5 new cases

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Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare
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Country’s tally reaches 13 as more passengers from high-risk Oct-25 flight test positive to covid-19

BY BARNABAS MANEBONA

SOLOMON Islands has registered five new covid-19 cases.

Four of the new cases are returning soccer players while the fifth is a passenger from Korea.

It is not clear whether the new cases are asymptomatic or symptomatic.

This brings the national tally to 13 cases; four having fully recovered, no longer active; and nine current active status.

All active nine cases are from the high-risk repatriation flight of October 25 from Auckland, New Zealand. Swift government anti-covid measures had led to the detection and red-flagging of four initial cases from that flight and the separate quarantining of other high-risk persons from the rest of the passengers.

Government had earlier warned following the detections that reports of misbehaviour by one of the positive cases during flight had potentially exposed an unknown number of other passengers to the virus, hence more cases would likely be detected.

Thus, yesterday’s announcement by prime minister Manasseh Sogavare does not come as a shock for members of public.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in his nationwide address yesterday said, “My good people, it is with great regret that I once again inform you all that after the second round of testing yesterday [Sunday], we have registered five more new covid-19 cases.

“Four of these cases are our returning soccer players. Thus out of the 16 players who returned from UK a total of [eight] are positive cases. The fifth case is from a passenger from Korea. All [five] new cases have been transferred to the NRH isolation units.

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“These [five] new cases bring our total number of cases from the flight from Auckland on 25th [October] to nine.

“The total number of cases registered in Solomon Islands now is 13, of which the first four that were linked to the Philippines have now become negative.”

Prime Minister Sogavare said the four cases from Philippines that are now negative will be closely monitored and undergo further tests.

“They will be released once they satisfy all the testing protocols,” said the Prime Minister.

The returning soccer players are members of the local soccer academy, Royals Academy, who had been in England since last year training with an English soccer academy, Star, and playing short stints with low-level tier-nine clubs there.

Four of these players tested positive upon arrival here on October 25. One of them was reported to have refused to wear protective face mask while in the plane, and had also reportedly moved around while in flight, giving cause for government to be concerned that he may have exposed an unknown number of other passengers to the virus.

Prime Minister Sogavare, during his national address announcing the four new cases last week, condemned such irresponsible behaviour, connecting it to risking national security.

It is understood that the person will be dealt with by authorities after he is released from quarantine.

Solomon Islands so far has had a remarkable record of 100 percent asymptomatic covid-19 cases. Yesterday’s announcement by government did not disclose whether or not the new five are asymptomatic.

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