Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has called for a stronger and more effective cooperation between the National Government and provincial governments.
Speaking during his nation-wide address, the Prime Minister said the first reported case in Bougainville calls for a stronger collaboration between the Government and the provincial governments of the Western, Choiseul, and Malaita province.
“My good people on Friday 7th August 2020, Papua New Guinea recorded its first case in Bougainville, just next door to Solomon Islands. This new development is a serious cause for concern at our western border and the country as a whole,” the Prime Minister said.
Prime Minister Sogavare said as of this morning the number of confirmed cases in Papua New Guinea stands at 214 with three deaths.
He said it is evident that there is now community transmission in Papua New Guinea.
“Fellow Solomon Islanders, we are still COVID-19 free. However, we must not be complacent. If we become careless, we may not remain COVID-19 free for long,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that his office with the support from the Ministry of Health and the National Disaster Management Office had, over the weekend reached out to the Provincial Secretaries of Choiseul, Malaita and Western province to discuss the latest COVID-19 situation across the border.
Prime Minister Sogavare said the Government has issued a joint message through the Chairman of the Oversight Committee with the blessing of the three Provincial Secretaries, requesting all our chiefs, leaders, churches, communities and congregations to take extra care.
“I reiterate would like to reiterate that call and appeal to all of you, my good people in villages along the whole length of our western border in Choiseul and Western province and the Malaita Outer Islands to take extra care to ensure that COVID-19 does not enter through our villages at the border,” he said.
The Prime Minister urged everyone to take extra precaution and practice great responsibility at this time.
“Only our negligence and irresponsibility will put the lives of all our fellow citizens at risk,” he said.