Govt to repatriate nationals when QPCR machine is ready for testing

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This is what a QPCR machine looks like. Photo courtesy: NanoMed Fab.
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By EDDIE OSIFELO

THE Government will start repatriate Solomon Islands nationals living overseas when the quantitative PCR instrument (QPCR) machine is ready to do testing on the coronavirus (COVID-19) samples at National Referral Hospital.

The QPCR is a machine that amplifies and detects DNA.

Chairman of the Oversight Committee James Remobatu said the QPCR machine is already in the country.

Remobatu said the government cannot repatriate any national because the blood samples are currently being tested in Melbourne, Australia, which is a slow and costly exercise.

However, he said with the arrival of the QPCR machine, the government can start repatriating nationals overseas, so they can get tests in Honiara.

Currently the five quarantine sites in Honiara are empty after the 61 nationals having been released to the society over the weekend after they completed their 14-day period.

From the statistic provided by National Disaster Management Office (NDMO), 38 people are living at Guadalcanal Beach Resort; 12 at National Hosting Authority, eight at VIMO Apartments, three at Pacific Casino and none at King George Six national secondary school.

However, KGVI which opened its quarantine site last Saturday after completion of maintenance has the highest number of rooms with 150 and bed capacity of 300.

Remobatu said when the nationals are repatriate, they will go straight to the quarantine sites before discharging to the society.

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He said at least the country has quarantine sites to keep nationals arriving in the country.

“We will do away with the quarantine sites when the coronavirus is over,” he said.

Island Sun understands a number of Solomon Islands nationals are currently stranded in Fiji as a result of cancellation of international flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

High Commissioner in Suva, William Soaki said the High Commission has reached out to the stranded nationals to get their details and liaise closely with relevant authorities in Honiara on arrangements to repatriate them.

Soaki said the High Commission is trying to get their individual visa status to determine the type of assistance that they will need prior to their repatriation.

He said at this stage, there is still no confirmation on any repatriation flight confirm for next week.

“The government’s plan for repatriation is based around key factors in Solomon Islands and also the host country (Fiji).

“Currently, we cannot undertake any repatriation since most of our stranded passengers are residing in the lock-down city of Suva,” he said.      

Soaki said at the moment, the High Commission is working with Honiara to look at options to provide basic support to the passengers while they are still in Fiji.

“As of 9th April, the High Commission starts providing limited humanitarian support in kind to the passengers,” he said.

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