COVID-19

‘Disappointing’: Solomon Islands gets first COVID-19 case imported from PH

Aika Rey
'It pains me to say that we have lost our COVID-19-free status despite our collective efforts to prevent the pandemic from entering our country,' says Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare

A student who was repatriated from the Philippines broke the Solomon Islands’ coronavirus-free status.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare announced Saturday, October 3, that the Oceania country got its first coronavirus case.

“It pains me to say that we have lost our COVID-19-free status despite our collective efforts to prevent the pandemic from entering our country,” said Sogavare.

“This is disappointing, setback to the extraordinary efforts of all officials, personnel, and community stakeholders that have been actively involved in working to prevent COVID-19 from entering Solomon Islands,” he added.

Sogavare said that the student was quarantined and tested negative 3 times before boarding the plane from Manila.

Solomon Islands requires all arriving passengers to be tested within 48 hours. The positive result came back from the first test run.

“The student is not sick with infection. Let us be thankful that the testing picked up the imported positive case,” said Sogavare.

The Solomon Island prime minister said two students that came in contact the positive case were tested as well and the results turned out to be “inconclusive.” All of them, including the positive case, are currently under quarantine.

Sogavare gave assurances that preparedness and response measures were now activated and in full operation.

He added that other contacts of the positive case in Manila were already informed of the news.

“The government is well aware of the risks posed by repatriating our students from the Philippines. We are also aware that keeping our children in the Philippines exposes them to even higher risk. As a responsible government, we cannot close our eyes to the plight of our children and bring them home was the humane thing to do,” Sogavare said.

The Solomon Islands had planned to repatriate its over 400 students who were marooned in the Philippines since Manila closed its borders in March.

With the first COVID-19 case, Solomon Islands’ repatriation was suspended for review. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.