Red flagged

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-Four passengers from Sunday night’s high-risk repa-flight in isolation awaiting test result

-Government brings in tarmac testing to boost covid-19 detection measures


FOUR passengers from Sunday night’s high-risk repatriation flight have been red-flagged and are being kept and monitored in isolation units.

These four are from the 22 passengers who were identified as having come from high-risk countries.

Government, in a press statement yesterday, reassures that the red-flag is a precautionary measure.

Contact tracing is also underway to ascertain who had been exposed to these four before and during flight.

Meanwhile, government has introduced ‘tarmac testing’ of identified passengers as an added means of detecting any possible covid-19 entry immediately upon flight arrival. This new measure complements government’s mandatory requirement that all passengers and crew are tested within 48 hours of arrival.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in his national address yesterday said 136 passengers came in the flight, 22 of whom were picked and swabbed upon arrival. The rest had reportedly come from low-risk countries.

The flight had picked up the passengers in Auckland, New Zealand. Some of the passengers had transited there after flying in from high-risk countries such as the UK, France and Italy.

PM Sogavare said, “Four passengers of the 22 who were swabbed raised concerns and were red flagged.

“They have been tested and currently being monitored while awaiting results. These four are being kept in isolation as a precaution.

“We have decided to step up and do tarmac testing upon arrival to better manage passengers arriving from high risk countries, which was why our health authorities did tarmac testing.

“The remaining passengers will be tested within 48 hours in accordance to the normal testing protocols.

“Contact tracing is now being done to determine who came into contact with these four cases before boarding and during the flight as well.

“These are precautionary measures that we are undertaking as per standard operating procedures and protocols.

“Let me assure you all that our officials are working around the clock to keep us safe. Let us pray for them as they continue to serve and protect our people.”

A media statement from the PM Press Secretariat yesterday said the flight had brought home passengers who had travelled from Italy, France, England, Switzerland, Japan, South Korea, Samoa, Australia and New Zealand.