THE Western Province is stepping up efforts in its preparedness strategy to tackle COVID-19 which will see the closure of shops within central areas in the province during the weekend.
All commercial houses and shops in Gizo, Ringgi, Noro, Munda, and Seghe that regularly operate during weekends will now be expected to only open half days on Saturdays and close on Sundays.
Following the closure of market facilities in central areas, shops are expected to follow suit with the emergency directive taking effect as of this coming Friday the 17th of April and will be effective until further notice.
Provincial Secretary (PS) of Western Province and Chairman of the Provincial Disaster Committee (PDC) Jeffery Wickham said the step is being taken to prepare the people in the event a confirmed Covid-19 case is found in the country.
“In authorizing these seemingly drastic measures we only aim to be able to give the public a taste of what it may feel during an actual lockdown.
“We feel that that given the time we the people of WP should be able to familiarize ourselves with the difficulties and inconvenience experienced during a lockdown and learn to plan ahead,” said the chairman.
The provincial disaster committee oversees the sectored emergency committees chaired and seated by prominent and essential personal representatives of multiple divisions in the government and non-government organizations.
Western province is made up of multiple scattered islands and faces a potential of a viral entry through its international shipping port in Noro and the far western border with Papua New Guinea.
Its international airport at Munda has since closed its international route a few months ago.
By TERENCE ZIRU