Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says crew members of cargo boats cleared to resume cargo runs have tested positive for COVID-19, delaying goods destined for the provinces.

Prime Minister Sogavare gave the update during his nationwide address on the national broadcaster over the weekend.

He says the oversight committee is working closely with the ministry of health to decide on the best strategy to deliver goods to each province.

“The greatest challenge is that of transmitting COVID-19 to provinces if we have COVID-19 infected crew on the vessels, health is considering options to mitigate transmission.

“On my instructions the oversight committee has discussed with our partners including Solomon Airlines and Heli Solomons, looking at the option of airlifting cargo for provincial shops while we address the COVID-19 issue on our cargo vessels,” Prime Minister Sogavare said.

He acknowledged the positive response by the Australian government who have agreed to pay for the charter that will air lift cargo to the provinces.

He says Australia is also exploring the option of deploying an aircraft to the country to assist in airlifting cargos to the provinces.

Various reports reaching Honiara say many in the provinces are facing food shortage, and will need support soon.