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Solomon Islands Parliament has passed the motion to extend the State of Public Emergency (SoPE) to another four months following overwhelming support of 42 votes.
Parliament debated on the motion since Tuesday.
Passing the motion last night means, parliament has given its blessing to approve the proclamation by His Excellency the Governor-General declaring a state of public emergency to continue for the next four months in pursuant to section 16, subsection 3 of the constitution.
It further means this state of public emergency shall continue in force until the expiration of four months unless earlier revoked by a resolution of Parliament pursuant to section 16, subsection 6 of the Constitution.
Its understood the extension is to allow the government to quarantine returning nationals and non-nationals when arriving on air and sea at our borders.
Forty-two members of the 47 have supported the motion moved by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare on Monday.
Five members were absent from the divisional vote.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare said if the motion was defeated, then there will be no quarantine and testing for coronavirus on people arriving from overseas.
During his winding down speech, Sogavare thanked the Leader of Opposition Mathew Wale, Independent John Kuku and ministers, and MPs for their contributions in the last two days when the motion was moved on Tuesday.
Sogavare also invited the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the Independent to submit a written submission to help the government.
He further added that by listening to the debates it showed the motion was not an option but an imperative.
Sogavare also defended the government stands on the importance to extend the SOPE, the gaps, and shortfalls of the last SOPE, the notion that government sideline Parliament to play its oversight role and the need of hosting the Pacific Games 2023.
Sogavare in his speech also thanked all the frontline officers for their sacrifice and dedication to ensure the country remains COVID-19 free to this day.
In a show of appreciation, PM invited all the MPs and the public to stand up and clap their hands to thank all those working very hard to protect this country.
Parliament was adjourned to Wednesday 12 August.
The two weeks adjournment is to allow the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to look at the supplementary budget for debate next month.
Meanwhile, about 1342 people in Solomon Islands were tested for COVID-19 and to date, all have tested negative for COVID-19.
That's according to the Minister for Health and Medical Services Dickson Mua.
Mua told the parliament when contributing to the debate on the motion to approve the State of Public Emergency (SoPE) moved by the Prime Minister on Monday.
“I want to reemphasize that to date there have been no positive COVID-19 cases in the Solomon Islands,” he further added.
This put the Solomon Islands as one of the very few countries in the world a COVID-19 free country.
While this is a welcoming news Mua said the global COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to accelerate.
“The COVID-19 infection to the Solomon Islands has increased 30-fold,” he added.
He further added that the only way to detect, contain, control, and eliminate COVID-19 if it ever breaches our shores is to quarantine all incoming passengers in mandatory quarantine institutions.
The mandatory quarantine period will be for 14 days or 21 days for those coming from high-risk countries with no pre-departure testing.
He added that they will have to test all incoming passengers according to an appropriate testing protocol during the period of mandatory.
Meanwhile, Mua highlighted that our citizens living in the highest risk countries for COVID-19 arrived in a repatriation flight in the early hours yesterday.
These high-risk countries are USA, Philippines, Indonesia, Panama, France, UK, Japan, Singapore, and increasingly Australia.
He further added that local citizens living in USA, Indonesia, Philippines, and Panama in particular have a much higher exposer rate to the virus.
In support of the motion, Mua said it is imperative that the Solomon Islands stay on course and invoke a further period of SoPE.
“We should not consider lifting the SoPE,” he added.
The motion was passed in parliament with overwhelming support Wednesday.
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