SOLOMON Islands is now facing its biggest challenge with COVID-19 following the community transmission of the virus in Honiara.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in his special address on the COVID-19 situation in our country this morning said with the detection of COVID-19 in Honiara the health team’s priority now is to;
- Identify the exact location of all the passengers that arrived in Honiara from Ontong Java on 10th January 2022 and
- Determine the geographical boundaries of the infection.
Mr Sogavare said the person with COVID-19 in Honiara was one of the passengers onboard MV Akwa which travelled from Ontong Java on 9th January 2022 and arrived in Honiara on 10th January – nine days ago.
Seven new COVID-19 cases have been diagnosed in the country this week – one a foreign national travelling to Honiara from Brisbane on Friday last week and six from Pelau, Ontong Java.
One of the six in Pelau was the doctor who illegally crossed the border with nine other people including members of his family from Tasman Island in Papua New Guinea to Pelau on 9th January 2022.
However, Mr Sogavare said the situation in Honiara is much more serious than in Ontong Java because “we do not yet know the extent of the spread of the virus in the city”.
“…in Ontong Java the spread of the infection is only on the island unless it is taken outside of Ontong Java,” he said.
He said based on contact tracing information, people that travelled on the vessel are in four general locations in Honiara.
These are the Lord Howe Settlement at Mataniko, a house in Ranadi, Marine School area, a house in Naha and a house in Tasahe.
Therefore, the Prime Minister urged passengers on the 10th January 2022 trip from Ontong Java to urgently call these telephone numbers: 115 or 25256.
“The health teams are trying to make contact with passengers and contacts of passengers as soon as possible. Please call them as soon as you hear this message.
“Stay where you are and call. Do not move from where you are. The health team will come to you.
“Remember the virus will only move if you are infected and you move, so do not move we will come to you, the health team will come and locate you, assess you and take you to a testing site if necessary,” Mr Sogavare said.
He said already the health team has received reports that some of the people that travelled on the vessel are not well.
“It is likely some more people who travelled on the vessel may test positive and therefore, they must contact the health team urgently.
“When you call please inform the person answering the phone your name, whether you are a passenger on MV Akwa or a contact of a passenger that travelled on MV Akwa that arrived in Honiara on 10th January 2022, your address and location, names and contacts of any other person that you know that had travelled on the vessel or is a contact of the person that travelled on the vessel.
“If you are a passenger on the vessel or a contact of a passenger when you hear this message, please stay where you are and call the two numbers,” he said.
The numbers are 115 and 25256.