Simple as it may seem, it is not, COVID-19 test results, especially if initial test is positive, has to undergo a verification process as per the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), the Ministry of Health said in a prepared statement.

"This verification process includes confirmatory test and analysis and interpretation by medical experts of the test results as initial results may not be clear and the machine can produce results labelled as positive.

"In the case of the pre-departure COVID-19 positive test result reported by Solomon Star today (30 December 2021), a confirmatory test was conducted using qPCR COVID-19 testing machine and the result returned negative," the statement said.

"Other important considerations and analysis were also made by our team of medical experts to reach the decision that the individual is cleared of COVID-19 and does not pose any risk to the public.

"The reliability of the testing protocol can be clearly seen to date that we have not seen an influx of people at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) Emergency Department, sick with flu-like illness and tested positive for COVID-19.

"This would have been the case if the individual was truly positive for COVID-19. In other words, our experts have accurately interpreted the test results hence no advise for lockdown or announcement of a possible community transmission.

"All analysis of COVID-19 pre-departure test results to date have been negative, obviously," the statement from the Health Ministry said.

The Health Ministry says that while they appreciate Solomon Star’s request for health’s response on the matter, it is irresponsible on the part of the publisher to authorize publication of such media articles without waiting for their response.

"Health will always respond to any matters raised in the media and from the public however requires time to collect all relevant information to ensure a complete response with adequate explanation, let alone the management of the four (4) COVID-19 active cases in Isolation at the moment.

"A delayed story carrying the truth is better than a timely news piece that is not verified with relevant authorities," the statement concluded.

Source: MHMS Press Release