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Fronteira terrestre Timor-Leste. Fronteira terrestre Timor-Leste.

IGC Urges Timor-Leste Government to Close Borders Amid Global COVID-19 Delta Virus Surge Featured

DILI: Timor-Leste’s COVID-19 taskforce urged the government on Thursday to close the country’s land and sea borders  for two weeks in response to a surge in COVID-19 Delta Virus cases in neighbouring countries.

The Coordinator of the Integrated Centre for Crisis Management (IGC), Donaciano Costa Gomes, told reporters Timor-Leste must immediately suspend travel in and out of the country based on spiralling Delta virus case numbers in Indonesia and Australia.

Gomes also said health fences should remain in Dili and Baucau and that all foreigners entering Timor-Leste must be checked for COVID-19 even if they have been fully vaccinated against the virus to prevent further virus spread.

Indonesia this week reported record daily COVID-19 infections of more than 20,000 in recent days, in a new wave of infections fuelled by the emergence of highly transmissible Delta virus variant, the ABC reported.  In Australia, most states are in lockdown after cases of the Delta virus were detected nation-wide.

Fidelis Leite Magalhaes, President of the Council of Ministers, said people should take responsibility for their own health and others by adopting good hygiene practices, wearing facemasks and complying with social distancing rules

“Especially in this moment as this new variant travels fast as we have seen in our neighbour countries,” Magalhaes said.

The border closure request comes as Timor-Leste on Tuesday recorded its 23rdCOVID-19 related death, a 60-year-old woman who died in Dili. The woman had a history of diabetes and cancer, Timorese authorities announced.

As of Wednesday, Timor-Leste has 8,360 active COVID-19 infections.

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