Solomon Islands Ministry of Health and Medical Services has downplayed rumours circulating in the social media that three COVID-19 positive persons boarded the Fiji-Solomon Islands repatriation flight on Thursday, 28 October 2021.
A statement from the Ministry confirmed, COVID-19 tests were done for all passengers listed to travel on the flight and results for all returned negative except for three persons.
Of the three, two were confirmed positive while one is inconclusive which is neither positive nor negative and usually in such cases, COVID-19 retesting is done.
Two of the positive cases were children of the same family and were not vaccinated as they are below 18 years of age.
As such the two children together with their family were denied boarding the flight.
The other one which is inconclusive and a roommate who was in close contact were also denied boarding the flight.
Under the current precautionary measures, all inconclusive test results are treated as positive.
The statement said of the 132 passengers who boarded the flight, none of them tested positive for COVID-19 as opposed to the rumours.
107 of them were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with the remaining 25 passengers under the age of 18 years.
All have generated negative test results for COVID-19 which is key criteria for all incoming travellers and have been practicing COVID-19 key preventative measures days before boarding.
As per the policy of Solomon Islands, no one who is tested positive for COVID can board a flight to Solomon Islands.
The Ministry maintains enforcing strict repatriation protocol, procedures and standards and therefore any person not adhering or having breached the regulations or did not meet the criteria under the repatriation protocol will not be allowed to board flights.
Meanwhile, the Ministry is also aware of the unvaccinated population below 18 years’ old who are on this flight, but there are already existing mechanisms to address such a situation.
The Ministry would like to remind everyone to get vaccinated to protect the country as the risk of importing COVID-19 remains.