The Bougainville Emergency Controller has re-imposed restrictions on flying into the Papua New Guinea autonomous region in response to a surge of Covid-19 cases on the mainland.

Bougainville has had no reported cases of the coronavirus to date and while a State of Emergency remained in place, people had been able to fly into the region’s Buka and Kieta airports since the beginning of June.

However there have been a spate of cases in the PNG capital of Port Moresby and a recent positive test result in Lae bringing the total number of Covid-19 cases to at least 72.

In response Francis Tokura said that passenger flights into Bougainville could only be approved charter or medevac trips until 13 August.

He said outbound passengers also needed to have prior approval.

Tokura said airlines would also only be able to operate one freight flight each week.

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