Western border covid-19 response plan endorsed

Police officers patrolling the Western border with Bougainville. PHOTO ABC
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The Oversight Committee has endorsed the Western Border COVID-19 Response Plan 2021.

The plan was developed by National Emergency Operation Centre (NEOC) of the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) with inputs from the National Disaster Operations Committee (N-DOC) which have teams engaged in the joint response at the Western Border.

National Disaster Council briefly highlighted in a statement that the Response Plan was developed in keeping with the Government’s intention to step-up response at the Western Border following the surge of COVID-19 cases in our neighbour Papua New Guinea.

“The plan utilises a series of scenarios to guide responses to be used by the multi-agency response teams stationed at the border.

“Based on the response plan, each agency has prepared their Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) for swift response should there be a breach of border travel restrictions and protocols,” the statement said.

NDC said the plan will guide Government agencies such as Health, Police, Customs, Biosecurity, Immigrations, Provincial Emergency Response Team, Western and Choiseul Provincial Governments, with the support of FAMOA Council of Chiefs.

Coordination of the SIG Joint Operations Team (SIG-JOT) at the Western Border will be managed through the On-Site Operations Coordination Centre (OSOCC) at Nila station, Shortlands by a multi-sectoral government team.

Latest figures from our neighbour PNG’s National Pandemic Controller Office shows their total number of COVID-19 cases soared to 8,984 as of this week with 170 new cases and 2 new deaths. Autonomous Region of Bougainville recorded 2 new cases, which brings their total to 149 cases so far.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in his nationwide address this week repeated his call on people over 18 years living in border communities to be vaccinated when the Government’s vaccination programme reaches them.