Seven people turned back by Immigrations at airport since travel restrictions enforced
BY MAVIS NISHIMURA PODOKOLO & BARNABAS MANEBONA
A total of seven passengers who have been to countries with reported coronavirus-19 (COVID) cases have been turned back and denied entry into the country by Immigration officers.
According to report, these passengers have transited through PNG and travelled to Solomon Islands on different dates and flights.
One foreign passenger travelling from Singapore and transiting through Papua New Guinea (PNG) to Solomon Islands was the latest to be denied entry by immigration Officers this week Wednesday, adding the number of six (6) passengers earlier denied entry to seven.
Director Immigration, Mason Fugui, confirming this on Thursday 5th March said a total of seven passengers who have been to countries where coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) have been reported have been turned back and denied entry into the country.
“The latest passenger was turned back on Wednesday 4th March. This particular individual had travelled from Singapore, transited through Papua New Guinea but was denied entry and turned away when he arrived here,” said Mr Fugui.
“Apart from this one passenger, six passengers who have transited through PNG have also been turned around on the same flights as they have also been to restricted countries.”
Meanwhile the Minister for Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration, Clezy Rore said any person who has travelled from or through any country that is listed as restricted, at any time during the 14 days immediately prior to the day of arrival of that person in Solomon Islands, will be turned away and denied entry.
“This is indeed a drastic measure, but is absolutely necessary if we are to reduce the potential for COVID-19 to enter the country,” said Rore.
From the recent issued ‘Joint travel advisory’, it stresses entry restriction to Solomon Islands by passengers who have travelled from or have transited through countries where COVID-19 cases have been confirmed.
Countries listed as ‘Restricted Countries’ in the travel Advisory include the People’s Republic of China (mainland China), the Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, Italy, Hong Kong (SAR), Thailand , Iran, Chinese Taipei and Macau.
When querying this issue to Solomon Airlines, Corporate Manager Bill Tyson said that it is the first he has heard of and confirmed that the flight from PNG arriving here was scheduled for 12.15pm.
“First I heard of it. The flight from PNG arrived here scheduled for 12.15 PM. Flight no PX (unsure),” responded Tyson.