Borders would reopen once there is 80 to 100 percent vaccination coverage
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says the country would reopen its borders if it reaches 80 to 100 percent COVID-19 vaccination coverage.
The Prime Minister made the statement in his nation wide address yesterday saying the country cannot afford to stay locked up forever.
“Our economic survival as a country depends on our ability to trade and allowing entry of people that bring investment into the country.
“We have seen that all countries that have opened their borders have achieved nearly 100% vaccination coverage of their eligible population.
“In other words, if we want to reopen our borders, we must aim to achieve between 80 – 100 percent vaccination coverage of our total eligible population by a certain date,” Mr Sogavare says.
He says Fiji will reopen its borders by 1st of November this year and perhaps even earlier while Australia will reopen its borders by the end of this year.
He explains these countries will benefit from international trade and tourism and business-related travel that Solomon Islands will miss out on because of its extremely low vaccination rate.
“I have therefore directed the Oversight Committee to accord serious thinking on the possible timing and date we should target to reopen our borders and the conditions we must achieve to reopen our borders by that date.
“Agreeing a target date to re-open our borders will also help our drive to achieve our vaccination coverage target of between 80 – 100 percent of the total eligible population for vaccination by that date,” he adds.
He states if the country does not achieve this level of coverage before we reopen our borders, it will have less of a chance to prevent rapid community transmission of the virus in the event it enters the country and gets into our communities.
“So, the time has come for us to start talking about reopening our borders to revive our economy while at the same time ensuring we protect our population from COVID-19.
“This discussion will involve wide consultations with the private sector and business houses, provincial governments, our churches, and our communities,” the Prime Minister says.