PM thanks donor support in fight against COVID-19

PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare has thanked our country’s development partners for their support in our fight against COVID-19.

In his speech in Parliament this week, the Prime Minister said our friends have shown great commitment in our collective efforts, which he sincerely thanked them.

“I thank the Australian Government for funding the procurement of a new qPCR machine, which will enable Solomon Islands to do COVID-19 testing here in the country. Currently all our tests are done in Melbourne. I understand the new machine can test 15-30 COVID-19 specimens in 45 minutes. It can also doe test for SARS,” he said.

The Prime Minister said he also had the opportunity to speak with Australian Prime Minister Mr Scott Morrison on Wednesday last week.

He said he was encouraged by Mr Morrison’s assurance and support to Solomon Islands and the Pacific family despite the challenges Australia is also facing.

“During our conversation, Prime Minister Morrison has assured me that Australia’s external support would continue to prioritize our Pacific family. Therefore, I wish to sincerely acknowledge Mr Morrison’s announcement that Australia is allocating SBD70 million to boost the efforts of the Solomon Islands Government to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

Prime Minister Sogavare said this substantial commitment would be used in three critical areas, namely, maintaining critical health care services; addressing the economic impacts of the pandemic; and supporting the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force in relation to COVID.

The Prime Minister also acknowledged the New Zealand Government through its High Commission office for assisting the Government in the setting up of the isolation ward at the National Referral Hospital.

“I also acknowledge with since appreciation the New Zealand Government’s support of $3 million New Zealand dollars to assist us to respond to the corona virus pandemic in Solomon Islands,” he said.

The Prime Minister also thanked the People’s Republic of China for donating USD$300,000 (about SBD$2.5 Million) to the Government and people of Solomon Islands.

He said this funding donation would enable the Solomon Islands Government to strengthen and improve its capability to fight against the entry and spread of the COVID-19.

“My Government will use the funds to purchase testing kits for COVID-19 and relevant laboratory equipment. The Chinese Government has also purchased a total of 125,000 pairs of gloves, which is already on its way to Honiara. To add to that, Guangdong Province will also send masks and other protective garments to support our front liners,” he said.

Prime Minister Sogavare said the Government has also received confirmation of substantial support from the Asian Development Bank and World Bank.

He said ADB has also confirmed support of US$26 million dollars and the World Bank US$20 million dollars to support both our immediate direct responses to COVD-19 as well as supporting our medium to long term economic stimulus strategy. “All our donors are standing in solidarity with our people and our government during this time of great challenge. On behalf of the Government and the people of Solomon Islands, I convey our nation’s gratitude to all our development partners and donors,” he said.