Nearly200 defence and police personnel cleared for COVID-19 infection

Around 200 defence and police personnel deployed to Honiara to assist with restoration of law and order in Honiara following the recent unrest, have successfully completed their 10 and 14 days period of health monitoring with all COVID-19 tests results, negative. 

They include majority from the Australian contingent and all those from Fiji and Papua New Guinea, all of whom arrived last month. 

This means they can now operate with local police force including the public and will no longer need to operate in their own bubbles, as health can now assure that they no longer pose any risk of COVID-19 to the community. Each one of those who have been cleared underwent 5 to 7 COVID-19 tests and were tested negative all the time before being cleared free from COVID-19.

Nevertheless, they are still being advised to implement public health measures such as wearing of masks in settings that are appropriate, hand hygiene, social distancing and operating in a separate bubble from those still to be cleared. 

With close health monitoring and COVID-19 tests, the remaining group should be free to operate outside of their bubble later this week and over the weekend. 

They include the contingent from New Zealand, some of Australia’s Defence Personnel and officials from the Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) who arrived early this month and they are operating in their own bubbles and not mixing up with those who have been cleared.. 

The urgent deployment of personnel to curb disorder in Honiara generated significant level of public concerns, and therefore health would like to assure that to date there has not been any COVID-19 positive case detected amongst the defence and police personnel including their officials. 

Despite this blessing, health is reminding the public to not take it for granted. COVID-19 threat of entry and community transmission remains a concern for health. As such, it is urging all who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine, 18 years and above, especially women and girls across the country to get vaccinated.

 To date, 71,400 people are fully vaccinated with 46 percent with first dose. Based on vaccines administered so far, 54 percent of vaccine eligible persons vaccinated against COVID-19 are males and 46 percent females. 

2nd dose roll out for all provinces have commenced with most of the provinces now approaching 60 percent coverage of first dose. 

Let us not wait for the virus to enter and spread in the community before we run to get vaccinated. This has been the case with many countries around world and as we have seen in global news of people asking for the vaccines when health workers can only tell them that it is already too late.