A brief round-up of news having a bearing on the staging of the Pacific Games in 2023, the national economy and administrative measures in force at the NRH
Amidst the fight to keep the Solomon Islands free from coronavirus I expect many across the Pacific, especially athletes and sports officials will have wondered about the prospects for the 2023 Pacific Games due to be staged in Honiara.
The Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare used his address in Parliament last week to give ongoing assurances and to update progress on the 2023 Pacific Games preparations.
He said the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia and New Zealand had all committed to supporting various aspects of the 2023 Games.
Mr.Sogavare went on to say the PRC was supporting the design and building the national stadium complex, the swimming pool complex, the tennis complex, a new track and field course at the KGVI grounds including a multi-purpose hall and a hockey field.
The PM stressed the support by the PRC was by way of a grant and not by loans.
Prime Minister Sogavare said Indonesia was financing a futsal multipurpose indoor hall
He added Indonesia had already deposited $7.2 m into “our” escrow account to support financing this, with the rest of the financing assistance coming in the new fiscal year.
The Prime Minister also mentioned Papua New Guinea would be supporting the building of the new Soccer Academy.
In addition, he said Australia had also committed to support the refurbishment of dormitories and classrooms plus support facilities of schools selected to accommodate athletes.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sogavare said the National Hosting Authority (NHA) was seeking additional development partner support for currently unfunded facilities.
“Land for the Games venues and facilities have mostly been settled. Construction of some of the major facilities for the Games will commence later this year,” he said.
He commented by saying it was anticipated that most of the facilities would be completed by December 2022 with the national stadium expected to be completed by March 2023, 3 months before the games.
Source: OPMC Press
Meanwhile, the Central Bank of the Solomon Islands (CBSI) said in a press release last week that coronavirus will likely have a considerable negative impact on the Solomon Islands economy. The spread and considerable disruption of the epidemic will be exacerbated by the increasingly intertwined trade and investment relationships between China and its neighbours in the Asia Pacific region. Being a small open economy, the Solomon Islands will likely be adversely affected through the trade channel and thereafter the economy and even fiscal operations.
The same press release went on to added that, depending on the severity and duration of the pandemic, the Solomon Islands economy might contract further to around 1% or even fall into a recession. If this happens, there could be large-scale closure of schools and businesses. The ability of the Government to provide public goods and services could also be affected. More specifically, the health system would be stretched to its limits and government finances to support the containment measures would be under a lot of strain...
Support from development partners would be crucial to assist the Solomon Islands to respond to the pandemic. This would be for both the emergency health response and also grant and short-term concessional debt financing to support the government and the economy.
Source: CBSI media statement.
As of last week, the National Referral Hospital (NRH) began implementing special emergency measures to respond to the threat of the new Coronavirus (COVID–19).
The Medical Superintendent (MS) Dr. John Hue said all non-urgent clinics and hospital services were suspended until further notice.
Under the NRH Infection and Prevention Control (IPC) protocol, several measures have been taken to control the movement of visitors, vehicles, and parking at the NRH, to reduce the risks of spreading COVID-19
Dr. Hue has also reminded the public of the need to be practising health hygiene measures when they go to the hospital. “COVID-19 is spread when someone with the virus coughs, sneezes or breathes, sending infected droplets over others and onto surfaces.
“Everyone needs to get into the habit of covering their mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, washing your hands often with water and soap, and keeping a safe distance from others if you are sick – at least 1 metre away,” he said..
Source: Solomon Star News.