The Solomon Airlines Airbus A320 left Honiara 9 am on Tuesday, made a brief stop-over at Biak Airport in Indonesia and then continued onto Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, China.
The airbus follows the same route for the return trip yesterday.
A statement from the National Disaster Council (NDC) said that prior to boarding, all incoming passengers have conducted 3 sets of COVID-19 tests.
These tests were sent to the SIG-Oversight Committee COVID-19 response and the Ministry of Health to determine their health status for approval, the statement said.
“This test has been conducted days prior to undertaking the journey.
“All results turn out negative which gives the green light to board the special flight,” the statement added.
The statement also clarified that a risk assessment has been conducted which China categorized as ‘low risk’- record of low virus infections.
Camp Management Sector and supporting agencies have been prepared to receive them upon arrivals.
“Upon arrival, they are expected to provide the latest proof of their negative tests and taken to government-managed Quarantine Stations (QS’s).
“Whilst in quarantine, all passengers are required to undergo another swab test within the first 48 hours and 2 additional tests for the duration of the 14-days quarantine period,” the statement said adding that it all depending on health monitoring, there is a possibility for extension of their stay beyond the mandated 14-days.
For the Solomon Islands, the norm for all repatriation flights; incoming passengers are advised to wear facemasks, hygiene practices on the flight, and during disembarkation to the stations.
NDC statement said that currently, a total of 21 returning nationals are half-way through to completion of their 14-days quarantine period. They are part of the batch of returnees repatriated last week.
“Arrivals on this first China flight will be accommodated in hotels isolated from the current returnees.
“All Standard Operating Procedures are adhered to ensuring there is no breach of the quarantine rules as set out in the regulations.
“The Camp Management, Health Surveillance, and clinical teams will ensure that there is zero contact between the quarantine persons,” the statement said.
About 21 Solomon Islands nationals are amongst these incoming passengers. The rest are foreigners who will be engaged in the SP Games 2023 facility preparations and diplomatic officials of the Peoples Republic of China recently established embassy office here.
So far, more than 800 nationals and dozens of foreign nationals (exempted for essential service support) have entered the country since the first declared State of Public Emergency on March 24th.
To this date, the country’s Solomon Airlines has conducted a total of 8 repatriation flights to neighboring Pacific Island countries, the statement said.
Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) continues to lead the Government’s multi-sectoral approach to stem COVID-19 infiltration on our shores.
All government agencies and stakeholders are providing the required support through the National Disaster Operations Committee (N-DOC) and Provincial Disaster Operations Committee (P-DOC) Sectors.
N-DOC Camp Management Sector Committee maintains and continues to manage all the government-approved QS’s in Honiara and Western Province.
The Solomon Islands remains COVID-19 FREE to date. The Government remains committed to implementing strict measures to prevent the importation and potential spread of COVID-19 within its borders.
Meanwhile, the NDC arrangement remains the country’s response coordination mechanism for the COVID-19 pandemic.