Bougainville to ease some restrictions on arrivals

1:16 pm on 19 May 2020

The President of Bougainville, John Momis, says they have eased some of the restrictions designed to keep Covid-19 out of the region.

Bougainville President John Momis

Bougainville President John Momis Photo: supplied

Bougainville has had no cases of the coronavirus and a number of samples sent to the Papua New Guinea mainland for testing came back negative.

Earlier travel into the autonomous region was completely shut down and Bougainville had been preparing to isolate all travellers for two weeks when they arrived in Buka.

However air travel is starting again this week and Mr Momis said since they are all domestic travellers, the isolation was not needed, unless people arrived with possible symptoms of the coronavirus.

He said under those circumstances they would be quarantined for two weeks, but across-the-board isolation was not necessary and Bougainville couldn't afford it.

Mr Momis underlined that it remained vital Bougainville kept Covid-19 out because it lacked the manpower and resources to cope with a local outbreak.

State of Emergency regulations, in terms of social distancing, were still set to remain in place until the middle of June.

Bougainville coronavirus advice goes digital

Meanwhile from this week Bougainvilleans are to receive coronavirus awareness messages on their mobile phones.

They are also being given access to a free hotline offering advice on Covid-19.

The Health Secretary, Clement Totavun, said the Tok Pisin health messages, approved by the National Department of Health, supported the current face-to-face awareness campaign being delivered across the region.

"We are using every channel available to us to make sure people are informed and confident about what each and every one of us must do to fight the spread of the coronavirus," he said.

Mr Totavun said the messages were simple and direct, and gave people the facts and health measures to stay safe.

Buka Airport

Buka Airport Photo: facebook