THE Cabinet has approved a recommendation by the Oversight Committee to allow two repatriation flights by Solomon Airlines in November.
That’s according to Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in his weekly nationwide address on Monday.
He said the first flight will be on 19 November to Kiribati and Nadi to pick up our stranded citizens from both countries.
“This flight comes at the back of the normal Airline’s cargo run on 18 November which will also bring a small number of passengers that have already been approved and have complied with our pre-departure requirements.”
Sogavare also added that the second flight will be from Manila to Honiara on 24 November to repatriate 144 students from the Philippines.
“Cabinet has been assured by the Oversight Committee that our students waiting in Manila are in hotel quarantine which should reduce the COVID-19 risk status,” he added.
In addition, he said that 3 citizens, 3 dependents of a Solomon Islands citizen, and 10 engineers for the 2023 Pacific Games will arrive today, Tuesday 17th November, from Indonesia on a chartered Garuda Airlines aircraft that is flying to Honiara to repatriate Indonesian citizens from Honiara.
“All 16 passengers coming from Indonesia have undergone strict pre-departure clearance procedures to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection.
“Cabinet has also approved up to 7 additional flights during the period late November 2020 through to mid-January 2021 for repatriation of our citizens including graduating students from Fiji and Papua New Guinea,” he confirmed.
He further added that the Oversight Committee will determine the scheduling of the flights, depending on the status of COVID-19 in the country and quarantine beds available.
He also said that Cabinet has instructed the Oversight Committee to ensure every effort is taken to prevent or minimize the entry of further cases of COVID-19 into the country.
By ANDREW FANASIA