Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare says the Government is cautious of the imminent threat of the ‘delta variant of COVID-19’ in neighbouring Fiji.
Speaking during his nationwide address in Honiara, the Prime Minister said the delta variant is highly transmissible and has been described by WHO as the ‘fittest and fastest’ variant of COVID-19.
The Prime Minister said the situation in Fiji should be a wakeup call for our people to get vaccinated.
“If the delta variant gets to our communities before they are vaccinated, our people will suffer. We will see not just an explosion of COVID-19 cases, but sadly, we will also see an explosion in deaths due to COVID-19 infection,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare cautioned that if COVID-19 breached Solomon Islands borders and get into the community, the situation in Solomon Islands would be much worse than Fiji.
“This is the reason why we must all get vaccinated to ensure our population is safe even if COVID-19 breached our borders.
If all adults in Solomon Islands are vaccinated, then we have a chance of protecting our population below 18 years of age that cannot be vaccinated,” the Prime Minister said.
The Prime Minister said we have now reached the stage where we must roll-out our COVID-19 vaccination throughout the country for all adults that are 18 years of age and over.
He said with the increasing threat from the highly transmissible ‘Delta Variant of COVID-19’, which is now proven to be air-born, the Government has decided to implement a full rollout of vaccination in all provinces for all adults over 18 years of age.
The Prime Minister said we have more than 100,000 doses of AstraZeneca and Sinopharm vaccines and additional vaccines committed to be supplied by our partners.
“It is our strategy to vaccinate all eligible adults in the country to ensure we minimize the risk of widespread community transmission if COVID-19 re-enters Solomon Islands. It is also our stated strategy that every person travelling to Solomon Islands from high-risk countries or countries with community transmission of COVID-19 must be fully vaccinated before they are allowed to board their flights,” he said.