SOLOMON ISLANDS and China have pledged joint solidarity in the fight to stop the surge of the corona virus epidemic, which has so far taken five lives since the first positive cases were detected on January 19.
In a joint statement issued in Honiara this week, both governments have acknowledged that the impact of COVID-19 around the world has claimed and disrupted lives of peoples and slowed and contracted the global economy.
Regrettably, Solomon Islands has registered its first five COVID-19 related deaths since Thursday this week, the statement said.
“As community transmission of the virus surges in Solomon Islands, China and Solomon Islands stand in solidarity with the families and governments and people who have lost loved ones to the pandemic and remain steadfast to work with everyone to fight the pandemic,” the statement said.
True to its word, China delivered on its pledge on 26 January 2022.
Cabinet Ministers, Culwick Togamana, Minister of Health and Medical Services and the Anthony Veke, Minister for Police, National Security and Correctional Services joined His Excellency Ambassador LI Ming of the People’s Republic of China Embassy in Solomon Islands at the Henderson International Airport in Honiara to receive the emergency humanitarian assistance supplies from the People’s Republic of China.
“The two countries further celebrated the strength of their relationship with China presenting 50,000 Sinopharm vaccines, 20,000 Rapid Antigen Test Kits, 21,000 disposal syringes, 50 tent units and financial humanitarian assistance of USD320,000 to the Government of Solomon Islands through the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.
“The consignment also included the second shipment of Anti-Riot Gears, equipment and uniforms for the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force to assist Police in carrying out its law-and-order mandate during this challenging time. The first shipment was delivered back in late December 2021.
“The partnership is given in solidarity and with a “umi tugeda” spirit of togetherness, echoing the global mantra that no one is safe until everyone is safe,” the statement said.
“The medical supplies and assistance from China support (Solomon Islands’) efforts to halt the surge of the virus within our communities and isolate and eliminate the virus from our shores.
The two countries further agree to keep working together in tackling the pandemic with China’s consideration of an additional 300,000 Rapid Antigen Test Kits and the contribution of building a large tent field hospital.
China also responded with in-kind support by providing 1, 000 bags of rice, 300 cartons of canned tuna to assist vulnerable households during the pandemic.
“Solomon Islands also welcome the arrival of Chinese Technical and expertise team to further assess the National Referral Hospital (NRH) as part of NRH improvement initiative, water and security needs of the country as we deepen cooperation with the goal of strengthening our collective preventive action to control and eliminate the pandemic and build quality lives in a secured environment for the people of Solomon Islands.
“Solomon Islands Government wish to use this platform to urge all its nationals who have to be vaccinated to get vaccinated.
“It is the best protection and shield for our families, our country and ourselves against the onslaught of the virus,” the statement said.
Solomon Islands also recognize all partners including China for past support in the last two years in supporting the construction of the PCR lab, Isolation Wards at the NRH and supporting earlier shipments of vaccines and medical supplies, it said.
It takes this opportunity to acknowledge all security partners including China who have worked closely with the Government in maintaining security, law and order and continue to build up the capacity and capability of Royal Solomon Islands Police Force.
Solomon Islands once again thank China for the humanitarian assistance and commitment to keep building a strong resilient Solomon Islands with necessary infrastructure and security to allow peace, progress and prosperity to shape Solomon Islands future.
By Alfred Sasako