Covid-19 emergency orders begin to bite at the village level

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Conveyer of police vehicles at Poha bridge during the first night of the curfew. Photo by RSIPF
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By Alfred Sasako

AS the impact of the state of emergency measures introduced by the Government since March 27 begins to bite, ordinary people living in and outside the Honiara City boundary areas are asking questions about last weekend’s curfew.

New measures, which included an 8pm-5am curfew over two days, were introduced last week. The nine-hour curfew began on Friday night and ended early last Sunday morning.

A total of 63 people, including four women, were arrested. Legal issues involving their arrests are being heard in Court this week.

But the broader community is asking what the curfew in particular was all about. According to police the curfew was part of the measures the government had introduced to restrict people’s movement to ensure the deadly virus does not enter into Solomon Islands.

“What is the curfew supposed to mean,” some told Island Sun on Tuesday 14th April.

“How does the government know the virus only comes out on Friday and Saturday nights,” one said.

“The real problem the government should be dealing with is the suffering people are beginning to feel. They have no food, many have been told to withdraw their savings from the Solomon Islands National Provident, when it is the responsibility of government to care for its citizens,” they said.

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“Are there other reasons for the curfew? If so, the Prime Minister should explain that to the people of this country.”

Under the emergency orders, Honiara is an emergency zone. This zone extends from Alligator Creek area in the east to Poha River in the west. The emergency orders remain in place for the next four months.

At Kakabona yesterday, village women who were doing roadside sales of bettelnuts and other fruits were told by police to remove their stalls as this was in breach of the emergency orders.

“This is not fair for us,” one woman said.

“What we sell is the only source of income which we use to provide for our family. If the government wants us to stop, they must provide us with some help such as food or money so we can help our families,” the woman said.

“What is happening is unfair and very hard on us the ordinary people in the communities between Alligator Creek and Poha River,” they said.

“We are sure the people who were evacuated to their villages in other provinces are also finding it hard to cope.”

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