STATE OF PUBLIC EMERGENCY EXTENDED UNTIL PARL MEETS ON MARCH 29

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The Governor General Sir David Vunagi based on advice by the Prime Minister has further extended the State of Public Emergency that expires midnight of 24 March 2021 acting on a recommendation of Cabinet.

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As Parliament is in session, the Declaration by the Governor-General will last for a period of seven days commencing from 25 March during which Parliament will decide on the period of extension, which is usually four months. Parliament will meet again on 29 March 2020 in which a resolution to extend the State of Public Emergency will be passed by Parliament.

The Declaration by the Governor-General is necessary given the nature of the Pandemic and to allow the current existing COVID-19 measures to continue whilst the Public Health Emergency Bill is scrutinized carefully.

Globally the Pandemic continues to significantly affect Countries and therefore the risk of COVID-19 to Solomon Islands remains considerably high.

The Government has completed the Public Health Emergency Bill and it is currently now before Parliament. The new Declaration will enable Parliament to carefully scrutinize the Bill and will also allow the Parliamentary process to take its course. Given the procedural requirements of Parliament, it is unlikely that the bill will be passed before the expiration of the current state of public emergency.

Therefore, to allow Parliament to proceed with the necessary procedural requirements, Cabinet through the Prime Minister has recommended that the Governor General issue a proclamation declaring the existence of a state of public emergency.

This latest declaration will ensure that all measures currently employed under the SOPE Regulations continue whilst Parliament deliberates on the Public Health Emergency Bill.

The extension is made because covid-19 remains a public health emergency of international concern that is capable of causing severe respiratory illness, which may lead to death.

The extension is also necessary to take measures to ensure that covid-19 is not transmitted from person to person within Solomon Islands (including by controlling the entry of persons into Solomon Islands and requiring the quarantining and testing of persons.

The extension is also necessary to preserve public health, safety, order and security during the outbreak of covid-19.

Covid-19 continues to affect countries and territories around the world. To date, more than 124 million people have contracted the covid-19 virus and more than 2.7 million people dead worldwide.

This latest declaration will ensure that all measures currently employed under the SOPE Regulations continue whilst Parliament deliberates on the Public Health Emergency Bill.

ENDS///

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