PNG’s National Control Centre for COVID-19 confirmed 25 new positive cases of COVID-19 today, 24 from the national capital and 1 from Bougainville.

The positive COVID-19 case in Bougainville is a 22-year-old student who travelled from Port Moresby to Bougainville recently. More details of the youth will be announced later following contact tracing.

“Effective contact tracing by the provinces have indicated that the transmission was from people who had recently been in Port Moresby. These include the confirmed cases of Bougainville, Western, West Sepik and Southern Highlands provinces who have been contacts of cases who have been in Port Moresby,” said the Deputy Controller of PNG’s National Control Centre for Covid-19, Dr Paison Dakulala.

The total COVID-19 cases in Papua New Guinea now stands at 188 to date.

Bougainville is about 40km from the Shortland Islands, the Western region of the Solomon Islands. 

Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare had placed a ban on border movements in early April. It was an emergency order declared under the country's Covid-19 State of Public Emergency.

The Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) and other law enforcement agencies have been increasing their presence at the Solomon Islands – Papua New Guinea common border region.

The Shortland Islands and Bougainville share common ancestry, with similar cultural practices and traditions. There are strong family links, and, prior to the restrictions imposed by both national governments, many traversed the border area frequently, engaged largely in trade.