PM says China not COVID-19 risk than our border
By ANDREW FANASIA
THE greatest risk of COVID-19 transmission is through the western border of our own country and not from the proposed flight from China.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare made this statement on Monday during his weekly nationwide address.
Mr. Sogavare highlighted this following widespread criticism over the government’s proposed flight to and from China.
“Fellow Solomon Islanders, while a lot of the discussion on the social media has focused on risks of bringing the COVID-19 virus from China.
“It is important to understand the greatest risk of transmission is through the western border of our own country,” he said yesterday.
In actual fact, he said the Philippines and Indonesia pose a higher risk than China.
“That said, we also need to repatriate our citizens from China as well.
“They have the right to be repatriated just like our citizens in other countries,” he added.
Mr. Sogavare stressed that the protocols they have put in place for international travel through our airports are best practices and will minimise the risk of introducing COVID-19 into the country from any country outside the Solomon Islands through these borders.
“We are prepared for and can identify and manage the risks through our international airport and seaports,” he assured the nation.
However, Mr. Sogavare said they cannot totally control the frequency and magnitude of the illegal border crossing at our western border.
“With the increase in cases in PNG, this now constitutes the highest risk for transmission of COVID-19. This is where our focus should be while at the same time keeping our guards up on all international travel,” he added.
He further assured the nation that the government with all its agencies are committed to keeping our country safe from the virus.
“This starts with preventing the virus from entering Solomon Islands.
“We are now increasing our focus on the western border.
“I would like to commend the Provincial Governments of Western and Choiseul Provinces for taking early action to step up their border management services.
“I would also like to commend the Malaita Provincial Government for coordinating a resolution in relation to the Malaita Outer Islands as part of our efforts to stop the entry of COVID-19 into our country,” Mr. Sogavare said on Monday.