COVID-19: PM announces 3- phase lockdown options

PRIME Minister Hon. Manasseh Sogavare, MP yesterday (Monday 6 April) announced a 3-phase lockdown option which has been forwarded to Cabinet for approval.

This involves a gradual 3 phases approach.

According to the Prime Minister, the country is currently in the first phase of which will remain until such time when there is a confirmed case and a Declaration made by the Prime Minister of the First case of COVD-19.

“The key feature during this phase is that we do not yet have a confirmed case of COVID 19. Of the 11 tests conducted all 11 cases have come back negative.”

He stated that two tests are awaiting transfer to Melbourne on the first flight out and noted that the two individuals are currently under isolation.

Prime Minister Sogavare further stated that restrictions on public gatherings during this phase will not be as strict as in Phase 2, “but they will be supervised to ensure compliance to social distancing instructions.”

He further made example on church services which he stated will likely to continue.

“But churches are advised to inform their congregation to practice social distancing and advice their worshippers to consider worshipping at their homes rather than necessarily congregating in churches.”

 All social public facilities such as night clubs, casinos have been closed.

The Prime Minister further stated that simulation lockdown will be undertaken during this phase to let people experience beforehand what a lockdown may entail.

“It will also allow the Government to test its response capacity and help identify any challenges that we may face during the actual lock down,” he said.

The simulated lock down will be implemented incrementally, most likely, commencing with introduction of a curfew from 8 pm to 5 am in the morning to restrict movement of people in the emergency zone.

“This will eventually lead to a 24-hour curfew for a short period to prepare people for what a total lockdown will look like under Phase 2 in the event a full Phase 2 is activated.

“People will be given adequate notice beforehand to help them prepare,” he said.

He further stated, “Phase 2 is when we have total lock down. This will start when the first case is confirmed and may run for an initial period of 14 days.”

Phase 2 is when a total lock down (24-hour curfew) will be implemented and only selected essential services will be allowed to operate with permission.

“During this phase the focus will be to contain and prevent local transmission for 14 days. This is to allow health personnel undertake contact tracing and quarantining or isolating all those who have come in contact with the first case.”

Phase 3 where any further entry of COVID-19 into the country is prevented, and have succeeded in isolating and preventing local transmission of COVID-19 in the community.

“Total lockdown can be lifted but partial lockdowns such as night curfews and closure of social public places may continue,” he stated.

Mandatory 14-day quarantine would continue indefinitely until the global pandemic subsides or an effective vaccine is discovered and used.

The Solomon Islands Government continues to encourage all citizens to take responsibilty by  adhereing to basic hygiene practises, listen to responsible authorities and work together in solidarity with the Government in its efforts to fight against the COVID-19.

“This is our nation, we are one people, this is our fight against COVID-19”.