THE national government will be deploying a team of 31 people in its first response phase to Ontong Java in the Malaita Outer Islands tomorrow (Wednesday 19th January 2022).
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in a special address on the COVID 19 situation in our country this morning (18th January 2022) said four health personnel and police personnel from Patrol Boat Gizo are already in Ontong Java.
However, he said following confirmation of the community transmission of COVID-19 in Ontong Java the government is deploying a team of 31 people to leave onboard MV Solomon Prestige II tomorrow (Wednesday 19th January 2022).
He said this team will comprise of 20 health personnel, six staff from the National Disaster Management Office and five additional police officers.
“This team will travel with essential supplies to assist them to quantify the magnitude of the community transmission of COVID-19 infection in Pelau and other communities in Ontong Java and work with the community to bring it under control,” the Prime Minister said.
The team will be responsible for undertaking further contact tracing and surveillance work, risk communication, clinical management of those that get ill, coordination and planning.
The Prime Minister made the special address to announce that the country has recorded seven new cases of COVID-19 bringing the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country to 32.
Six of the new cases are diagnosed in Pelau, Ontong Java and one is a foreign national that arrived from Brisbane, Australia, Friday last week.
The index case that brought in the infection to Pelau is a medical doctor from Papua New Guinea who hails from Tasman Island and has traditional ties with the people of Pelau.
The doctor with nine other people including members of his family crossed the border illegally from Tasman to Pelau on 9th January 2022.
Mr Sogavare said the team that will depart on Wednesday will be travelling with medical equipment and supplies.
He said additional tents will be set up as quarantine stations, field hospital and accommodation units for the travelling personnel together with other essential commodities including fuel for normal operations and helicopter.
The team is expected to arrive in Pelau early Friday morning.