The number of positive COVID-19 cases has surged to 120 over a 24-hour reporting period. The total since community testing begun 5 days ago is 264. The grand total including those caught in quarantine is 289.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare revealed this during his nationwide address this evening.

He says of concern is the fact that to date 44% of swabs conducted and tested have returned positive, which is a worrying trend and one that the public must take seriously.

The Prime Minister says going forward, particularly with such infection rates, and the limited level of testing conducted so far, it is possible to reach up to 500 cases per day.

He says 50 staff at the National Referral Hospital (NRH) have tested positive and therefore the NRH is closed off to the public.

The Prime Minister says there is now widespread community transmission recorded in the following locations:

1. Abira
2. Borderline
3. Burns Creek
4. Fijian Quarter
5. Point Cruz
6. Gilbert Camp
7. Ranadi
8. Jackson Ridge
9. Lau Valley
10. Lord Howe Settlement
11. Mamulele
12. Mbaranaba
13. Mbokona
14. Mbokonavera / Mbokonavera 3
15. Mbua Valley
16. Naha Heights / Naha 3
17. Ngossi
18. Rove
19. Sisiga
20. Talise
21. Tasahe / Tasahe B
22. Vura / Vura 3
23. West Kola
24. White Rive
25. Zion
26. Good Samaritan Hospital catchment area
27. Ontong Java
28. Auki

He says what this shows is the virus has already covered the whole of Honiara and has also gone outside the Honiara area to the GPPOL and CDC area.

New measures have been announced, where only fully vaccinated individuals will be allowed into shops, offices and banks. People are now advised to carry their vaccination cards and photo IDs for verification.

He says only shops where the owner and workers are fully vaccinated will be allowed to open. Those that fail to comply will be shut down.