43 PNGDF personnel cleared from isolation

Forty-three members of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force who have been in isolation for the last five days since arriving from Kiunga, Western Province, have been cleared.

The group arrived on Wednesday and were in isolation at the PNGDF isolation facility at Camp Aruma in Taurama.

They are the 11 Platoon for Delta Company from the 1st Battalion Royal Pacific Islands Regiment.

They were deployed in April to boost the number of troops along the PNG-Indonesian border in the whole of nation approach to stop illegal border crossers.

PNGDF COVID-19 Task Force Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Raphael Yapu, during the meeting with the group, commended them for their efforts.

“Gentlemen, well done on the efforts along the border in conducting awareness and disseminating information on COVID-19,” Lt Col Yapu said.

“You have to come back to rest and do your pre-deployment training before you deploy again with the rest of Delta Company.”

The contingent has been working alongside members of Charlie Company who are currently on border operations along the southern PNG border to conduct awareness along the border villages and apprehending illegal border crossers.

Lt Col Yapu also assured them that the fourteen-day isolation is the standard procedure applied to every member of the Defence organisation travelling in from overseas or from areas of operation where the risk of contracting COVID-19 is high or where COVID-19 cases have been confirmed.

“The isolation facility has certainly improved from the time the troops from the 2nd Battalion Royal Pacific Islands Regiment were isolated there. You are also not the first to be isolated there. We have just cleared ten PNGDF personnel who were isolated in Australia but were also subjected to isolation here,” Lt Col Yapu said.

Captain Dr Bradley Maniha, who is the Camp Manager of the isolation facility, confirmed that tests were conducted on Saturday.

“We conducted Rapid Diagnostic testing on Saturday and all their results came back negative. So today (Sunday) around 2pm, I cleared all off them and sent them to the single lines,” Dr Maniha said.

The RDT is used to check for antibodies and it gives an indication if the person has come in contact with the coronavirus.

Press release