Thirteen out of fourteen crew members of a cargo vessel that passed through Honiara have tested positive for COVID-19 on arrival in Nauru.

Minister of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) Dr Culwick Togamana confirmed the news through an emergency national address on radio, and livestreamed on Facebook, just after 9.40pm local time.

Dr Culwick said contact tracing was conducted for all frontliners that may have been exposed shortly after the news was received yesterday. He said they were identified, put in quarantine and were tested for COVID-19 today afternoon.

He said the results of the COVID-19 tests were released just after 8pm today, and, to his relief, all frontliners tested returned negative.

He said despite the negative test results these frontliners will need to complete their quarantine time and further tests will also be made.

He says as a precaution secondary testing will also be made for those that were in close contact with these frontliners.

Dr Culwick said these frontliners had been vaccinated for COVID-19 and the risks were therefore low.

He says such a scare is a reminder of the need to get vaccinated.

Dr Culwick says we will never know if we will be lucky the next time. He says we should not give the slightest chance for the virus to enter, and getting vaccinated is the most effective way to fight and stop the virus.