Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare, right, is under pressure to provide greater funds for the Solomon Islands' healthcare system ©Getty Images

Opposition leader Matthew Wale has called on the the Solomon Islands Government to re-direct resources, including funds for the 2023 Pacific Games, toward health facilities to ease COVID-19 pressure.

Wale called for the National Referral Hospital (NRH), new field hospitals and the healthcare system as a whole to receive the additional resources.

"It is insane that the Government allocated SBD100 million (£9.2 million/$12.3 million/€11.1 million) for Pacific Games 2023 preparations whilst our healthcare system is facing imminent collapse under COVID pressure," Wale said, as reported by the Solomon Times.

"It is tragic that the priority now is building stadiums and not healthcare infrastructure."

Under-fire Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare was also accused by Wale of making contradictory statements on COVID-19 and going against the Health Minister's claim last year that the NRH was prepared and equipped to deal with the pandemic.

"We are in a health crisis that warrants are more comprehensive approach meaning we should prioritise all funding resources to our healthcare system and to manage and keep our citizens safe," Wale added.

An escalating coronavrius outbreak is the latest crisis to hit the Solomon Islands ©Getty Images
An escalating coronavrius outbreak is the latest crisis to hit the Solomon Islands ©Getty Images

COVID-19 cases have increased steeply in the Solomon Islands since the turn of the year, since a first community case was detected.

The Health Ministry reported 143 new cases today, including an outbreak among NRH staff.

Five coronavirus-related deaths have also been recorded this month, the country's first since the start of the pandemic.

The President's Cup, a new domestic football competition due to begin on February 1, has been cancelled and the country is in lockdown.

The 2023 Pacific Games are set to take place from November 19 to December 1 next year, having already been delayed by four months in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

COVID-19 is not the only crisis at Sogavare's door.

Civil unrest also rocked the Solomon Islands late last year, with a Government decision to forge close ties with China among the causes of riots which turned deadly.