PACKED boatloads of people are returning to the Western Province following orders by the Governor-General and the Prime Minister. Following the declaration of a state of emergency and closure of schools and businesses, more people are heading back to their home islands in the province.
Early this week hundreds of people arrived onboard passenger vessels in Gizo.
Many people have dropped off at ports between Marovo and Ringgi in Kolobangara Island.
An eye witness said she couldn’t believe her eyes, referring to how full the ships were being loaded by people.
The mass repatriation back to the villages was made in light of the growing threat from the deadly coronavirus which has claimed hundreds of lives already around the world.
With high a number of people returning to the provinces, health authorities remind the public to be serious in their hygiene efforts as the threat of spreading viral disease is common in concentrated population areas.
Viral diseases like the flu, dry coughing, diarrhea, and the notorious red eye are existing conditions in the country and people should not lose sight of the inconvenience these can also have on a person.
Residents in the West are also asking those returning to be considerate during their time in the villages as they mingle with family and friends to not forget the COVID-19 State of Emergency (SOE) the country is currently in.
Western Provincial Government officials have also called on travelers returning from Honiara to Gizo and other provincial stations to understand the need for them to not linger in town and return to their respective villages as soon as possible.
This again was to stress the importance and reality of disease control problems in any concentration of people at any given time.
Still, the little dusty town of Gizo has welcomed those who have returned to find relative safety within their own villages and the same has been said about Noro, Munda and other government stations and townships in the province.
Schools have now gone on a month’s leave while other businesses are shutting off operations for now.
By TERENCE ZIRU