By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
NINE alleged illegal border crossers have been quarantined for 14 days in Vanimo after crossing into West Sepik from Indonesia, West Sepik police commander Chief Insp Moses Ibsagi says.
He said three Indonesians and six vanilla sellers from East Sepik were arrested by police and then isolated by the West Sepik provincial health authority.
“Six vanilla sellers from East Sepik were arrested in Vanimo on Saturday after returning from Jayapura with K85,000 after selling their vanilla beans while four Indonesians were arrested in Aitape last week while on some unknown business trip,” Ibsagi said.
Ibsagi said that they had arrested the vanilla sellers at Dapu, outside Vanimo town after a tip-off.
“These vanilla traders from the Wingei area of West Yangoru had returned from Jayapura on Thursday after crossing into Jayapura on March 22. These people, especially the vanilla traders, are not taking heed of the national government’s awareness on the dangers of Covid-19.
“It is a very serious matter and these vanilla traders are more concerned about money than lives of eight million people of PNG. Right now there are 22 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Jayapura city but there are still unreported cases and the PNG kina notes they had obtained in Jayapura could be contaminated with the virus because it stays on the surface of the notes.
“When they bring it back to PNG, it will be circulated through buying and selling of goods or services and that’s how the virus can easily spread among the people. And we are going to take harsh action on these vanilla traders.”
Meanwhile, four Indonesians were reported to be in Warapu village, Aitape.
Ibsagi said they escaped with the help of the villagers before police arrived to arrest them but while enroute to Jayapura, their boat capsized at the mouth of River Otto and they swam ashore.
Three of them were arrested by police while one escaped.
Ibsagi said the three were now in quarantine and would be charged after completing their period of isolation.
Church holds service online for parishioners
THE Boroko Baptist Church is using online technology to allow parishioners to watch Sunday mass.
Pastor Julian Kivori said now more than ever people needed to be hearing the word of the Lord amidst the uncertainty created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said by using online meeting technology last Sunday, his congregation was able to come together to sing and worship while abiding by the country’s state of emergency rules.
Kivori believes that with over 40 devices connected, all from the safety of their own homes, he was able to minister to more than 100 people and still maintain social distancing.
“All that our congregation needed was some data on their phones, tablets or computers and the
ability to get online,” Ps Kivori said.
“I sent them an online meeting invite and we were able to come together. We will continue this method for the remainder of the lockdown period.
“We welcome all to our service next Sunday and the meeting invite will be posted on our website, or you can also contact the church on email@example.com.”
Kivori said embracing technology and coming up with solutions to still continue offering the community and country through these challenging times was what all Papua New Guinea community organisations could do and Boroko Baptist Church had met this challenge head on.
With other countries having lockdown periods of one month or more, Boroko Baptist Church is already planning the possibility of an Easter in lockdown.
Italian couple ordered to stay on board after sailing into city
By SYLVESTER WEMURU
AN Italian man and his wife who sailed into Port Moresby on a yacht have been ordered by PNG Customs to quarantine themselves for 14 days and they will be monitored by police and Customs officers.
The couple’s yacht is anchored near the Royal Port Moresby Yacht Club and is under constant watch.
Port Moresby Water Police officer-in-charge Snr Sgt Justus Baupo said the couple were told to self-isolate for the 14 days because they had come into Papua New Guinea from another country.
Baupo said after getting information on the yacht’s arrival, his division was advised by police headquarters to check it and determine who was on board and where it had come from.
After a police check on Saturday, the Italian couple were found to be the sole occupants and ordered by Customs officials to stay on their boat for 14 days as a health and safety measure during the coronavirus state of emergency lockdown.
Baupo said the couple were also advised not to come in contact with anyone and stay away from fishing areas and islands.
He said after the quarantine period the couple would be tested and if cleared of Covid-19 would be allowed to berth at the yacht club marina.
He said water police like the other police officers on land conducting road checks, they were also out at sea patrolling and monitoring the movement of people during the state of emergency.
Baupo appealed to the public to report any suspicious movement of boats during the lockdown period.
“I want the people to assist the police to report any suspicious movement of boats because the government has announced the 14-day lockdown which started last week and everyone must now follow that and stay home instead of moving around.”
He said it was challenging to patrol the sea and monitor boats in the NCD because of a shortage in manpower.