THE Governor General, His Excellency, Sir David Vunagi has declared the country’s fifth consecutive State of Public Emergency (SOPE) on the eve of the expiry of the current SOPE on July 24.
A Government statement reports, in exercise of the powers conferred by section 16(2) of the Constitution, the Governor General by a Proclamation declare that on and from 24 July 2021 a state of public emergency exists in Solomon Islands on the grounds that:
The World Health Organisation has declared that the Novel Coronavirus 2019 (“COVID-19”) is a public health emergency of international concern and is a pandemic.
Furthermore, COVID-19 can easily transmit from person to person and is capable of causing severe respiratory illness, which may lead to death.
It adds, the proclamation further states that it is necessary to take measures to ensure that COVID-19 is not transmitted from person to person within Solomon Islands (including by controlling the entry of persons into Solomon Islands and requiring the quarantining and testing of persons).
It is necessary to preserve public health, safety, order and security during the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the statement said.
The statement strongly warns members of the public against committing offences contravening the Regulation.
It adds, in accordance with Section 16 of the Constitution, Parliament will now have seven (7) days to extend by resolution of Parliament the State of Public Emergency for a period of not more than four (4) months.
The Proclamation is necessary as the Bills and Legislation Committee (“BLC”) need additional time to conduct consultations on the Public Health Emergency Bill and had also recommended for the continuation of the State of Public Emergency. These proposed consultations will also be extended to the Provincial Centres by the BLC.