PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare has called on all Solomon Islanders to remain calm to work together with the government in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking on the floor of Parliament, Prime Minister Sogavare said together we could overcome adversities such as the COVID-19 pandemic and prove our resilience and ability to move our country forward.
“I encourage each and every one of us to help address this threat and avoid allowing panic and fear to divide us as a nation,” he said.
The prime minister said we are a small country and vulnerable to disasters, extreme weather and any outbreak if or when it hits us, which we have experienced in the past.
“Therefore, I cannot over emphasise the importance of working in collaboration. If there is a time that demands unity, understanding, and cooperation, that time is now,” he said.
The prime minister also reached out to the Opposition and Independent bench, government bodies, the private sector, churches, civil society organisations, and fellow Solomon Islanders to put aside their differences and work together for the good of the country and the future of our children.
“The reality of the pandemic nature of the coronavirus is causing fear amongst our people, fuelled by people whose only interest in the public debate on this matter is to discredit the government,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare said the last thing we would like to entertain in this country at this time, is misinformation and politically motivated statements about a very sensitive matter.
“Our people want comfort, not fear,” he said.
“So contrary to what people are saying, the government had been working tirelessly to address the COVID-19 global pandemic by taking a systematic and whole of government approach to the issue.”
The prime minister said this has also involved activation of internal mechanisms and safeguards combined with assistance from our donor and bilateral partners.
“To date and despite our purported lack of institutional capacity to comprehensively address a potential nationwide wide outbreak, with this in mind, we have taken all precautionary measures to prevent the virus from arriving to our shores and remained one step ahead with Cabinet imposing restrictions soon after the initial outbreak in China over a month ago, to regulate arrivals into the country by both land and sea,” he said.
He adds the Solomon Islands was the first in the region to implement this measure with our more developed neighbor’s taking similar actions less than 24 hours after our Cabinet decision was made.
“I encourage all of us 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.