A peaceful demonstration was held in Tabubil yesterday by a small group of settlers and locals expressing their concerns regarding the COVID-19 restrictions imposed by OK Tedi.
They say these restrictions have affected school students who have not been able to attend classes for the past several weeks.
When addressing their concerns, OTML Managing Director Musje Werror said the restrictions were necessary to safeguard the health and safety of its workforce, town residents, and communities and to sustain the safe operation of the mine.
“We understand the frustrations but the restrictions and control measures are necessary to stop the spread and prevent the virus from affecting our people and the operations,” says Werror.
Tabubil has recorded a total of 188 COVID-19 cases.
Since the September no positive cases were identified in Tabubil and the 6 recent reported cases were from the nearby communities, three of which were students.
OTML currently conducts a major testing program in the workforce.
All personnel are required to undertake 7 days of quarantine at an Entry Point Centre on-site or in Port Moresby and must return a negative test result prior to commencing work.
Equally, all personnel must return a negative test result prior to leaving the site for their break to ensure they are not transmitting the virus to their home communities.
OTML has also carried out testing on the nearby communities and hopes to increase the community testing program.
“Community testing is critical to determine how the widespread the virus is in the surrounding areas in order to ensure appropriate controls and intervention measures are implemented,” says Werror.
“This includes a Community Isolation Centre which is currently constructed in Tabubil for symptomatic cases requiring additional assistance,” adds Werror.