By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
PAPUA New Guinea Covid-19 Controller and Police Comm David Manning says he is not approving any repatriation of Papua New Guineans from Indonesia because he is suspicious of Indonesia’s Covid-19 protocols.
“I don’t know how the Indonesians are implementing their Covid-19 quarantine on our citizens in Jayapura before repatriating them to the Indonesia-West Sepik border,” he said.
“My office has never received any Covid-19 clearance certificate or other World Health Organisation standard Covid-19 clearance documents for those citizens who have already been repatriated illegally on March 22 and 29.
“And the Covid-19 UK strain that is now spreading in the Indonesian border provinces of West Papua and Papua is much more dangerous than the strain found in PNG.
“If we allow our citizens to return, then PNG will be in grave danger.
“That is why I am not approving the repatriation of our citizens from Jayapura to West Sepik.”
Comm Manning said yesterday that he was disappointed with PNG Consul-General Geoffrey Wiri for illegally repatriating PNG citizens to West Sepik on March 22 and 29.
“If ever we find the UK strain in PNG, then Wiri will be held responsible for the spread of that strain and he will be recalled,” he said.
“He is endangering peoples’ lives in West Sepik.
“Right now, the Vanimo General Hospital has been closed for the past six weeks and only skeletal manpower are manning it for emergency operation.”
Comm Manning said he had allowed the 48 Indonesians to be repatriated on Monday because he trusted the PNG Covid-19 protocol and had them quarantine for 14 days before approving their repatriation.
“But not the three PNG citizens who were repatriated to West Sepik at the same time when Indonesians (whom I had approved) were been repatriated to Jayapura,” he said.
However, Wiri brushed aside comments that the Covid-19 UK strain had not reached Papua yet.
“All our repatriated citizens had been isolated and quarantined under requirements in Jayapura and all of them had been PCR test negative and copies of their certificates had been sent to Comm Manning’s office,” he said. “We have records to substantiate our claim or proof of evidence.
“The documents were sent to West Sepik administrator Conrad Tilau.
Wiri also said that the three citizens repatriated on Monday were handed over to the West Sepik Covid-19 team for further quarantine in Vanimo under PNG Covid-19 protocols.
“I don’t know about the four PNG citizens repatriated on March 22,” he said.
“They went into West Sepik when no immigration officers were at the Wutung border office.
“They could not return to Jayapura because Indonesian border officers could not allow them entry.”
By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK