The COVID-19 isolation ward, formally the multipurpose hall, is near full capacity as more positive cases are being recorded since the outbreak.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare confirmed that 48 positive cases have been recorded so far, but expects the numbers to increase as more tests are being conducted.

He says the isolation ward already has 50 patients, and will soon reach full capacity, which is 56 beds at any one time.

Sogavare says because of this it seems likely that any other positive cases will be asked to self-isolate at home.

He says the national referral hospital has already recorded positive cases so it is unsafe to expose them further by bringing positive patients to the hospital – the potential for the hospital to be a super spreader must be avoided.

The Prime Minister says as more tests are being conducted it is important for the public to get vaccinated, and advice on when and where this will be possible will be announced in the coming days.

He says people must also adopt and implement COVID-19 safety measures and to limit movement – the use of facemask, hand sanitizer and social distancing must be adhered to when it is time to get vaccinated.