Ontong Java face border crossers with no PPE

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Covid-19 vaccination program in Luaniua, in Ontong Java
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BY SAMIE WAIKORI

AUKI

People in Ontong Java, Malaita Outer Islands, are facing covid-19 risk head-on, and are calling on the national government to assist them.

Border crossers of the SI-PNG border arrive at the islands unchecked.

And, the local covid-19 committees of the Luaniua and Pelau have had to face them with no personal protective equipment (PPE).

Senior Administration Officer for MOI region under MPG, Mr Manford Kelaho said about five different boats had arrived at Luaniua through the SI-PNG border and were dealt with by the covid-19 committee in Luaniua.

Kelaho said most of these boats were alleged to have come from the nearby Tasman Islands, one was a foreign sailing boat.

He said their illegal entry and opening door for potential intrusion of covid-19 to their communities and country is a huge concern.

“Like, for the situations encountered, members of Luaniua covid-19 committee had taken the situations out of covid-19 protocol due to non availability of covid-19 equipment on the ground.

“One of the cases the committee found difficult to deal was those onboard of the sailing boat as they tried to communicate with them on the campaign, but they didn’t until the boat left after a week on the island.

“The possibility for illegal entry especially through Luaniua route via SI/PNG at MOI is prevalent as police border security only focus at Pelau route through the border,” Kelaho said.

On that note, he calls on responsible authorities to step up border security at MOI and equip both Luaniua and Pelau covid-19 committees with safety covid-19 gears.

Kelaho said the committees were established under directives from responsible government agencies.


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