FOUR young footballers from the Royals Football Academy have been tested positive for Covid-19.
The confirmation was made by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in his national address to the nation, Tuesday.
Prime Minister Sogavare confirmed all four cases are from the 16 soccer players that have been stranded in the United Kingdom since early this year.
“All four cases are from the 16 returning soccer players that had been stranded in the United Kingdom since early this year.”
The four passengers were part of 22 passengers who were identified and swabbed upon arrival as part of normal standard procedures.
He said all the returning 16 players were seated together in the flight, which minimizes the risk of potential spread to other passengers.
The four were the ones that were red-flagged upon arrival from Auckland on Sunday night.
Prime Minister Sogavare confirmed that these four will remain in isolation while the rest of the soccer players are quarantined together.
He said it is a standard requirement that all passengers must complete their pre-departure tests and truthfully fill a risk assessment questionnaire that is assessed by the health team before passengers are allowed to board.
“All the soccer players were tested negative three times.
“They each sent their filled questionnaires, however, our contact tracing had already established that not all the questions were answered truthfully,” the PM said.
The prime minister also revealed that it was also reported to the government that one of the soccer players who were positive refused to wear a mask during the flight from Auckland to Honiara, despite being asked to do so repeatedly.
“We know who that individual is, and both he and the nation, need to know that his selfish actions in the plane had put many more passengers that came in on the flight last night at greater risk of exposure to the virus, and he had put our country in danger,” he added.
PM said responsible authorities will deal with the matter after the completion of the mandatory quarantine period.
Other travelers from the United Kingdom, France, and Italy are also being tested and are been quarantined in single rooms to minimize any potential spread should any of them become positive.
A total of 136 passengers arrived on the flight from Auckland.
The flight took on board passengers that transited through Auckland from Italy, France, England, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea, Samoa, Australia, and New Zealand.
Meanwhile, PM Sogavare confirmed the four initial cases from our students from the Philippines have since recovered and are now COVID-19 free.
The four will be released after a further three negative tests.
By CARLOS ARUAFU