SIX COVID POSITIVE  - Solomon Star News


14 September 2020
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, center, announces the situation of our Philippines students in his address on Sunday 13th September in the presence of Health Minister Dr Culwick Togaman and Education Minister Lenelle Tanangada.

PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare has confirmed six Solomon Islands students studying in Philippines have tested positive for COVID-19.

In a special nation wide address yesterday, Sogavare said the six cases were detected out from the 130 students who have conducted test on Friday 11 September as required before they travel back to the country.  

The first flight is scheduled for the end of this month.

Mr Sogavare said those students have been informed of their results by the Philippine Red Cross in accordance with the Laws of Philippines and are currently quarantined at their respective homes in the Philippines while authorities there are conducting contact tracing for those they have come into contact with.

He then assured Solomon Islanders especially the parents of the six students tested positive that the Government is working closely with authorities in the Philippines to take care of their welfare during this difficult time.

Sogavare said Philippines has been classified as an extremely high-risk country for Covid-19. 

“This means, each student must have 3 consecutive negative Covid-19 tests in the 14 days before the flight date before they can board their flight home,” he said. 

He said the government has been extremely fortunate that the Philippines Red Cross had agreed to coordinate and do all the tests on our students.

Sogavare said following the release of results from the Philippines, the Oversight Committee convened an emergency meeting on Saturday afternoon and late into the night to discuss the implications and actions to respond to this new development. 

“On Saturday night, a subgroup of the Oversight Committee comprising the Ministry of Health and Medical Service and the Ministry of Education and Human Resources managed to establish contact with the six students. This was an important undertaking before the Committee can speak with their parents,” he said. 

He said based on Philippines’ Laws, all 130 students have been informed of their first test results. 

“The Philippines’ Law now requires that all students who test positive, and their contacts to be quarantined at home, unless they are sick from the virus in which case they are admitted to hospitals,” he said. 

He said the Philippines’ Department of Health will undertake contact tracing for the 6 students with positive tests and contacts.  

Prime Minister Sogavare has confirmed that the 6 students are asymptomatic which means they are not sick with the virus infection at this stage. 

“We have spoken with some parents. We will continue our efforts to contact and speak with the other parents. Some students have already informed their parents.

“It is important for the parents to know that their son or daughter are currently not showing signs of being sick with the infection, and that they are being cared for,” Sogavare added.

The Government through the Ministry of Health and Medical Service is working closely with the Philippines Red Cross to establish a formal arrangement that extends to and includes the care of our students for which the government will meet the costs in the first instance.

He then assured that while the Government is faced with this latest development, it also has a responsibility to protect our country and people from this Covid-19.

“This simply means only students that meet our ‘3-negative tests requirement’ will board our repatriation flights. 

“While this does not give a 100% guarantee we will not import Covid-19, it guarantees we minimize the risk of importation of Covid-19 into the count,” he added.

There are total of 373 students and 12 off-springs below 2 years old in the Philippines - a total of 385 people altogether.

Newsroom, Honiara