Miners entering B’ville on dinghies

By ROMULUS MASIU

BOUGAINVILLE Covid-19 State of Emergency Comptroller, Bougainville Police Chief and Deputy Police Commissioner Francis Tokura confirmed yesterday that some workers at the Lihir gold mine in the province of New Ireland squeezed into Bougainville via Anir and Nissan Island on speedboats.
Mr Tokura said that as a controller he had received confirmed reports that some workers at the Lihir gold mine in Bougainville were returning home via Nissan Island on outboard motor dinghies.
A very worried Mr Tokura said it was a very serious case, especially when Bougainville’s closest neighbor East New Britain recorded a confirmed case of Covid-19.
Mr Tokura said Port Moresby, Lae and now East New Britain are no longer safe as confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported in all three centres.
For Port Moresby and Lae, the person with the country’s first coronavirus case traveled to both centres. For the province of East New Britain, a 40-year-old man tested positive this week.
“Boats are coming. Lihir gold mine miners are passing through Lihir, Anir, Nissan and Buka through Kessa point,” Mr Tokura said, confirming that he has sent a team of police officers based in Kessa. in the Haku. constituency of North Bougainville.
Mr Tokura has instructed his Kessa team to ensure that no boats enter Bougainville waters from Lihir via Anir and Nissan or anywhere else for that matter.
Mr Tokura said with the case now confirmed in East New Britain province, people in Bougainville need to be proactive.
“I continue to ask you people of the Bougainville coastline to report any boat or vessel entering the area. We have to be responsible, we have to be proactive during this time of Covid-19 SoE,” Mr Tokura said.
The Comptroller said all mine sites including Lihir Gold Mine are high risk areas due to their round trip flight policies, dealing with expatriates especially to other countries.
Mr Tokura is appealing to workers at the Lihir gold mine who have “sneaked” into the area on dinghies to make themselves available and see health authorities undergo quarantine processes.
He added that all employees of Bougainville exploration companies will also be quarantined.

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