Two fishermen from Bougainville were arrested and charged for crossing into the Solomon Islands border on Wednesday 26th August, 2020.

Reports from the border says the two man were fishing near Nunungari Island on the Solomon Islands side of the border when they were intercepted by the police.

They were escorted by police to the Kulitanai police post around 10pm (Wed 26th August) and were assessed by the Solomon Islands Medical Assistance Team (SOLMAT) for signs of COVID-19.

The two were kept overnight and are currently being monitored by SOLMAT while awaiting further instructions from the COVID-19 Oversight Committee in Honiara.

The SOLMAT team says all necessary safety protocols were adhered to during and after the assessment of the two fishermen. The police and SOLMAT set up a quarantine station where the two men are currently being held.

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare had signed the Emergency Powers (COVID-19) (Emergency Zone) (Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea Border) Order 2020 on 14th August, extending the emergency zone along the western border running from Shortland through Choiseul to Ontong Java.

The Prime Minister said the increase number of cases in neighbouring Papua New Guinea and the one positive case in Bougainville calls for greater cooperation in our border management efforts.

“Strict control measures to prevent border crossings to and from both sides of the border are necessary to ensure we prevent the entry of COVID-19 into Solomon Islands in light of the situation in neighbouring Bougainville,” the Prime Minister said.

With GCU, OPMC and reports from SIBC