Cabinet to Review and Defer Repatriation Flights

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Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.

BY ALEX DADAMU

The Cabinet has agreed to review and defer repatriation flights to focus attention on managing the current situation with decisions on re-scheduling of future flights to be taken later this week.

This was according to Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in his weekly updates on COVID-19 today Monday October 5.

Earlier on today, Opposition Leader Hon. Matthew Wale called on the government to urgently review its Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the repatriation of the remaining students in the Philippines.

The opposition Leader said It is clear that this single case eluded detection in the Philippines because either there is a loophole in the SOPs for quarantine, tests, and pre-boarding requirements or that there was mismanagement or negligence in the enforcement of SOPs. He added that this is simply inexcusable.

“He said there is need to urgently pinpoint where the weakness is and fix it,” Hon. Wale said.

However, Prime Minister Sogavare in his address today stated that after the first COVID-19 positive result was confirmed in the early morning hours of Saturday 3rd October 2020, he immediately called Cabinet for an urgent meeting. This was to inform all Cabinet ministers and to decide on the way going forward.

“Cabinet met and directed the Oversight Committee to implement all measures to ensure the COVID-19 infection does not go beyond the quarantine stations and isolation facilities. Cabinet also note that there will be no general lock downs until further notice.

“Cabinet also directed the Attorney General to make appropriate amendments to the Emergency Regulations to address some gaps identified through the diagnosis of the first positive case.

Furthermore, PM Sogavare said Cabinet also agreed to review and defer repatriation flights to focus attention on managing the current situation with decisions on re-scheduling of future flights to be taken later this week.

Meanwhile According to the Prime Minister, Cabinet met again on Sunday 4th October 2020 and was briefed on the interim report of the situation, which was prepared by the Public Health Emergency and Surveillance Unit (PHESU).

“Cabinet then directed the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to immediately implement the recommendation by the Public Health Emergency and Surveillance Unit,” he said.

According to Prime Minister Sogavare these recommendation are: –

a. COVID-19 testing for all repatriation team staff and Solomon Airlines ground crew;
b. MHMS will undertake fortnightly COVID-19 testing of daily monitoring teams;
c. MHMS will undertake Fortnightly COVID-19 testing of for all health workers engaged in routine COVID-19 testing of quarantined persons;
d. Notify the Philippine Red Cross of positive case ;
e. Notify WHO of positive case; and
f. Notify Solomon Airline to follow-up with pilots and air crew from repatriation flight on September 29th to ensure no direct contact with positive case and that IPC/PPE procedures, social distancing procedures were followed.