EHP Lockdown

Eastern Highlands Province is under siege as the number of COVID-19 cases reach a critical level.

Provincial Controller and Provincial Administrator John Gimisive has issued a number of prevention measures to contain the spread of the virus, as it has already spread province-wide, reaching some of the remotest parts of the province.

Certain restrictions have been imposed.

In the statement released by Gimisive, the number of morbidities and mortalities is increasing every day.

Therefore in line with the National Orders dated 24th September 2021, order no. 3, and by delegated powers vested in the Provincial Controller as per section 16 of the National Pandemic Act 2020, the new measures for Eastern Highlands will take effect this Wednesday October 13, 2021.

Gimisive stated that the following measures will be in place for 14 days, starting tomorrow.

1. Provincial Border Lockdown

1.1 There will be two checkpoints at either ends of the Provincial borders; one at Kassam Pass and the other at Mangiro.

1.2 Health personnel will also be stationed at these two borders to maintain and check for suspected cases of COVID 19.

1.3 NO PMVs will be allowed to pass through EHP for the duration of lockdown. The exceptions are at discretion of police manning the border checkpoints and have adequate medical clearance. However, apart from the driver and the (crew) no other (person) must be in the vehicle.

1.4 Trucks carrying only cargo and medical supplies will be exempted to travel through Eastern Highlands, provided the driver/s produce a negative result at the checkpoint testing centre.

2. District Lockdowns

2.1 Intra-Provincial vehicle movement will be highly restricted. (Persons) travelling into town from the districts will be highly controlled. Conditional exceptions will be made for vehicles with medical emergencies; those catching flights to other centres from Goroka; those picking up inbound passengers from Goroka Airport; small shop owners coming in to pick up supplies.

2.2 Those who wish to travel into town for the above specific purposes must apply for a Lockdown Exemption Pass from the Provincial Police Commander.

3. Public Transportation

No passenger-carrying vehicle will be moving in and out of town unless it has an exemption pass from the Police.

3.1 Only exemption will be for vehicles transporting medical workers, employees of companies, government and other employers in town or within the immediate peripherals of town.

3.2 The only other exempted group is teachers and Grades 8, 10 and 12 students, who will be sitting for exams.

3.3 National Order 10 on public transportation dated 24th September 2021, must strictly apply on the above exempted motor vehicles.

3.4 The New Normal protocols of sanitising, correct application of the face mask, and social distancing, applies to all classes of private vehicles

3.5 Police will not hesitate to deal with those that do not comply.

4. Airlines

4.1 All passengers arriving or departing Eastern Highlands must provide a vaccination card.

4.2 A medical surveillance team will be stationed at the airport during the lockdown period.

4.3 Those without a vaccination card will be subjected to Rapid Diagnostic Testing.

4.4 Those returning a positive test will be subject to quarantine as deemed appropriate by the Eastern Highlands Provincial Health Authority.

4.5 Consideration will be given to passengers arriving on afternoon flights to go home or those that have been cleared to board an afternoon flight. Strictly business travel.

5. Curfew in Goroka and All Other District Centres

5.1 Previous curfew timing of 5pm to 6 am is now revoked. New Curfew timing in Goroka town and immediate peripherals is from 2pm to 6am.

5.2 Provision of Curfew passes is obtainable from the Office of Provincial Police Commander.

5.3 All business operations must close by 2pm and employees sent off by 3.00 pm at the latest.

6. No Public Gathering as per National Orders on HIGH RISK PROVINCES

6.1 All public gatherings of any sort that attracts crowds in excess of 20 are strictly prohibited as per National Order of 14 September 2021.

6.2 Those moving around in public must adhere to the New Normal protocols of correct application of the face mask, sanitising of hands and social distancing

6.3 No markets will be conducted.

6.4 Satellite Markets are encouraged at localities.

6.5 Loitering is prohibited

6.6 Unnecessary spitting in public places is prohibited

7. Schools

7.1 Only grade 8, 10 and 12 will be continuing classes until exams are completed during the lockdown period. Teachers are advised to observe the timing and strict COVID-19 measures, that is, hand sanitising, wearing of masks and social distancing.

7.2 All other classes will be suspended indefinitely. 7.3 Additional instructions will be provided by the Education Advisor.

8. Businesses

8.1 All businesses, regardless, will operate without exemptions between 7.00 am and 2.00 pm.

8.2 Those with specific needs as per the nature of their business operations, must seek exemptions to operate beyond the above times.

8.3 Grocery shops, general merchandising shops, stationery shops and other are not considered as those with specific needs.

8.4 Hotels, motels and guests houses will operate beyond the above hours to cater for their In-house guests only.

8.5 All employers who have more than 20 employees must scale down so that only 20 or less are working at any one time. This is in line with the Order of 24 September 2021.

8.6 Controlled access to any business must prevail at all times with strict adherence to the new normal protocols (face mask, sanitiser, social distancing, 20 or less people at any one time in shop, social distancing etc).

9. Liquor Ban

9.1 Liquor Ban in the province will continue for the lockdown period.

9.2 Licensed restaurants that serve alcohol beverages with meals are exempted.

10. Vaccination

10.1 While vaccination remains voluntary, all citizens of Eastern Highlands Province are encouraged to get vaccinated.

10.2 COVID 19 vaccines are available at all health facilities throughout the province.

10.3 Additional vaccine sites and programs will be announced by the Eastern Highlands Provincial Health Authority.

Gimisive stated Police will enforce the new orders. Failure to comply will be in breach of the Pandemic Act 2020, may attract penalties accordingly.

Press Release