The cargo vessel (MV Cheefo) that the latest COVID 19 case was detected on-board has now come under strict quarantine.

Prime Minister Manasseh in his special nation-wide address today said no one apart from authorised health officials are allowed to board the vessel and no one from the vessel is allowed to disembark.

This followed the latest Covid-19 case detected on MV Cheefo that arrived from Lae, PNG to Honiara over the weekend.

The Prime Minister said the Ministry of Health is working with the vessel’s agent to swab and test all the remaining crewmembers.

“This is a critical requirement to ensure the COVID-19 status of each crew is established and known,” he said.

The Prime Minister said once all the results are known an appropriate plan will be discussed with the shipping agent to be implemented.

Prime Minister Sogavare said the vessel will then be allowed to be cleared to discharge cargo under strict supervision.

“The timing of this will be determined by Health authorities following availability of test results. Any cargo that are disembarked from this vessel cannot be cleared immediately. They will first all be decontaminated before they can be cleared. This may take between 7-10 days before the cargo can be released,” the Prime Minister advised.

The Prime Minister said the Ministry of Health is also working closely with the Comptroller of Customs, other border agencies and the Shipping Agent.

He said this is to achieve the most appropriate and effective outcome for the country and the vessel owner, operator, and shipping agent in the most expeditious manner.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said he has advised the Oversight Committee to assess entry of people to our borders from PNG at this time when there is widespread community transmission of COVID-19 in PNG.

“Given that the last three cases of COVID-19 diagnosed, two from entry by air and one from a vessel all originated from PNG, I have asked the oversight committee to assess the current situation,” he said.

Source: OPMC media