BY MAVIS NISHIMURA PODOKOLO
THE country has recorded four new cases of covid-19.
This brings the national tally to eight cases in total; four active, four inactive and fully recovered.
All four new cases are asymptomatic, continuing the country’s remarkable record of 100 percent asymptomatic cases.
Early this week, Solomon Islands had a few hours of respite with news of zero active cases after the fourth case was announced with negative covid-19 result. However, public on Monday were alerted to four passengers from the high-risk flight on Sunday night who were red-flagged, pending test results.
Yesterday, prime minister Manasseh Sogavare broke the grim news that the four had tested positive for covid-19.
PM Sogavare, in an earlier address on Monday this week, had said that contact tracing had begun when the four were red-flagged during tarmac testing on Sunday night.
With the help of the newly introduced tarmac testing, potential SARS-CoV-2 carriers can be spotted as soon as they set foot off the plane, allowing authorities to quarantine red-flagged passengers from the rest as mandatory testing continues.
And, with contact tracing underway, other passengers who may have been exposed to the four cases will soon be identified and monitored.
In his special national address yesterday, Mr Sogavare said, “Fellow citizens I very much regret to once again, inform the nation, these four tests had been confirmed positive for covid-19.
“All four cases are from the 16 returning soccer players that had been stranded in the United Kingdom since early this year.
“All the sixteen players were seated together in the flight which minimises the risk of potential spread to other passengers. All passengers on the flight were also required to wear protective face masks.
“All four are in the isolation units at the NRH. The rest of the soccer players are quarantined together,” said Sogavare.
He said the remaining travellers from the UK, France and Italy that had been tested on Monday night are quarantined in single rooms to minimise any potential spread should any of them become positive.
“Despite the four new cases, and the likelihood for some more in the coming days, the planning and execution by our front-liners had given us confidence we have contained the infection to the isolation facility. Any further possible infection will be captured in the quarantine stations and dealt with decisively.
“My good people, your Government remains committed and vigilant in our fight against covid-19. Our determination is stronger than ever. Our resolve has never wavered. Our mission to contain and eliminate covid-19 from our shores is attainable,” said Sogavare.