PRIME Minister Manasseh Sogavare has appealed to families and friends from Bougainville to respect the Solomon Islands travel restrictions at the western border.
The Prime Minister made this appeal following the first recorded COVID-19 case in Bougainville last Friday.
He said the new development is a serious cause for concern at our western border and the country as a whole.
“The Government through the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force has since stepped up operations at the western border, and will not hesitate to take action against illegal border crossers,” he said.
The Prime Minister also warned that anyone that aids anyone from the other side, whether citizen or not to cross into our side of the border will face the full force of the law.
“Make no mistake about that. I must emphasize that only carelessness of our own people can weaken our defence against COVID-19,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the ability of our country to keep COVID-19 out from our western border depends on ourselves.
“I plead with you to please do your best to protect our country, our villages, our families and our children – by not letting anyone from the other side of the border to cross and mix with our villagers or families,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare said the western border has been closed by the Government of Papua New Guinea and by the Government of Solomon Islands during this State of Public Emergency.
Therefore, he said anyone crossing the border would therefore be breaking the laws of both countries.
“Fellow citizens, we must come to realise, that the virus has finally arrived at our doorstep and we must be vigilant more than ever. We must not let our guards down and we must brace ourselves for whatever situation that may arise. I encourage all good citizens at the Western border to remain alert, take extra care and be responsible citizens,” Prime Minister Sogavare said in his national address today.
The Prime Minister said the Government will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide timely information and advice to our people.