The PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority (PNGICA) have ordered for a temporary shutdown of the Wutung Border post in Vanimo, West Sepik Province, following the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.
The order will come into effect tomorrow (January 30), however, EMTV News has confirmed the Wutung Border post has been shut down today with people advised not to travel to Wutung or the Batas Market.
With the shutdown, quarantine checks are expected to be set up on both sides of the border before anyone is allowed entry.
Orders were also issued to have all online visas suspended including visas on arrival, refusal for entry for travelers from any Asian ports and all PNG Nationals re-entering PNG from Asian countries to go through mandatory checks and health department requirements.
While many have criticized the Government’s slow response to have quarantine checks established in all ports of entry around the country, the Opposition Leader and Vanimo-Green MP, Belden Namah, slammed the National Government for its slow response since news of the outbreak.
“The chance of an infection to pass unnoticed is very high because of the lack of health facilities and health care professionals. I want the health minister to give assurance that proper facilities will be set up at Wutung, given Indonesia’s prompt response on their side of the border,” said Namah.
The order to shut down the border comes hours after East Sepik Governor, Allan Bird, issued a ban on all Chinese Nationals to enter East Sepik Province.
A similar ban is also expected for West Sepik Province.
By Stanley Ove Jnr – EMTV News – Port Moresby