Last week's quarantined test negative

By Adel Fruean 25 October 2021, 8:27PM

The Ministry of Health has confirmed that all 71 individuals who came into contact with a man who escaped quarantine last Wednesday have tested negative.

The announcement was made by the Health Ministry through a public notice which was issued by the Government's Press Secretariat on Monday.

According to the notice, all COVID-19 PCR test results have returned negative on the third day of quarantine.

“The public is advised that as of Saturday 23 October 2021, the 71 individuals traced  to have been in contact with Ioane Ponifasio, who escaped from quarantine in the early hours of Wednesday morning 20 October 2021, were tested [last Saturday] today, [which is] day three of quarantine and all returned negative PCR tests results,” reads the notice.

Furthermore, the Health Ministry assured the public that everyone is in good health and remain asymptomatic. 

“In addition all passengers that arrived from New Zealand on 14 October and from Australia on 15 October 2021 were also swabbed on day seven of quarantine, and all 339 passengers returned negative results.

“The passengers are in good health and remain asymptomatic.                  

“The Ministry continues to monitor everyone currently in quarantine including their close contacts.”

The Ministry also advised the public to remain calm and continue adhering to public health measures by wearing a facial mask in public places, washing hands with a soap, maintaining at least 2 metres social distance, and managing attending large public gatherings.

Last week, the 26-year-old seasonal worker visited four different locations, mostly public places, when he fled the quarantine site for some three hours. 

In a press conference last week, the Director General of the Ministry of Health, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri said that contact tracing discovered the man received help from a neighbour who lived next to the quarantine site.

Mr. Ponifasio, who recently returned from New Zealand, was assisted by a neighbour to get a taxi which allegedly took him to see his family before he went to town. 

In addition, the man visited a Ah Liki wholesale branch and made a stop at a Vodafone outlet in town to get a phone before his last stop at the Western Union in Savalalo.

Despite the quarantine escapee being fully vaccinated and testing negative upon arrival in the country, the National Emergency Operation Centre (N.E.O.C.) said it is not taking any chances.


By Adel Fruean 25 October 2021, 8:27PM
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