By FOLLET JOHN
FOUR more additional COVID cases involving our local students studying in Philippines has been confirmed.
This now brings 18 students who have now contracted the virus so far.
Its understood some of students underwent testing over the weekend. The number of cases stood at 14 as of last week.
The latest number was announced by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare during his nation-wide address yesterday.
“We have now a total of 18 confirmed cases of our students and children who tested positive for covid-19,” he said.
However, the PM stated that they were all well and symptomatic which means they are not sick.
“They are all been isolated in accordance within the protocol,” Mr. Sogavare said.
Mr. Sogavare has assured the country that all front liners lead by the health authority is well prepared following their mock exercise last week.
“Their exercise has tested our extended operating procedure even a positive COVID-19 case is detected in one of the quarantine station.
“Philippines is regarded as a high risk country and it is critical to sure should there be any possible entry of the virus it can be effectively and safely contain with minimal risk of spreading.”
Mr. Sogavare also said the exercise also provided opportunities to identify areas for improvement from detection of Covid-19.
“As the result of the exercise the national health emergency operation is preparing its operation in timely call out procedure effective and safe workflow, information management, communication and transportation.”
He said the national health emergency operation centre, last week also completed training for staff at the hotels that are providing quarantine services to the government and infection and prevention control personal protective equipment measures.
“The transport drivers, securities and supportive staff at the Honiara Referral Hospital also underwent training that will continue this week and next week,” he added.
Meanwhile, the first group of students will arrive on the first repatriation flight from the Philippines this afternoon at 5pm, a statement from National Disaster Council (NDC) said yesterday.
The Solomon Airlines Airbus A320 left Honiara 10 am yesterday, made brief stop-over at Biak Airport in Indonesia and then to Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Manila.
The airbus follows the same route for the return trip.
The statement NDC said that prior to boarding, all returning student have completed 3 sets of COVID-19 tests which were sent to SIG-Oversight Steering Committee (OSC) COVID-19 response and the Ministry of Health for approval.
Philippines is “high risk” for COVID-19 infections.
The change in the flight schedules was needed to give ample time for our health officials and the taskforce established by the OSC to liaise with Philippines Red Cross to coordinate changes to the passenger list for the first flight.
Timing for the second and third flights will be confirmed by the Oversight Steering Committee in due course, the statement said.
The returning students will be accommodated at government managed Quarantine Stations (QS) at Guadalcanal Beach Resort and Chengs Building both located in East Honiara.
At the moment, only 36 persons are undergoing quarantine at the government-managed QS’s.
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, the statement concluded.