The country’s suffering economy can be resurrected only if international trade is boosted by reopening of international borders and the relaxation of travel restrictions.
However, Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare warns that the government will not reopen the country’s borders if 100 percent of the population over 18 years is not vaccinated.
Sogavare made the clarification in his Special National Address on Sunday 28 March in view of questions on why we should vaccinate when we do not have COVID-19 or community transmission in the country.
“For our economy to recover, we will need to reopen our borders to international trade and international travel at some stage”.
“However, before we reopen our borders fully, we must ensure we have a ‘100 percent coverage’ of vaccination of every person that is above 18 years old in the first instance, pending WHO advice on vaccinations for people under 18 years of age,” he said.
Sogavare said the only way we can achieve 100% protection is to have a 100% vaccination coverage – starting with front-liners and people aged over 55 years who currently have some existing diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, asthma etc.
He thanked frontline agencies outside of the government that had already mobilized their frontline workers are vaccinated such as Solomon Airlines and Solomon Islands Ports Authority.
The Prime Minister also encouraged those over 55-years old, and who have existing diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, lung diseases including asthma and other diseases to present their medical record cards when visiting the central field hospital for vaccination.