BY BEN BILUA
A crew of a foreign ship has tested positive for covid-19 in Gizo, Western province.
Western province’s Covid-19 Response team announced the positive case yesterday following a series of tests carried out on a number of incoming ships.
The patient is a crew of an international cargo ship which has been under quarantine outside Gizo since its arrival in the province last week.
He is among eight crews and his test came back positive after the third and final test.
Speaking during a meeting yesterday, Chairperson of Western Province Response Team, Jeffrey Wickham said the response team has activated its Response Plan in an effort to contain the virus from transmission.
“The crew are now under strict quarantine supervision in the ship and our frontline workers who have been doing the testing are under quarantine.
“Our front-line workers have followed required procedures during the testing. Furthermore, they have all been vaccinated and this we believe gives us a leverage that we can contain the virus on the ship,” he said.
Wickham said all the frontline workers including their families will be quarantined at Gizo Hotel Quarantine Facility and the hospital isolation site.
He said the patient is a crew of a cargo ship called MV Vimaru Pearl which left the Philippines and Vietnam – two countries listed as high risk in the world on June 27.
“The ship left Philippines and headed to Vietnam where it’s picked up the crews. Prior to their departure in Vietnam, the crew underwent two tests which came back negative.
“Upon arrival in Western Province, the ship underwent 21 days quarantine and testing,” Wickham said.
He said the first on July 5 and second test on July 13 all came back negative; however, the third and final test came back positive.
Wickham calls on the public to stay calm, listen to responsible authorities and follow instructions.
He urges people to stop spreading rumours that would cause panic for the general public.
This finding may mean that Solomon Islands loses its covid-free status after having enjoyed it for more than three months.
More updates will follow tomorrow.