2 Apr 2020

Illegal border crossers arrested and quarantined in PNG

10:05 am on 2 April 2020

Police in Papua New Guinea have arrested nine alleged illegal border crossers and quarantined them in Vanimo.

The newspaper The National reports three Indonesians and six vanilla sellers from PNG's East Sepik province had crossed the border from Indonesia

They were arrested and then placed in fourteen days of quarantine by the West Sepik provincial health authority.

The land border between PNG and Indonesia has been closed since late January due to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The West Sepik police commander Chief Inspector Moses Ibsagi said the illegal border crossers are not taking heed of the national government's awareness on the dangers of Covid-19.

Mr Ibsagi said the vanilla traders in particular, having just returned from selling their beans in Jayapua, are more concerned about money than lives of eight million people of PNG.

With several confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Jayapura, and likely more unreported cases, the provincial police commander is concerned about the virus spreading via the PNG kina notes which the traders obtained in Jayapura.

He warned that when the money was brought back to PNG, it could circulate through buying and selling of goods or services, helping the virus to easily spread among local people.