Bougainville. Papua New Guinea press review

The Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARB) Emergency Controller Francis Tokura has re-imposed restrictions on flying into the Papua New Guinea autonomous region in response to a surge of COVID-19 cases in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Currently, Bougainville has had no reported cases of the COVID-19. Since the beginning of June people had been able to fly into the region’s Buka and Kieta airports, but there is increasing of COVID-19 cases in PNG. The number of COVID-19 cases in PNG is 163 (as of 7 August 2020), that’s why air traffic was restricted. Mr Tokura said that passenger flights into Bougainville could only be approved charter or medevac trips until 13 August. He also said that airlines would also only be able to operate one freight flight each week. [1]

However, Bougainvilleans are being urged to remain vigilant and to comply with the State of Emergency (SoE) orders in light of the growing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic which has hit Port Moresby. Former Bougainville President James Tanis urged Bougainvilleans within Bougainville and around the country to adhere to the SoE orders so as to mitigate the spread of the virus which is suspected to have already claimed one life in the nation’s capital. Mr Tanis, who is vying for the presidential seat in the 2020 ARB general elections, made this statement while on his campaign trail. [2]

The Bougainville Electoral Commissioner George Manu has sought help from High Commissions and Embassies in Port Moresby to provide monitors for the election starting next week. According to Mr Manu, it was important for the integrity of any election that there be outside observers. Typically, this would be provided by agencies like the Pacific Islands Forum and the Commonwealth of Nations, but with the restrictions imposed by COVID-19, this may not be possible. The election starts on Wednesday next week and is set to run until the 1st of September 2020. [3]

In turn, Central Bougainville National Member of Parliament Sam Akoitai said that more concentration would now be put into business and economic activities in Central Bougainville. The 5-year District Development Plan from 2018 to 2022 was launched by Minister for National Monitoring and Planning and Bulolo Member of Parliament Sam Basil. According to Mr Akoitai, the plan is fully aligned with the National Development Vision, policies and objectives and the ARB Government Strategic Plan. [4] [1] https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/422528/bougainville-limits-flights-again-as-png-wrestles-with-covid-19
[2] https://postcourier.com.pg/bvilleans-told-to-be-vigilant-as-covid-19-surges-in-ncd/
[3] https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/422706/bougainville-wants-monitors-despite-virus-restrictions
[4] https://postcourier.com.pg/economic-activities-priority-in-central-bville-development-plan/
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