Government issues new Travel Advisory

The National Government has issued a new Travel Advisory on Monday this week as part of its preparations to open borders by July this year. 

Deputy Secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Mr. Cornelius Walegerea (Left) and Commerce Permanent Secretary and Chaorman of Border Opening Commitee Riley Mesepitu.

Special Secretary to the Prime Minister Albert Kabui announced the new Travel Advisory Number 21 during a press conference yesterday.

Mr Kabui said the new travel advisory reflects some new changes made to the regulations for incoming passengers to the country, and the status and risk profiles of countries that passengers are traveling from.

Deputy Secretary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade Mr. Cornelius Walegerea further explained the changes made during the press conference.

“There are weekly flights coming in from Brisbane for cargo and passengers, subject to quarantine spaces in the quarantine centers. Passengers must be fully vaccinated to be given approval for the flights.

“In terms of pre-departure tests, the government has now reduced the categories of countries and we now only have two which are covid free and covid affected,” Walegerea said.  

He further explained: “This means that if you come from a covid free country, you only need to do one covid test 72 hours before your flight. And for those coming from covid affected countries, you need to do two tests. A RT-qPCR test should be done 72 hours before your flight and a Rapid Antigen test be taken 12 hours before the flight.” 

Mr. Walegera said quarantine periods have also been reduced in the new travel advisory.

“For passengers coming in from covid free countries, you are required to do 7 days quarantine and 1 covid test, and those coming from covid affected, 10 days quarantine and 2 covid tests.”

 The Deputy Fireign Affairs Secretary adds the new travel advisory also provides a provision for home quarantine which requires approval from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

“There is a provision in the new travel advisory and regulation that allows home quarantine, but this must be approved by the Ministry of Health. 

“There are requirements that the Health Ministry has which ensures that residents meet the health standards and requirements before approval, so you have to apply to the Ministry and they will have to come and assess your residence,” he said.

SIBC News understands the new travel advisory is part of the government’s preparations to re-open the borders by July. The Covid-19 Oversight Committee is working on the reopening of borders through the border reopening Committee.  

Chairman of the border opening committee and Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Commerce Riley Mesepitu  said opening of borders depend on working together of all citizens and the Government.

He said the consideration the Government is looking on setting a National Determinative Percentage of the vaccinated population before the international borders are fully reopened. The other factors include compile all Covid-19 protocols for potential visitors and consultation with all key stakeholders.

By Eliza Kukutu 

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