By IAN M.KAUKUI
THE Government has now got the emergency powers to deal effectively with the threats the coronavirus poses to the nation.
It came with the state of public emergency Governor-General Sir David Vunagi declared for the nation yesterday.
“The state of public emergency Regulations will empower the Prime Minister to make orders that are necessary for the Government to perform certain actions during the emergency period,” Attorney General John Muria Jnr explained.
“A state of emergency is a situation in which a government is empowered to perform actions or impose policies that it would normally not be permitted to undertake.
“A government can declare such a state during a natural disaster, medical pandemic/epidemic, civil unrest, or armed conflict.
“Such declarations are designed to alert citizens to change their normal behaviour and orders government agencies to implement emergency plans.”
In declaring the state of emergency, Vunagi said given that the spread of COVID-19 was not contained and continued to spread to other countries with high mortality rates worldwide, it already becomes a threat to the Solomon Islands.
“The Government recognises that the importation of the COVID-19 could be catastrophic for the country, considering the limited health resources we currently have,” Vunagi said.
“We will only be safe if the COVID-19 does not enter the Solomon Islands,” he added.
Vunagi said an assessment of the threat posed by COVID-19 has been conducted by the Government and the threat assessment has recommended that the risks associated with the continued spread of COVID-19 are matter of national security.
“As such, the Government needs to respond now to the rising security threat that COVID-19 poses.
“It is in light of the above and in accordance with section 16(2) of the Constitution, that I declare that State of Public Emergency now exists in the Solomon Islands.”