16 Sep 2020

Solomons plan repatriation flights from Manila

6:28 am on 16 September 2020

Solomon Islands is planning repatriation flights for students who have been studying in the Philippines and Indonesia

Airlines Airbus A320 lands at Munda airport, Western Province, Solomon Islands.

Airlines Airbus A320 lands at Munda airport, Western Province, Solomon Islands. Photo: lasafotografix

The Solomons government has been in discussions with the government of the Philippines, and Solomon Airlines to arrange repatriation flights.

The Solomon Islands Herald reports that the flights from Manila to Honiara are provisionally scheduled for 27 and 29th of September, with a third unconfirmed flight a month later.

On both legs to and from Manila the flight will stop off in Biak, in Indonesian administered Papua province, where a number of passengers will disembark.

All passengers on the repatriation flights are to undergo Covid-19 testing and quarantine protocols over three weeks prior the flight, as well as during the flight and after arrival.

On arrival in the Solomon Islands, all travellers will undergo a mandatory 21-day quarantine period and they will have a further three tests which must all be negative before they can be released.

However, the announcement of the flights has been marred by six Solomon Islands students testing positive for Covid-19 last week.

Some parents are angry with the government for taking so long to organise the repatriation flights, which students have been calling for since the pandemic started in March.

Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare.

Solomon Islands prime minister Manasseh Sogavare. Photo: SIG News Service

Meanwhile, Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has warned the public and foreigners to respect the country's quarantine protocols.

Speaking during his nation-wide address this week, the Prime Minister said quarantine stations are restricted areas and no one is allowed to enter nor to have any direct contact with any occupant at any quarantine station.

Sogavare issued the warning following a recent incident at one of the quarantine stations.