Around 200 defence and police personnel deployed in Honiara to assist with restoration of law and order have successfully completed their 10 and 14 days period of health monitoring with all COVID-19 test results returning negative.

They include majority from the Australian contingent and all those from Fiji and Papua New Guinea, all of whom arrived last month.

“This means they can now operate with local police force including the public and will no longer need to operate in their own bubbles, as health can now assure that they no longer pose any risk of COVID-19 to the community.

"Each one of those who have been cleared underwent 5 to 7 COVID-19 tests and were tested negative all the time before being cleared free from COVID-19,” the Health Ministry said in a prepared statement.

“Nevertheless, they are still being advised to implement public health measures such as wearing of masks in settings that are appropriate, hand hygiene, social distancing and operating in a separate bubble from those still to be cleared.”

The Health Ministry says with close health monitoring and COVID-19 tests the remaining group should be free to operate outside of their bubble later this week and over the weekend.

They include the contingent from New Zealand, some of Australia’s Defence Personnel and officials from the Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) who arrived early this month. They are currently operating in their own bubbles and not mixing with those who have been cleared.

“The urgent deployment of personnel to curb disorder in Honiara generated significant level of public concerns, and therefore health would like to assure that to date there has not been any COVID-19 positive case detected amongst the defence and police personnel including their officials.

“Despite this blessing, health is reminding the public to not take it for granted. COVID-19 threat of entry and community transmission remains a concern for health. As such, it is urging all who are eligible for COVID-19 vaccine, 18 years and above, especially women and girls across the country to get vaccinated.”

The Health Ministry says to date, 71,400 people are fully vaccinated with 46 percent with first dose. Based on vaccines administered so far, 54 percent of eligible persons vaccinated against COVID-19 are male and 46 percent female.

Source: MHMS