 November. Pacific research will be the focus of the conference.