By George Herming, Director GCU @ western border
As the country continues to battle the entry of covid-19 into the country, particularly, from neighboring Bougainville in Papua New Guinea, border authorities continue to roll out their prevention and preparedness plans amongst local communities.
A joint operation by police, health, immigration and customs officers continue to maintain high visibility at the border while at the same time activate community interactions and preparedness plans targeted at containing covid-19 once it enters the country from the western border.
Police is maintaining 24-hour high visibility patrols along the red-line which was extended under the emergency zones in July covering Western, Choiseul and Malaita Outer Islands.
Regardless of harsh weather conditions, police has committed its resources to ensure that the country remains covid-19 free by protecting the Western border.
Tactical Operations Commander Inspector Lionel Kapisa said police is determined to make sure illegal border crossings to and from Bougainville which has recorded one positive case so far is controlled.
Last week on Wednesday a Police patrol mission intercepted and detained two Bougainvillean fishermen who illegally crossed into the Solomon Islands waters.
They were later released to Bougainville authorities on Saturday after undergoing institutional quarantine at a makeshift center at Kulitanai police post in the Shortland Islands.
On health, the Solomon Islands Medical Assistance Team (SOLMAT) is also rolling out its community preparedness programmes which include Standard Operation Procedures (SOP) training for police, provincial health workers and village health committees throughout the Shortland Islands.
SOLMAT consists of officers with different expertise which include Risk Communication, Infection Prevention Control (IPC), Quarantine, Environmental health, Immigration, Triads and Isolation, Surveillance, Pharmacy and Logistics.
SOLMAT also conducts training programmes on Personal Protection for police Officers in the last couple of days at locations around Shortland Islands.
The team has been at the frontline that dealt with two Bougainvillean fishermen who were arrested in our waters last week.
Their professionalism in handling the situation has brought community confidence in the joint operation after the men were sent home.
A SOLMAT Logistics team is also on the ground at Nila Health station to complete work on the triad and isolation center there.
Other agencies that maintain active presence at the border are immigration, customs and quarantine.