PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare said that Solomon Islands have only 5 positive cases of COVID-19 within its isolation centres as of Tuesday 8 December 2020.
In his nation-wide address on Wednesday, Sogavare said that only 5 still remain positive out of the 17 diagnosed cases.
“This means that 12 have already been tested negative and accordingly graduated,” he said.
The PM said with that result, the Cabinet had approved further repatriation of our citizens throughout December 2020 and January 2021.
He said between Sunday 6 and Saturday 12 December 2020, there would have been 4 repatriation flights bringing in a total of about 521 nationals.
“On Sunday 6 December, 141 people came in from Brisbane and Auckland, on Monday 7 December, 127 students came in from Vanuatu, Samoa, and Fiji,” he said.
He said another 133 people should also be arriving from Manila last night.
Sogavare added further 120 students are also expected to arrive from PNG including about 39 from Manila this Saturday 12 December.
“In addition, we brought in 16 foreign nationals on 4 December and a further 16 will be allowed to come in on 11 December. We also have 4 Solomon Island crew members in quarantine,” he said.
“Fellow citizens, by this Saturday, 12 December, we will have a total of approximately 557 people in our government approved quarantine stations in Honiara,” he said.
He said this number of people puts a lot of pressure on other areas in our health response to COVID-19.
“For instance, we expect our public health surveillance teams to collect 736 swabs during the next 7 days.
“The Molecular laboratory is expected to analyze these swabs to inform us of the COVID-19 status of each swab in the next 7 days.
“We anticipate the same workload on swabs and laboratory analysis the following week,” he added.
Sogavare said after 12 December, the government will not undertake any further repatriation flights until 29 and 30 December 2020.
He said that will then allow time for two flights to bring our graduating students from Fiji.
He added the 3rd repatriation flight to Fiji will be on 9 January 2021.
“We will also have another repatriation flight from Brisbane and Auckland on 17 January 2020,” he said.
The PM said the timing of these flights is aligned to the availability of quarantine beds at the approved quarantine stations.
By IAN M.KAUKUI