A statement from the National Disaster Council (NDC) said the charter is part of ongoing governments’ coordinated repatriation flights to neighbouring Pacific Island countries to pick up local nationals who were left stranded after the country’s border lockdown and travel restrictions imposed as response to COVID-19 threat.
“The Solomon Airlines flight IE608 left Henderson at 7:15am to Apia, then next stop at Port Vila and return.
“Also on the flight are five Papua New Guinea nationals (missionaries) transiting here: sleep-over at the Heritage Park Hotel Quarantine Station (self-sponsored) waiting for their connection flight to Jackson’s Airport in Port Moresby tomorrow (today) morning at 9:00 am,” the NDC statement said.
“The returning nationals are mostly students who have just completed their studies in Samoan institutions,” the statement added.
Upon arrival at the Henderson tarmac, the returnees were transported straight to government-managed quarantine stations to commence the 14-days process.
As advised by Solomon Airlines, the flight to Port Moresby is limited for passengers since it will head straight to Brisbane after offloading PNG nationals.
The plane will be stationed in Brisbane awaiting upcoming repatriation flights once approved by COVID-19 Oversight Steering Committee.
So far, more than 800 Solomon Islanders and dozens of foreign nationals (exempted for essential service support) have entered the country since the first declared State of Public Emergency in March 24th.
Also, the country’s Solomon Airlines has conducted a total of 8 repatriation flights to neighbouring Pacific Island countries.
In the meantime, Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) continues to lead the government’s multi-sectoral approach to stem COVID-19 infiltration on our shores.
All government agencies and stakeholders are providing the required support through the National Disaster Operations Committee (N-DOC) and Provincial Disaster Operations Committee (P-DOC) Sectors.
N-DOC Camp Management Sector Committee maintains and continues to manage all the government approved Quarantine Stations (QS) in Honiara and Western Province.