Solomon Islands

COVID-19:Melanesian bubble 'not worth risk' to health

The economic strains caused by COVID-19 have prompted leaders of the five member countries of the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and Vanuatu, to discuss a potential bubble. 

At a leaders' meeting last week in Port Vila, Acting Director of the Secretariat, George Hoa'au, said a Five Point Sustainability Plan was being developed to help ensure members are resilient to the challenges. 

But commentator Elisapeci Waqanivala said that the discussion isn't providing enough details for people to be aware of its real intention.

Solomons’ mass repatriation exercise begins this week

Around 300 people are expected to be repatriated over the next two weeks.

The Secretary to the Prime Minister, Jimmy Rodgers, said the first flight from Brisbane would have 132 people on board.

He said another on Wednesday would bring 130 people from Fiji.

"Every country there is a second-phase of this virus going up," Mr Rodgers said.

"Instead of dropping our guard in this country it is now time for us to even tighten our guard further. Because now the reason is we are also looking at bringing our people home to safety."

Solomons’ local COVID-19 tests return negative

This was revealed by Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in a national address on Friday.

Mr Sogavare said the country's newly established testing facilities have the potential to carry out more than 3000 tests although the current capacity is at around 500.

He said so far four people who displayed symptoms of COVID-19 have been tested locally.

"Therefore, we have undertaken a total of 17 COVID-19 tests altogether, 13 done overseas and four done in country. All results, negative," Mr Sogavare said.

Oxfam coordinates response to TC Harold in Vanuatu and Solomons

Oxfam teams in the Pacific are already working with partner agencies and governments in Vanuatu and Solomon Islands in response to Tropical Cyclone Harold.

2023 Pacific Games confident of avoiding Covid-19 delays

A number of big projects funded by the Chinese government were scheduled to get underway this year, including the construction of the new national stadium in Honiara, while the Indonesian government had indicated the multi-purpose hall could be completed by the end of next year.

Lead advisor to the National Hosting Authority, Clint Flood, said the majority of facilities were still in the design stage and they did not expect Covid-19 would impact the construction timeline at this stage.

Air Vanuatu’s jet takes refuge in Solomon Islands

Permanent Secretary of the Solomon Islands Ministry of Communication & Civil Aviation Moses Virovolomo confirmed to Solomon Star it was just an emergency flight for safety purposes.  

Virovolomo said the jet will be here for about three days as soon as the weather permits before its return.

In a statement issued by Vanuatu Airline, the aircraft departed Port Vila at 12pm following the guidance and approval from the Civil Aviation Authority of Vanuatu (CAAV) and the Vanuatu National Disaster Management Office.

Food security an issue in Solomon Islands following TC Harold

The director of the national disaster office, Loti Yates, said much of the plains are under water after days of torrential rain, and several villages have lost their food source.

Mr Yates said the plains also supply much of the food for the densely-populated capital, Honiara.

"These are the communities that are actually feeding Honiara and the markets, and so that's going to impact on their livelihoods as well. So it's going to be a huge challenge for us."

Dozens feared missing off boat in Solomons amid cyclone

It is understood the vessel MV Taimareho was carrying passengers from the capital Honiara to West Are Are in Malaita Province last night when it encountered bad conditions.

The Solomon Islands Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre says it only received word of the stricken ship's ordeal late this morning, and its officers are scrambling to launch a rescue operation.

According to the cente, the vessel encountered very rough seas and strong winds whipped up by Cyclone Harold between 2am and 3am this morning - a number of passengers were washed overboard.

TC Harold batters Solomon Islands as it heads to Vanuatu

The Solomon Islands Meteorology Service said a Tropical Cyclone Warning is current for all Solomon Islands provinces.

The category 1 system is slamming Solomon Islands as it makes it way down the country, heading towards Vanuatu.

On Friday, the Director of the Director of the National Disaster Management Office, Loti Yates, said at least two ships had been washed ashore, fallen trees were blocking roads and the power was out in many areas.

All schools ordered to close in Solomon Islands

The Solomon Star reported the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Education, Franco Rodie issued the directive, as part of the country's Covid-19 response strategy.

Dr Rodie said the mass repatriation of people from the capital to their home provinces following the declaration of a State of Public Emergency last week was causing anxiety and confusion for schools and education authorities.

Because of this Dr Rodie ordered all schools to close with a tentative return date set for the 27th of April.