People in Eastern Highlands defying Covid-19 measures

Betel nut vendors not wearing masks at the 5-Mile Market outside Goroka town yesterday. – Nationalpic by ZACHERY PER

PEOPLE in Goroka continue to defy public health safety measures intended to reduce the community transmission of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) as cases and death surge in Eastern Highlands.
Betel nut vendors continue to sell along the 5-Mile area west of Goroka town despite the health warnings from authorities.
Yesterday, many refused to wear face masks or observe social distancing.
They set up an informal market in the area after the town’s Suave and Kakaruk betel nut markets were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chief executive officer of the provincial health authority Dr Joseph Apa said awareness campaigns had been conducted but the messages were ignored.
He stressed that social distancing, wearing of face masks and hand-washing plus vaccination were key to stopping the spread of the Covid-19.
He said the situation had not improved in the province after two weeks of the 2pm-8am daily curfews. So it will continue until there is an improvement.
“There are a good number people who have been vaccinated and practising the new normal to support the Health Department and the National Control Centre in fighting the pandemic. However, there are many who disobey and behave contrary to the awareness messages,” he said.
Dr Apa urged the police and law enforcement agencies to come down hard on people not wearing masks or social distancing.
He thanked Governor Peter Numu for advocating vaccination and Covid-19 testing in his Omena village last week.
Numu led a team to the village to announce his plan to have 700,000-plus people vaccinated.