Bougainville. Papua New Guinea press review
Autonomous Bougainville Government President John Momis has declared an all-out war on the COVID-19 epidemic in the region. During the Bougainville House of Representatives special emergency meeting, J. Momis commended the work of the Bougainville Health Department and for taking the lead in preparing itself to fight the coronavirus in the region. J. Momis also thanked the Bougainville Police Service through the controller Francis Tokura and his deputy Thomas Raivet. According to J. Momis, ‘the priority objective of the ABG is to keep all people, households and businesses afloat’.
As of 7 April 2020, 316 people had been screened on Bougainville since the State of Emergency was declared last month, with 301 cleared and the others identified as ‘persons of interest’.
COVID-19 State of Emergency Controller, Chief of Bougainville Police and Deputy Police Commissioner Francis Tokura confirmed that some workers from the Lihir Gold Mine (New Ireland province) have sneaked into Bougainville through Anir and Nissan Island.
According to Mr. Tokura this is a very serious case, especially when Bougainville’s closest neighbour East New Britain has recorded a confirmed Covid-19 case. Mr. Tokura also ‘instructed his team at Kessa to make sure no boats enter Bougainville waters from Lihir through Anir and Nissan or elsewhere for that matter’.
«I am continuing to appeal to you people living along the coastline of Bougainville to report any boats or vessels coming into the region. We must be responsible, we must be proactive during this time of COVID-19 SoE» – said Mr. Tokura.
Covid-19 State of Emergency Controller also marked that all the mine sites including Lihir Gold Mine are high risk areas because of their fly-in fly-out policies, dealing with expatriates, especially to other countries and also appealed to those Lihir Gold Mine employees who have ‘sneaked’ into the region on dinghies to make themselves available and see health authorities to undergo quarantine processes. All the employees of exploration companies in Bougainville will also undergo quarantine.