Solomon Islands, a nation in the South Pacific, recorded its first case of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) after a returning student tested positive for the virus upon arrival from a repatriation flight from the Philippines.
"We now have our first case of Covid-19, the person is a student that came on a repatriation flight from the Philippines. It pains me to say that we have lost our COVID-free status despite our collective efforts to prevent the pandemic from entering our country," Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare announced Saturday.
The student, who was reportedly part of some 400 Solomon Islands nationals repatriated from the Philippines, was quarantined in Manila before he boarded the flight home.
Sogavare said he passed three tests before departure but was tested positive upon arrival. All of the returnees have undergone a retest upon this development.
The SARS-CoV-2-positive student, who has not exhibited serious symptoms, is currently in isolation at a facility in the country.
Sogavare said his government is ready for such a scenario and would continue to implement its health response measures that had been in place in the country for eight months.
"The planning, preparation, simulation and exercises have not been in vain and the government is confident of its capacity to respond, contain and manage the situation to ensure that the safety and well-being of the public is maintained," he said.