The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) would like to issue stern warning to every people and communities across the country, more especially those in Makira-Ulawa province Malaita, Isabel, Western, Choiseul and Guadalcanal Province.
This statement is made in light of an unauthorized and illegal entry of a yacht vessel named VIVRE sighted in Makira yesterday and today around Southern part of Malaita.
Based on constant monitoring and updates from the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF), Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) vessel monitoring system and the Solomon Islands Maritime Authority (SIMA), the vessel had been to high risk countries for COVID-19 in the region including Fiji and Tahiti before coming to Solomon Islands.
While police and Solomon Islands Maritime Authority investigations into the matter is ongoing, health is gravely concerned that such an entry poses a real serious threat of COVID-19 entry that potentially can spark the worst case scenario which we have all along struggled to prevent, and so far with success, a community transmission of COVID-19.
This scenario can only be avoided if no one approaches the vessel, make any physical contact with its passengers and prohibit any of the yacht passengers and crew members to disembark to their communities.
Health is reaching out to its provincial health counterparts to quickly disseminate this message to communities in their respective provinces and we kindly request any one receiving this to also pass on the messages to their families, relatives, friends in the provinces.
The Ministry is also aware and very concerned about current practices of locals approaching foreign maritime vessels to trade or engage in exchange of goods and services and health is strongly appealing to those who continue to engage in such practices to STOP!
Think about your children, your families, your communities and our country. As reiterated many a times, it only takes one COVID-19 infected person to enter into the country undetected and unmanaged to spark a community transmission.
Therefore, it is of utmost importance that together as one country and family that we work together with the current situation of VIVRE Yacht roaming around our waters to adhere to these health warnings so that we continue to protect our country as COVID-19 entry and community transmission.
There is currently in place total suspension of pleasure crafts such as yachts in entering the country and therefore it is our duty to uphold measures that we set in place to protect ourselves from COVID-19.