Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has confirmed that six students from the Solomon Islands studying in the Philippines have tested positive for COVID-19.

Prime Minister Sogavare made the confirmation during his weekly address to the nation today.

Sogavare said that as part of established protocols, tests were carried out for all those students that will be repatriated on charter flights organized by the government and operated by the Solomon Airlines.

The Prime Minister said that Solomon Islands was fortunate in that the Philippines Red Cross offered to conduct all the tests, with the first 130 students, scheduled to travel on the first repatriation flight on the 27th of September 2020, being tested last week.

Sogavare says the Government’s Oversight Committee was updated of the results Friday last week and based on the test results six students were tested positive for COVID-19.

An emergency meeting was held by the Oversight Committee to address the plight of the six positive students, and, prior to informing their parents, spoke to each one of of the six students.

Sogavare says that the Philippines Ministry of Health will be conducting contact tracing for these six students. They have also advised those that may have come into contact with these six students to remain in self-isolation and to report to authorities if they experience symptoms.

There are currently 373 students and 12 dependents located at various tertiary institutions in the Philippines.

To date 258,000 + cases have been recorded in Philippines, with 4,292 deaths and 187,166 recorded as having recovered from the virus.

Metro Manila is currently the epicenter, with 232,072 infections and 3,737 deaths.