PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare has reiterated his call to western border communities to refrain from making physical contact with people from neighboring Bougainville.
Speaking during his nation-wide address on Monday this week, the Prime Minister said while the COVID-19 situation in Solomon Islands is under control, the risk of COVID-19 transmission through the western border with PNG has reached the highest it has been since the beginning of the pandemic.
“There are now 40 reported COVID-19 cases in Bougainville. We have heard there are plans to implement lockdown in Buka town. The Bougainville government has stepped up its efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Bougainville,” the Prime Minister said.
Prime Minister Sogavare has made a plea calling on all communities living along the western border in Choiseul, Shortland’s, and Malaita Outer Islands to be vigilant and ensure there is no illegal crossing unless there is an expressed approval to enter the country.
“Do not make physical contact with anyone from across the border,” the Prime Minister said.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has commended the swift action by communities along the border to isolate seven locals that were exposed to people from across the border last week.
Four of the villagers were isolated in a community house until authorities arrived and the other three on an island close to the village.
The four people in the village had been swabbed and are negative for COVID-19.
Arrangements are being made to test the other three people.
“I thank the communities for their swift actions. With the rapidly worsening COVID-19 situation in Bougainville, it is important that our western border remains closed, and all our border communities must work closely with our relevant authorities,” Prime Minister Sogavare said.