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It has been reported that the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison assured Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Manasseh Sogavare, during a telephone exchange between the two leaders on Monday this week that Australia’s support for the Solomon Islands in the face of tackling the COVID-19 pandemic was utterly firm.
Prime Minister Morrison said he had reminded other G20 leaders during a special virtual summit last week that it was critical to address the needs of the Pacific Island countries at this unprecedented time.
It has since emerged that Australia is to allocate SBD70 million to boost the efforts of the Solomon Islands Government in respond to the COVID-19
It has been claimed the substantial commitment will be used in three critical areas: maintaining critical health care services; addressing the economic impacts of the pandemic; and supporting the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force in relation to the coronavirus threat.
The Australian High Commission, it is understood, will work closely with the Solomon Islands Government to determine how the funds are to be best deployed, while coordinating at the same time with other bilateral partners and international organisations.
The Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has, too, joined in the battle to prevent the deadly corona virus from reaching the Solomon Islands.
On Thursday, China donated US$300, 000.00 to assist the Solomon Islands Government to buy testing kits and other laboratory equipment to strengthen the capacity and capability of health authorities.
The Chinese Government has also made arrangements to ship a total of 125,000 pairs of protective gloves to Honiara soon.
Officials from the two Governments are also discussing the possibility of organizing a chartered flight from French Polynesia (Tahiti) to pick up medical supplies from China to Honiara.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Province of Guangdong is currently making arrangements to ship thousands of facemasks and protective garments to Honiara as part of its assistance package to the people of Solomon Islands.
The Solomon Islands Government has said it commends the cooperation of bilateral, multilateral and donor partners for their support in efforts to prevent the entry of Covid-19 into the country.
To-date the Solomon Islands has no recorded case of COVID -19
News Sources = GCU and Solomon Times on Line