The OSOCC for Western Border COVID-19 operation has been set up at Nila, Shortland Islands and is now operational as of 1st November, 2020.
A statement from the National Disaster Council (NDC) said Provincial Emergency Response Team (PERT) members from Choiseul and Western Province Provincial Disaster Committees and supporting government agencies will be deployed on rotational basis to maintain the operation of OSOCC.
“COVID-19 Oversight Committee directed the National Disaster Operations Committee (N-DOC), to establish a hub for government joint operations at the Solomon Islands/Papua New Guinea border, and the OSOCC is the hub.”
“Another key role of OSOCC is to provide the linkage with Fauro, Alu and Mono (FAMOA) Council of Chief. It emphasizes community liaison concept- inclusion of chiefs, village elder’s support and linking government supporting agencies,” the NDC statement said.
“OSOCC will be an avenue for multiple hazard now that we enter the annual cyclone season,” it added.
Under funding by Australian Government through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the building accommodating the OSOCC was secured from the Roman Catholic Diocese in Western Province. UNDP also procured office stationeries and equipment. The Government through the NDC will fund the operations of the OSOCC.
Police still maintain safety and security on the Western border with PNG given the potential high-risk area of importation of COVID-19 through illegal crossers from both sides of the border.
In the meantime, seven villagers from Harapa and Komaliae were apprehended by Police and are currently held at Nila Hospitals’ isolation wing after breaching the emergency regulations by after coming in close contact and interaction with Bougainvilleans at the border. The Government remains committed to implementing appropriate and strict measures to prevent the further importation and spread of COVID-19 into our communities.