Solomon Islands police appeal for help to stop covid spread over border

Deputy Commissioner Juanita Matanga
Deputy Commissioner Juanita Matanga ... talking to members of the Kariki community about the surge in new covid cases in neighbouring Papua New Guinea. Image: RNZ Pacific

RNZ Pacific

Police in Solomon Islands say they cannot successfully secure the western border with Papua New Guinea and stop the spread of covid-19 without the help of communities in the Western, Choiseul and Malaita provinces.

Neighbouring Papua New Guinea has had a huge surge of covid-19 cases with numbers now over 5000, including dozens of cases in Bougainville.

Deputy Commissioner Juanita Matanga said the vast area covered by the western border with PNG was too big for the resources and manpower of the Solomon Islands police.

She said the only way authorities could protect people from covid-19 was for people living in the region to stop moving across the border.

Matanga met with communities in the Shortland Islands and surrounding areas last week.

She said police were concerned and while they understood the reasons why people were travelling to Bougainville, people were reminded these were not normal times.

Last week PNG placed a ban on traditional border crossings.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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