BY MAVIS NISHIMURA PODOKOLO
A repatriation flight carrying passengers who had come from high-risk covid-affected countries arrived last night in Honiara.
These countries include; the UK, Italy and France.
This flight comes amid Solomon Islands government passing newly approved immediate response measures that say all international repatriation are temporarily suspended.
Frontliners carried out immediate tests upon arrival last night. All passengers are to be tested within 48 hours of arrival.
Secretary to Prime Minister and member of the Over Sight Committee Dr Jimmie Rodgers, in a radio talkback show yesterday, says this particular flight brings home a mixture of high-risk profiles – meaning some of the passengers have come from countries that are recording increasing numbers of daily covid-19 cases.
“Now there a is a flight arriving tonight (last night) and on that flight we will be having some mix of high-risk profiles coming in these flights.
“Some of those who are coming are Solomon Islands students studying overseas, half of our 31 footballers in UK simply because two of our footballers in UK test positive on covid therefore those two plus their contacts we hold them back to make sure they will get negative status they will go through other pre departure testing process and we will schedule their returned,” said Rodgers.
He said upon arrival, frontliners from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services and their partner ministries identified those who came from high-risk countries and immediately conducted swabbing at the airport whilst students were asked to wait three hours for the result to be processed before they were lifted to the Institutional Quarantine Facilities (IQFs).
“It is an important precaution because if we catch anyone positive he/she should not go to where other students are in, we then isolate from there,” said Rodgers.
He said in terms of swabbing not everyone was swabbed last night; only those who flew in from very high-risk countries. However, everyone will be swabbed in the first 48 hours.
Rodgers said camp management worked very hard yesterday to prepare all spaces where these repatriated people will go to, this is to ensure when they arrive management knows exactly where to take who to.
He adds, in last night’s repatriation flight Solomon Islands nationals have been repatriated from Italy, France, Geneva and United Kingdom.
Special Secretary to Prime Minister Albert Kabui said more update about the repatriation flight arrived last night will be detailed by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in his national address
“Hence if anything arises on that flight the public will be updated today,” said Kabui.
According to global covid-19 statistics, the UK is seeing a serious second wave of covid-19, having registered more than 23,000 covid-19 daily cases over the weekend. Their number of cases per day is increasing. UK has more than 854,000 cases and more than 44,000 deaths.
France recorded more than 45,000 new cases on Saturday, October 24 alone. It is also one of the countries facing a severe second wave of covid-19 infections. The number of cases is approaching the 1.1 million mark with more than 34,000 deaths.
Italy recorded more than 19,000 new cases on Saturday, Oct 24. More than 500,000 cases have been recorded with fatalities passing 37,000.