BY ALEX DADAMU
88 individuals – Solomon Islands nationals, and other foreign nationals are all set to fly into the Country from China ‘tomorrow’ September 1st 2020.
The controversial chartered flight to China is all set and confirmed by the Special Secretary to Prime Minister Albert Kabui when speaking during the weekly talkback show on Sunday.
According to Kabui, the chartered flight has already been approved by the Cabinet and work has already started to ensure those traveling in are properly checked and are freed from the COVID-19 before they boarded the flight.
“In terms of our quarantine capacity – work has already been underway to ensure those coming in comply with our quarantine protocols,” he said.
In an earlier talk back show, the Secretary to the Prime Minister (SPM) Dr. Jimmy Rodgers following criticisms regarding the government’s decision to allow the flight into China and return, said that China is not as risky as other countries in Asia.
Dr. Rodgers further explained that although China was the first country to contract the virus, it has since managed to keep its numbers down compared to other countries like the Philippines and Indonesia.
“The very important thing for our public to know is under the orders that are recommended by the oversight committee, pre-departure testing from these countries is mandatory.
“Anyone that comes in from the high-risk countries has to undergo three tests before boarding a plane,” said Dr. Rodgers.
He explained that the status of passengers must be ascertained before boarding flights.
“This would confirm whether a passenger is positive or negative. And if he/she is found to be negative, then the passenger will not be allowed to enter the country.”
It’s understood the government has planned to organize the chartered flight to China to pick up Solomon Islands nationals and technical engineers to help with the project design of the sports facilities in preparation for the 2023 Pacific Games.
On arrival, they will undergo 21 days in quarantine with several tests before they can be released if they are free from the virus.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in an earlier statement in parliament has also highlighted that allowing such national projects to continue is important to ensure money is being pumped into the country and jobs are created.