BY JARED KOLI
Ten Solomon Islands students in Fiji have reportedly tested positive for covid-19 as the country grapples with an escalating number of cases of the virus.
Two students tested positive from two separate tests conducted last week, and eight others were confirmed positive after another test was conducted on Saturday.
The 10 are studying at the University of the South Pacific (USP) and are currently quarantined at home in their rented home in Nasese, just close to USP’s Laucala campus, together with 16 other students from Fiji and Vanuatu who are also positive.
“The worse thing is we are crowded and we also share the same facilities like shower and toilet rooms,” one brave insider said.
He said some begin to experience symptoms of the virus and have tried out some home remedies to see if that could help.
“At the moment we just stayed home and see what help we can receive from home in Solomon Islands and the Ministry of Health here in Fiji,” the student, who requested anonymity, told Island Sun from Suva yesterday.
The student said they are surprised that the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD) and Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) said they are not aware of their situation, as the Education Attache in Suva has been informed of it.
“At first when the two students were tested positive, they should relocate the eight of us elsewhere so that we could prevent from being infected. They told us but did nothing, at the moment the 26 of us here all tested positive,” the student said.
MEHRD and MHMS when reached on this issue this week could not confirm the situation these students were faced with.
National Scholarship Division (NSD) Director Curtis Kalu said they did not receive any specific names on the students who were reported to have contracted the virus.
MHMS senior advisor Dr Yogesh Choudhri said they will issue a joint statement on the issue with the students.
“Lot of support is being given by the MEHRD and I am waiting for their component before we issue a joint statement,” he told this newspaper.
Covid-19 positive cases in Fiji surge daily and yesterday reached 431 and two deaths in the 24-hour reporting period that ended at 8am yesterday morning.
Meanwhile, another Solomon Islands USP student residing in Suva said they are next-door neighbours of covid-19 positive cases.
“The real situation here is totally different, at the moment health facilities started to exhausted and all these positive cases are quarantined at home, hospitals is only for severe cases.
“What is needed here now is for our government to talk out on what is the emergency plan or prepared plans in place to deal with the situation we are currently facing here, most of the cases here are now community transmission,” the student said.
Island Sun understands that a dedicated multi-sectoral taskforce was formed to monitor the daily updates of the on-going transmissions of covid-19 and the measures taken in Fiji.
The multi-sectoral taskforce comprises of MEHRD, MHMS, Solomon Islands Tertiary Education and Skills Authority, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade. They have been meeting on a weekly basis to monitor the daily updates of the on-going transmissions of covid-19 and the measures taken in Fiji.
However, the student in Suva questions the weekly meetings held by the multi-sectoral taskforce.
“They send us an advisory telling us they are committed to ensuring that we all are safe and that our welfare is maintained. Is this some kind of joke?” he questions.
The student said now most of the cases are transmitted locally, exacerbated by the Delta variant which is the most dangerous covid-19 strain.
Yesterday MEHRD Permanent Secretary Dr Franco Rodie in an email to students confirmed that a repatriation flight for students that will be travelling back home has been set for July 31.
Mr Rodie urged all students who will be travelling to be vaccinated before they travel back to Solomon Islands.
“One of the key requirements is for students coming on 31 July to have their Covid-19 vaccine. So inform all students coming on the flight to be vaccinated before they travel. Any student who fails to vaccinate against Covid-19 will not be allowed to travel,” cited the email