PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare has today announced four new COVID-19 cases in the country.
Speaking during a special address this afternoon, the Prime Minister said all four cases are from our 16 soccer players that had been stranded in the United Kingdom since early this year.
He said all the returning 16 players were seated together in the flight, which minimizes the risk of potential spread to other passengers.
The four were the ones that were red flagged upon arrival from Auckland on Sunday night.
The Prime Minister said all passengers on the flight were also required to wear protective facemasks.
“All four cases are currently in the Isolation units at the NRH. The rest of the soccer players are quarantined together,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare said the remaining travelers from the United Kingdom, France and Italy were also tested last night.
He said all of them have been quarantined in single rooms to minimize any potential spread should any of them become positive.
Prime Minister Sogavare said it is a standard requirement that all passengers must complete their pre-departure tests and truthfully fill a risk assessment questionnaire that is assessed by the health team before passengers are allowed to board.
“All the soccer players were tested negative three times. They each sent their filled questionnaires. However, our contact tracing had already established that not all the questions were answered truthfully,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister said it was also reported to the government that one of the soccer players who was positive refused to wear a mask during the flight from Auckland to Honiara, despite being asked to do so repeatedly.
“We know who that individual is, and both he and the nation, need to know that his selfish actions in the plane had put many more passengers that came in on the flight last night at greater risk of exposure to the virus, and he had put our country in danger,” he said.
The Prime Minister said responsible authorities will deal with the matter after the completion of the mandatory quarantine period.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said the four initial cases from our students from Philippines have since recovered and are now COVID-19 free.
He said they will be released after a further three negative tests after the majority of the students are released between 2nd -4th November 2020.