Prime Minister (PM) Manasseh Sogavare has congratulated the leaders and people of the Shortland Islands for recording a 94 percent vaccination coverage since the roll out of the programme few months ago.
Sogavare described this achievement as a “wonderful demonstration of cooperation with Health authorities” as the country continues to battle this deadly virus from entering our shores through the Western border region.
The threat of covid-19 from neighboring Bougainville on the PNG side of the border keeps increasing as the spread in PNG keeps growing.
“I wish to encourage us, that it is our responsibility to keep COVID-19 away. I am happy that chiefs and community leaders have stepped up to ensure community awareness program on COVID-19 is done,” he said.
“It is my hope, that if we work together we will be able to keep this sickness from spreading and infecting our vulnerable people,” Sogavare added.
The Prime Minister said our country is made even safer by the very fact that border communities have worked with authorities to ensure that no crossover is done during this period.
“I want to congratulate the people of Shortlands for the vaccination coverage rate of 94 %. I encourage you all to continue with this wonderful demonstration of cooperation with our Health authorities by taking your second jab,” he said.
Sogavare declared the border region as an Emergency Zone last year and he reiterated that the declaration would remain until advice is given otherwise.
The Prime Minister said he is aware that people along the border region have family ties with those living in Bougainville but he cautioned people to take note of the fact that covid-19 is fatal.
Sogavare encourage Shortlanders to look at the ongoing situation in Papua New Guinea and Fiji to see the seriousness of this pandemic.
“I want to strongly discourage people who continue to cross the border to immediately put a stop to this. By crossing the border and coming into contact with people on the other side, you are effectively putting our people and country at risk,” he said.
Prime Minister Sogavare visited the Shortland Islands mid this week to preside over a historic groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of a new Border and Patrol Boat Outpost at Lofung in the Shortland Islands.