Total lockdown

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Secretary to Prime Minister Dr Jimmy Rodgers
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BY CHARLES KADAMANA

A real time lockdown situation is set for Wednesday 6pm to Friday 6am to test the capability of the country for possible COVID-19 positive case before opening the national borders.

Solomon Islands is one of the pacific countries free of COVID-19 and the question is what is the logic behind the lockdown.

Secretary to Prime Minister Dr Jimmy Rodgers reiterates that the logic behind the lockdown is the country will soon open its border on May 26 which means there is potential risk of coronavirus coming in.

The other important thing is the country has a testing capability the Ministry of Health and Medical Service is putting in place. These two must be well-checked to ensure they must go hand in hand.

Adding on to these the government wants to do the lockdown when businesses and schools are back to normal operation so that we can see the impact of the lockdown and how people are well coordinated.

“So it is testing the capability of us as a government, Ministry of health as lead ministry to ensure they can identify case, contact stressing, mobilising, isolating and so on.

“We must do these in real time before we have any case. That is the most important thing. If we have any case and prepare how to handle it we have to go into another process where we are untested and tried.

“We ask the people in Honiara within the emergency zone for cooperation to do this together so that in the event where COVID -19 come we are well prepared for it,” he said.

Chairman of the National Disaster Council Dr Melchior Maitaki said the lockdown exercise is very important.

He said it is important for us to get our health authorities really prepared and test their capability should the country reach a stage where coronavirus case is positive.

He said the new normal now is we have to live with the virus.

“We will eventually open back our boarder so we need to test our capability and we need to do it in real time situation to see how and know how to work against reality,” he said

Chief Operation of National Operation Center George Baragamu elaborates more on what people need to take note of during the lockdown.

He said lockdown is an emergency protocol where requires every citizen within the declared emergency zone to remain at home.

The emergency zone for the lockdown is from Alligator Creek to Poha River.

He said during the course of the lockdown people should be at their homes before 6pm on Wednesday and remain at their homes for the 36 hour lockdown.

He also advise those living outside the emergency zone that they are not allowed to come in as well those living within the emergency zone not to go out.

Under the State of Public Emergency regulation anyone found breaking the lockdown will fine SDB$10,000 or prison up to five years or serve both penalties.

He said all citizen in Honiara should plan ahead to ensure food are at stock, have enough money, top up, cash power top up and have enough basic needs.

He said during the lockdown only four agencies will remain operational which includes Police Operation Center, Health Operation Center, National Emergency Center and Red Cross.

Apart of that the essential services that will remain operational are Health and Medical Services, SIBC and FM stations, St John Ambulance, Central Bank and other commercial bank, Ministry of Finance, Marine and Search Rescue, Ministry of Infrastructure and other utilities like electricity and Water.

Rodgers added that public servants should stop work by midday on Wednesday.

He said all businesses including shops should also close down before 6pm on Wednesday.

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