THE Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) is preparing for a deployment to the common border with Papua New Guinea as Solomon Islands continues to protect its borders from the coronavirus (COVID-19) entering the country.
RSIPF officers from Western and Choiseul Provinces including members of the Police Response Team (PRT) from Honiara have been manning the Solomon Islands side of the common border for the past month.
But Acting Police Commissioner Mostyn Mangau said, “Due to the recent announcement that a person from Kokopo village on PNG’s New Britain Island is now confirmed with COVID -19, it has become a concern for our people on our side of the common border because of the closeness and easy movement of people from New Britain into Bougainville.
“For this reason I have instructed that a Forward Command Center be activated in Gizo as soon as the patrol boat GIZO arrives in the Western Province. The Forward Command Centre will work together with the Police Operation Centre set up at the Rove Police Headquarters in Honiara. The patrol boat is expected to leave for the common border region with PNG by the end of this week.”
Acting Commissioner Mangau explained: “The main intention of the deployment down to the common border with PNG, is to enforce a high level of security to ensure a total ban on movement of outboard motors (OBMs) from both sides of the common border as a measure to avoid the COVID -19 reaching our shores through the common border.”
The deployment to the common border region with PNG will include officers of the RSIPF and other law enforcement agencies like Immigration, Customs, Biosecurity and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.
“All these law enforcement agencies including the RSIPF have a critical role to assist the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, who is the leading Government agency in the fight to prevent the COVID-19 from entering the Solomon Islands,” Acting Commissioner Mangau emphasized.
So far there are no positive coronavirus cases recorded in the Solomon Islands.