The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) received a report on alleged presence of three expatriates at the Yacht Club on June 19, 2020, who entered Solomon Islands in contravention to the Orders prohibiting the entry of Yachts into Solomon Islands.

The MHMS in collaboration with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF), Customs, National Disaster Council, and Oversight Committee initially detained the three expatriates on board their yacht that night for not observing maritime rules and regulations upon arrival in country.

MHMS launched an investigation to address the risk and likelihood of importation of COVID-19 in Solomon Islands.

The three expatriates allegedly left New Caledonia 9 days ago. New Caledonia has reported a total of 21 cases of COVID-19, the last case being reported on June 10, 2020. The three males assessed and escorted to NRH where they underwent COVID-19 testing and have been tested negative for COVID-19.

They are now being retained at NRH Isolation for further assessment and will be taken to the quarantine station at Honiara Hotel to undergo quarantine for 14 days. MHMS surveillance team will closely monitor them for any signs of COVID-19 on daily basis while in quarantine and carry out periodic risk assessment.

The swift collaborative response by key partner ministries undertaken last night, is to ensure that the country remains COVID-19 free and demonstrates the Government’s seriousness and heighted state of alert to combat COVID–19. Public health measures which included restricting movement, in and out of yacht club and in the vicinity, and collection of contacts and information on site were all necessary for precautionary measures.

The MHMS wishes to acknowledge the cooperation effort of the Point Cruz Yacht Club Management and its patrons together with the enforcement agencies including RSIPF and Customs who undertook their work. Considering that the three persons have been tested negative for COVID-19, the risk to those who were present at Yacht Club last night and the citizens of Solomon Islands remains EXTREMELY LOW.

There is no need to panic and the people who were present at the Yacht Club last evening were advised to perform their normal duties. There was no need to self-quarantine unless advised by health authorities but as a measure of extra vigil, if anyone has been at the Yacht Club after 3PM on June 19, persons are advised to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 and to report immediately to the MHMS at toll free line 115 if development of COVID-19 symptoms including fever, dry cough and sore throat. If any person was present at the yacht Club on 19 June, you will also be contacted by the MHMS to further ascertain your risk and provide information on COVID-19.

MHMS would like to inform that this particular case is a reminder that everyone must remain vigilant and in a heightened state of alertness as the virus can potentially find its way into the country in the most unexpected ways.

The MHMS urges everyone to continue practice COVID-19 preventive measures of frequent hand washing with soap or hand sanitizer, maintain social distancing of at least 2 meter and coughing or sneezing into bent elbows and basic good hygiene. IF you are visiting nightclubs, it is important to practice these measures and follow the guidance provided by the club management and the MHMS.

MHMS would like to acknowledge the combined efforts of relevant Government agencies in the operation last night from various government agencies in ensuring that the situation was addressed to minimize the risk of importation of COVID-19. This is a clear testament of what all parties and partners can do together in our fight against COVID-19.

Press Release: MHMS