COVID-19 has now infiltrated Honiara as Solomon Islands diagnosed 48 new cases of COVID-19 since yesterday morning.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in his special address on the COVID-19 situation in the country this afternoon said this increase brings the total number of COVID-19 cases diagnosed in the country to 81 – an increase of 61 cases in the past month alone.
Of the 48 cases, Mr Sogavare said 23 are crews that have been exposed to passengers that travelled from Ontong Java on another vessel and were returning to Ontong Java, nine cases are members of the family of a person that arrived in Honiara on Ontong Java on 10th January 2022.
He said four cases are staff of the Solomon Islands Maritime Authority and Island Enterprises Ltd that have come into contact with the crew and a passenger of the vessel that arrived on 10th January 2022.
He said another two cases are from the Lord Howe Settlement and one from the police headquarters. Another nine cases are from the Emergency Department of the National Referral Hospital – three staff and six patients.
“All the 48 new cases in Honiara are from local transmission. They occur in different parts in the city so COVID-19 has infiltrated Honiara,” the Prime Minister said.
He added that so far seven of the 48 cases are linked to the people that travelled from Honiara to Ontong Java.
“The health team is currently investigating the sources of infection for the 48 positive cases,” Mr Sogavare said.
The 48 new cases of COVID-19 were diagnosed between 8am yesterday (Wednesday 19th January) to 8am this morning (Thursday 20th January).
He said it is of serious concern that some of the passengers from the vessel that arrived on 10th January 2022 have already travelled to centres in other provinces including Noro and Santa Catalina in Makira Ulawa Province.
He said the captain of the vessel also disembarked upon arrival on 10th January 2022 and attend a funeral somewhere in Guadalcanal.
“These simply means that these people could already spread the virus to these provinces.
“Our health team is following the tails of these people to test them while also focusing on efforts to contain the outbreaks in Honiara and Ontong Java,” he said.