Solomons govt sanctions repatriation flights

The Solomon Islands government has sanctioned two commercial flights that will enable a mass repatriation of citizens and some expatriates from neighbouring countries.

More than 300 people are expected on board two Solomon Airlines flights scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

This was announced by the Prime Minister's secretary Jimmy Rodgers on Sunday, during a weekly update provided by the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation.

Dr Rodgers said most of the people being repatriated were Solomon Islanders who had been stranded in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Vanuatu because of Covid-19 border restrictions.

There will be some returning expatriates onboard the flights as well, he said.

A third charter flight is also expected next week repatriating Tuna industry workers, who were also been stranded overseas, Mr Rodgers said

Meanwhile, the Solomon Star reported authorities in charge of designated quarantine centres saying there was enough room to cater for all incoming passengers.

All but seven of 150 people, who were quarantined after a similar repatriation exercise, were released last week.

Solomon Islands has had no cases of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.