A LOCKDOWN for the Solomon Islands will have a number of serious implications for the country.
Secretary to Prime Minister (SPM) Dr. Jimmie Rodgers made the comments when responding to a question of locking down the country during a talkback show over the weekend.
Dr. Rodgers through a statement from the Prime Minister Press Secretariat said government through a recently formed oversight committee is looking at all options including the lockdown of the country and self-quarantine.
“The oversight committee is also looking at all options including the lockdown of the country and self – quarantine,” he said.
He explained that shutting off the country from the outside world will have a number of impacts.
“We must understand that each option has different implications. When we talk about a total lockdown of the country, we must also consider how much of our survival depends on our trade outside.
“No fuel means, clinics and hospitals closing down, major utilities will be forced to close down,” he said.
Dr. Rodgers said a lockdown means no supplies and food coming into the country for an indefinite period.
“If we lock down flights, how can we fly samples for tests and if we don’t test it will make it more difficult in our fight. We must also be considerate of our citizens in other countries,” he said.
However, he said all these options are not ignored and the government will duly inform the public.
Meanwhile, Dr. Rodgers during the talkback show has assured the country that the government is taking serious measures in the fight against the coronavirus.
He said there is a lot of work happening behind the scene by relevant authorities.
The SPM said an oversight committee headed by the Office of the Prime Minister & Cabinet including other stakeholders and relevant authorities had been undertaking an assessment on all aspects including the legal, social and economic implications of the Covid-19.
Dr. Rodgers said the assessment report would also include a response plan as to how and what each sector, community, and individuals are supposed to do.
“We need to fight this as a country and not as a government, civil society, or as a private sector. We all have a role to play in conquering the corona pandemic,” he said.
The SPM said this is a world health crisis that should unite this nation rather than fighting each other and pointing fingers.
It’s understood following the outbreak of the COVID-19 a number of countries around the world have restricted flights and shipping services to reduce the spread of the virus.
Our closest neighbor Australia as of yesterday has recorded 368 confirmed cases and five deaths as a state of emergency had been declared in some of the states. Travel restrictions were also imposed by the Government.
Already in Australia, inbound tourism and education and outbound exports of premium and perishable foods have suffered immediate impacts, Australian legal and consulting firm MinterEllison noted.
“However, it is expected that over the next few months a new wave of direct and flow-on impacts will significantly disrupt many industries as the full suite of demand and supply effects hit global supply chains.”
By MOFFAT MAMU