THE Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) together with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (MCT) are conducting training for some 200 people in hospitality as the country prepares to open its international border.
World Health Organisation technical advisor to MHMS Dr Yogesh Choudhri said repeated training has been conducted for some 200 people in the hospitality sector to effectively manage tourists when they started returning.
Solomon Islands Border Reopening Committee (BRC) is proposing to reopen our international border in July.
However, Dr Choudhri said this will be done in a “step wise approach”.
“It is not going to be one particular date for the border to be reopened.
“We are going to allow the tourists and the business people to start coming in with restricted quarantine.
“The quarantine periods may be reduced by the number of days and testing will be reduced when you come back into the country,” Dr Choudhri said.
He said a paper on the border reopening will be submitted to Cabinet this week for approval.
He said a draft has been prepared but with the second wave of COVID-19 infections and the new Omicron variant MHMS had to update the draft.
MHMS has stepped up vaccination coverage in the country with the aim to immunize up to 70 per cent of citizens before the reopening of the international border.
Dr Choudhri said they have surveillance put in place to detect entry of new variants or new outbreak that might start once the government starts to reopen the border.
“All these things are going on at the same time,” he said.
Dr Choudhri was speaking during the MHMS press conference in Honiara last week.
Meanwhile the National Statistics Office last week released the international visitor arrivals data.
According to the National Statistics Office Solomon Islands only had 737 visitor arrivals in 2021. This is a vast reduction compared to international visitor arrivals in 2019 which was 28,930.
By LACHLAN EDDIE