By FOLLET JOHN
FIVE more COVID-19 cases involving our local students studying in the Philippines has been recorded this week.
The latest increase included one student currently under quarantine in Honiara and four students in Manila.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in his nation-wide address yesterday announced this.
He said the latest case in Honiara involved a repatriated student currently in quarantine.
This means a total of three cases has been recorded for the country and 22 cases in the Philippines.
PM Sogavare said the positive cases have not come as a surprise as there have been mingling and congregating between the students at the quarantine facilities.
However, Sogavare said the only one additional recorded case in Honiara is a relief as there could have been many more.
“We are therefore relieved that we have only recorded one additional positive case because there could have been more, so we thank our Heavenly Father who is still looking after our nation and our students,” he said.
He further announced that the fourth round of testing for all the repatriated students will happen early next week.
“The result of the upcoming fourth round of testing under our protocol which will take place between day 19 and 21 after arrival in the country which will be between Sunday 18 and Tuesday 27 October will give us better indicator on the status and the likely procession of the Covid-19 section in the country,” he said.
Sogavare said the major constraints faced by the oversight committee and the camp management had been the lack of adequate facility to ensure each student has individual rooms, however, they have now managed to secure some additional facilities.
As of yesterday, he said the health surveillance team is conducting the risk assessment to students there.
Sogavare said students whose risk exposures are considering low risk will be moved to the additional facility to complete their quarantine there.
However, he said Cheng's quarantine station will remain the main quarantine station for many of the students.
He said the announcement of this third COVID positive case of the Covid-19 does not change their assessment that the risk of community transmission is still low.
“Our focus continues on the containment of the virus within Cheng's quarantine station and eliminates it from there.
“If we need to shift some students to other locations it will be done such that there will be no risk of community transmission during the process, and that new location will also under the very tight security and management control,” he said.
However, Sogavare assured the public that the COVID outbreak in the country is contained within the Chengs quarantine station.
“I have been reassured that our students in Cheng's quarantine station are now taking their responsibilities seriously, and I thank the students for this.
“Fellow citizens, it is important for the students and the public to know that if we contain and eliminate the Covid-19 from Chengs quarantine station we will assume our COVID free status again.
“So to all our students, our frontline workers and all of us we have a collective responsibility to work together to ensure the Covid-19 virus does not go beyond the walls of the quarantine station,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr. Sogavare said of the four students who have tested positive to COVID-19 in Manila, one is a female student who was pregnant and recently gave birth.
“Both the mother and baby are in hospital and will be transferred to the Red Cross isolation facility to complete their quarantine,” he said.
He said the other three positive cases are already quarantined at the Red Cross isolation facility in the Philippines.
The government has since suspended all repatriation flights from Manila in light of the increasing number of cases.