PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare has called on all Solomon Islanders to continue to support each other during these unprecedented times.
Sogavare made the call when delivering his nationwide address on Monday.
“We have done everything we can to try and keep the virus at bay. Now that it is here, we must keep the focus on eliminating it,” he said.
He said the government is aware of the criticisms, questioning whether it was the right choice to repatriate our students and whether the timing was right.
The prime minister said since the COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon, we cannot keep on waiting and keep exposing our students to even higher levels of danger.
For instance, he said the level of new daily infections has now risen above 400,000 new cases a day and it now takes only 2 and half days for the new cases to reach 1 million infected people.
“Continuing to leave our students to face such danger would be negligence on our part as a nation.
“Therefore, our focus now is to identify, isolate and eliminate the virus in our border quarantine stations,” he added.
He then calls for citizens’ understanding when dealing with the students especially as plans have been in place to bring those from abroad home.
“I ask all our citizens to understand this and look at our students as equal citizens with equal rights to be safe among us.
“To all our students, as your Prime Minister and as a father of this nation, it was and has always been my solemn responsibility to bring you all home with open arms,” he added.
Sogavare said despite the setbacks and consequences, this virus will not stop the government from bringing all the students home.
“Fellow citizens, we can reclaim our status as a COVID-19 free country, if we eliminate the virus within the quarantine station. However, it needs our collective efforts and for our country to remain united and support each other.
“I continue to convey my sincere respect and I take my hat off to our many front liners, your families, and all those working tirelessly behind the scenes to protect our country from COVID-19. You are our heroes.
“I ask all citizens and Christians around the country to continue to pray for guidance, protection of our beloved nation,” he added.
By IAN M.KAUKUI