Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare

The Solomon Islands Government assured local students studying abroad and their parents, that it will do everything to ensure they are ‘safe’ in their host countries.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare made the assurance during his nationwide address last Friday on the COVID-19 ‘State of Emergency’ situation.

He further assured the students that financial support during this time will be made available.

“For the time being, the government will provide financial assistance to our students studying abroad, while we expand the capacity of our quarantine facilities to cater for them, should a decision to repatriate them be made by host countries.”

He said, whilst the option for repatriation remains open, the government is bound by the internal safety of all citizens.

Mr. Sogavare said repatriation of Philippines students may not be possible as the Philippines is currently under lockdown, except to continue supporting them financially.

“To date, the government has not restricted any request from host counties to repatriate our students. I want to assure, parents and relatives of our students, the government will do everything to make our students comfortable, including options to evacuate them in consultations with the host countries”.

Prime Minister Sogavare said the government is in constant communication with diplomatic missions abroad where they got the safety assurance students.

“The government in is active communication with our missions abroad, and at this point in time, receive no instructions, that the host country will not guarantee the safety of our students to warrant the implementation of any evacuation plans immediately.”

He added, the government is working tirelessly to ensure more quarantine sites will be made available but, that will take some time.

He declared Honiara as an “Emergency Zone”, where local mass repatriation is currently underway.

To date, Solomon Islands has no recorded positive COVID-19 cases as yet.

A number of suspected cases results send abroad have been tested negative.

Three more suspected cases results will be made known this week.

by Charley Piringi

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