Bougainville toughens requirements over Covid surge

Amid the growing concerns at the spread of Covid-19 in Papua New Guinea, Bougainville is now tightening the rules.

The regional pandemic controller, Clement Totavun, has issued more control measures in step with moves by the National Control Centre.

Bougainville has increased compulsory contact tracing and Covid testing at triage centres in Arawa, Buka and Buin.

Dr Totavun said their response team will now collect swabs from any patients attending the regional clinics who exhibit flu-like symptoms.

People flying into Bougainville from other parts of PNG must have a negative test result for Covid, to be presented to officials on arrival.

Social distancing is now mandatory in most public situations along with body temperature checks, the use of face masks and handwashing.

Dr Totavun said anyone who deliberately spreads infection could be fined up to K10,000 or $US2,405.

Bougainville's heightened awareness comes as the World Health Organisation has sent out a plea for additional international assistance to help PNG cope with the growing crisis.

The WHO is calling for more emergency medical technicians, EMTs, to be sent to PNG to help.