The country has recorded a further seven new cases of covid-19 bringing the total to 32 since the pandemic began in late 2019.
The seven new cases included six people from the remote island of Pelau in the Malaita Outer Islands and a foreign national arriving from the Brisbane flight on Friday 17.
The six Pelau cases have sparked fears of community transmission following the illegal entry of 10 people from Tasman Island on the PNG side of the border.
The Government is deploying health workers and resources to manage the situation in Pelau to avoid widespread community transmission on the Island.
“Today I stand here with a heavy heart to inform you all that our molecular laboratory has just diagnosed a further 7 cases of COVID-19. This brings the total number of confirmed COVID-19 infections ever recorded in Solomon Islands to 32,” Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare announced this morning.
Sogavare said the Pelau cases have risked community transmission in Ontong Java, most definitely in Pelau village, but in all probability, it may have already reached Luaniua.
According to contact tracing information, the index case that brought the infection to Pelau village is a medical doctor from PNG who hails from Tasman Islands and has traditional ties with the people of Pelau.
This doctor with nine other people including members of his family crossed the border from Tasman to Pelau on 9 January 2021.
“It is very disturbing that such a highly qualified person, a medical doctor blatantly disregarded our laws, breached our COVID-19 regulations, and crossed our border illegally,” Sogavare said.
The Government focus now is on managing Community transmission of COVID-19 in Pelau and the rest of Ontong Java.
Sogavare warned that individuals who crossed the border illegally and those that sheltered them in contravention of government advice in Pelau will be investigated at the appropriate time.
With confirmation of the community transmission of COVID-19 in Ontong Java, the government is deploying a team of 31 people in its first response to Ontong Java comprising 20 health personnel, 6 NDMO staff and 5 additional police officers on Wednesday 19 January 2022.