72-hour PCR test no longer needed

The Cabinet-approved removal of the 72 hours PCR test for covid-19 requirement for incoming travelers to Solomon Islands took effect yesterday.

A Government statement said the removal follows the signing of amendments, which was published in a Gazette by the Minister of Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration Frederick Kologeto.

This means that effective from the date that the Minister signed the Gazette, incoming passengers by air [and sea] no longer need to undertake a pre-departure PCR test.

“However, passengers who feel ill prior to departure are strongly advised not to travel until they are better,” the statement said.

Cabinet on October 6 approved the removal of the 72 hours PCR test prior to entering the country.

Since the re-opening of borders on July 1 and the subsequent expiry of the State of Public Emergency (SOPE) on July 24, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services stepped up its surveillance and database, which indicated isolated cases of covid-19.

The trend towards evidence-based approaches to restrictions reflects the evolving nature of the pandemic also help restore confidence in travel while help keeping both visitors and tourism workers safe.

Evidence shows that current travel restrictions are primarily effective at the early stage of the pandemic and may help to delay a pandemic, however, the effect of travel restrictions decline over time, as cases are inevitably imported.

Most countries around the world have either lifted or have partial requirements for entry without and have adopted different models of approach such as easing of burden on health facilities.

In terms of the likelihood of importation of new variants and starting, a new wave of outbreak in Solomon Islands is low while vaccination coverage of atleast one dose for those 18 years and above currently stands at 70 percent while for double doses at 53 percent.

Only travelers who are not citizens of Solomon Islands must be fully vaccinated with proof of complete vaccination against covid-19 requirements are permitted to enter the country while Solomon Islands Nationals who are unvaccinated can enter the country subject to proof of negative PCR test 72 hours prior to entering the country.

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