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Mass repatriation underway in Solomon Islands
5:46 pm GMT+12, 29/03/2020, Solomon Islands

More Honiara residents in Solomon Islands have started returning to their respective provinces in hundreds over the past few days.
 
This came following further orders by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on Friday to all those who have nothing to do in the city to return to their respective villages and communities.
 
He declared the region between Alligator in East Honiara and Poha West of Honiara an emergency zone in light of the growing threat from the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
 
Over the weekend there were a number of chartered boats and scheduled trips transporting residents to their provinces.
 
Most of the boats were fully packed.
 
So far a number of trips have been made to Auki, Choiseul, the Weathercoast of Guadalcanal, Isabel, Malaita Outer Islands, Renbel and Western Provinces.
 
More trips are expected today and in the coming days.
 
Sogavare said should a lockdown come into force movement of ships and aircraft will be restricted.
 
The mass movement of city residents has seen not many people now roaming the city. 
 
Government has released funds to all Members of Parliament (MP) to help with the repatriation exercise. 
 
The country is still COVID-19 free as a number of samples are being sent overseas for testing.
 
As of Friday all international flights have ceased. Solomon Airlines operated airbus is currently in Brisbane, Australia. 
 
It would operate should the government requires its services.
 
“Solomon Airlines scheduled flights have been suspended and will only provide flight services as and when required to support emergency operations and the repatriation of our citizens should that become necessary,” PM Sogavare said.
 
He said in that connection, only returning citizens and residents have permitted to enter the country from the Brisbane – Honiara flight. 
 
“Upon arrival over the past week, they have been placed under strict compulsory quarantine for 14 days in our quarantine facilities.
 
“There will be no other incoming flights to Honiara,” he added.

SOURCE: SOLOMON STAR/PACNEWS


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