THE Public Health Emergency Bill has been deferred to 2021.
The deferment was due to the prioritisation and redirection of resources by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
The clarification was made by the Prime Minister in his weekly nationwide address on Monday.
He said the concentration and prioritisation of resources by the MHMS to our front-liners have seriously impacted the availability of officials to allocate time and resources to discuss and further develop the Bill.
“The subsequent positive declarations of COVID -19 cases continue to require the full focus of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, thereby continuously limiting the availability of required resources.
He said in light of the above, Cabinet has now agreed to defer the Public Health Emergency Bill. However, despite the deferment, the Committee will continue to ensure that the Bill is bought to Parliament in 2021.
“This includes ensuring that the Bill is subjected to the Bills and Legislative Committee processes and other required legislative procedures,” he said.
Mr. Sogavare in July this year announced that the development of the legislation is to address circumstances such as national pandemics should they happen in the future.
Subsequently, the Cabinet in September approved the establishment of the Legislative Committee to develop the Public Health Emergency Bill and mandated the Committee to prepare the Bill for submission to Parliament in its November seating.
He said the bill’s committee has already developed a draft Policy Document, Draft discussion Bill of the Public Health Emergency Bill, and had already conducted consultations in Honiara with Solomon Islands Government Officials, in the Western Province, and in Malaita Province.
“However, when Solomon Islands recorded its first COVID-19 case, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services mobilised and redirected all its available resources to ensure the prevention COVID-19 instead,” he said.
By FOLLET JOHN