Returning footballers from the United Kingdom and some students who arrived from the Philippines this afternoon took the wrath of the Prime Minister’s anger as he blamed them for dishonesty and lying when he announced three more new COVID-19 cases
After eight months of blocking the virus from entering the country, Solomon Islands recorded its first case on 3rd October, just more than a month ago, from returning students from the Philippines. A total of five returning nationals, all students, from the Philippines have been tested positive for COVID-19. As the cases were heading towards the zero mark, the country recorded further increases when five returning footballers were tested positive on a flight from Auckland to Honiara on 25th October. The PM had then expressed his bitter disappointment after learning that one of the footballers refused to wear a mask on the plane even though he was told to do so.
This afternoon Sogavare was again expressing his anger at the footballers and students as he warned that those who lie on their pre-departure forms would be prosecuted once they leave quarantine.
In his weekly address to the nation on his COVID-19 updates, Sogavare announced a further three cases, most are from returning footballers.
He could not hide his fury.
“It is sad that most of the positive cases resulted from dishonesty by our own citizens. They lied in their pre-departure forms. As a result of the behavior of a few of our students they opened our country to this unprecedented increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.
Sogavare said: “My government will hold these people responsible for endangering our people and our country. The government is tightening up its pre-departure assessment form— making that anyone who lies on the form will be prosecuted after their release from quarantine station.
“This government has tried its best in good faith to bring our people back home but our very own people have not returned this good faith.”
He continues: “COVID-19 is not a game unfortunately many of our returning soccer players and some of our returning students from the Philippines seem not to realize the gravity of the situation. By dishonest actions they knowingly endangered our citizens and our country. Their action had increased the cost of our fight against COVID-19 substantially and it also delays the repatriation of the many deserving citizens that are still waiting to return home. This is extremely disappointing.”
When announcing the three new cases, Sogavare said: “I am saddened to inform the nation that we have recorded a further three cases of COVID-19 since my last announcement (last Monday). This now brings to 16 the total number of COVID-19 cases registered in Solomon Islands”.
Sogavare said of the three new cases, one is from the original group from the Philippines.
It brings to five the total number of cases from the Philippines.
However, Sogavare said the good news is the fifth case is now confirmed to be negative.
“This means that all five cases from the Philippines are now negative. The other two cases are footballers that returned from the United Kingdom. This brings to 10 the total number of footballers that have COVID-19, only six of the 16 footballers are still not infected,” he said in his statement.
The PM cautioned that given the nature of the virus “we anticipate more positive among the footballers in the coming days.” “The saving grace is all the footballers are quarantined in a separate quarantine station so they can not infect others.”
“We now have 11 COVID-19 positive cases from the flight that arrived on the 25th of October from Auckland. Ten footballers and one from Korea. All 11 cases are still positive,” he said.