Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr. Rodgers says the country has recorded six additional confirmed cases from the recent Philippines flight. Three of them are Solomon Islands nationals and the other three are overseas residents.
However, Dr Rodgers explains that these are not new confirmed cases of COVID-19. He says the six have contracted the virus while in the Philippines but have since returned three negative tests prior to their departure last month.
Rodgers says because of this, they are not counted as new confirmed cases.
“We must clarify the reactivation cases. Reactivation means this person has contracted or been exposed to the virus in the past. And then he becomes negative. And then after a while, he becomes positive again, usually after two or three months”, Rodgers says.
He says it is unfortunate that these arrivals were recorded as positive just before they were due to graduate from quarantine.
“This reactivation we picked up from the GeneXpert machine which is very sensitive. It can pick up very low levels of circulating fragments of the virus which the qPCR may not pick up”, Rogers says.
He says the risk for transmission of the virus in the reactivation stage is very low and the public need not panic. All six of the new reactivation cases are being kept in isolation units and not the central field hospital as alluded to by members of the public.
“Everyone of the six are being managed in separate quarantine stations outside of the central field hospital. So, what I want to reassure you here is that there is no special treatment given to any particular group.
“The Solomon Islanders being reactivated we have kept them in an isolation facility that is secure. They are now all negative. If they have three more negative tests, they will be released back into the community. Likewise, for the three non-Solomon Islanders if they have three more negative tests they will be released into the community. But the important thing here is that there is no difference in treatment”, Rodgers says.
He says overseas residents coming into the country are paying for the use of quarantine facilities and the COVID-19 tests.
“Unlike Solomon Islanders in quarantine, these foreign nationals are paying for their own quarantine and tests”, Rodgers says.
The six reactivated cases from the Philippines will only be released after they each have three consecutive negative tests, taken seven days apart.