The Pacific community cannot afford to be complacent and must continue to be vigilant as the country moves to Alert Level 2 this Thursday, says a senior physician.
Dr Siniva Sinclair FAFPHM, a public health physician at Counties Manukau and an executive board member of the Pasifika Medical Association, says there’s still a threat of a second wave of the COVID-19 virus, even if the restrictions are lowered which could be catastrophic for the Pasifika community.
“COVID-19 is not fully eliminated as we ease the restrictions and increase social interaction. Our concern is that if there is a second wave, then our Pasifika community will be more vulnerable because of the larger household sizes and the fact we are more likely to come in contact with more people because of our roles as essential workers.”
During the crisis, the Pacific population were the highest tested and yet had the lowest amount of COVID-19 infections in New Zealand. Dr Sinclair says this showed how the community adapted to the guidelines in place to combat the virus and they should be applauded for their efforts.
“Well done to the community. We’ve protected each other, shown solidarity and it’s been effective. But it’s still not over. We still need to be keeping our distance and understand that life will not be the same and everything won’t be going back to normal.”
In her role, Dr Sinclair says she’s noticed that hospital usage has decreased over the last five weeks. She stresses to the community to still take care of other illnesses that they may be suffering from.
“Health is not all about COVID-19. Make sure you keep taking care of yourself as help is available and we need to stay on top of other health issues.”
Dr Sinclair says the threat of COVID-19 remains and if anyone contracts it, then they must act immediately.
“If you or someone in your family does get COVID-19, the first thing to remember is that it’s not your fault. The best thing to do is to make sure you can be isolated quickly, ideally somewhere away from the family, to reduce the time the family is affected and reduce the risk of spreading it.”
“As a community we’ve done very well so far, so let’s keep going.”