Half of 31-man soccer delegation held back for further processing
BY PETER ZOLEVEKE II
TWO Solomon Islanders have tested positive for covid-19 in the United Kingdom (UK).
They are part of the local 31-member Royals Academy delegation who had playing short stints with English low-tier football clubs this year, and were preparing to make their way back home.
Due to having tested positive, the two players are being held back in the UK for quarantine and further processing, along with a number of other Royals Academy players who had been in contact with them.
Only about half of their 31-man delegation have been cleared to return. They arrived in last night’s repatriation flight.
This was revealed by the Secretary to Prime Minister, Dr Jimmie Rodgers yesterday during a talkback show on the national radio broadcaster, SIBC.
The footballers are returning following a one-year ‘train and play’ stint with the Stars Football Academy and 9th-tier English league clubs.
Mr Rodgers said the two players tested positive for covid-19 during a pre-departure testing process and as a result half of the delegation were held back and will be further processed before being allowed passage home.
“31 footballers are due to return, unfortunately only half of them will return simply because when we do pre-departure testing two of our footballers in UK test positive on covid on their last test,” Rodgers said.
“Therefore the two, plus those who came in close contact were held back to make sure they will get negative status. They will go through other pre departure testing process and we will schedule their return.
“However, on this flight some of the footballers still come and their what we are doing yesterday evening on arrival is those we considered coming from very high-risk countries we will conduct swabbing at the airport and students we will ask them to wait three hours results come and we will shift them to quarantine facilities,” he adds.
This brings the latest update as six Solomon Islanders testing positive for covid-19 outside of the country; two in the UK and four in the Philippines.
The returning players transited in Auckland before hopping on the repatriation flight which touched down in Honiara last night.