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Port Moresby, PAPUA NEW GUINEA – September 1, 2020: 2:36pm (RNZ PACIFIC): A protest demanding an easing of a Covid-19 lockdown at the Grasberg gold and copper mine in Papua ended last Friday.

Mining operatons had been disrupted since last Monday after protestors blocked access to the mine in the Indonesian province.

Protestors wanted the operator, Freeport Indonesia, to resume a bus service allowing travel to a nearby town, and to give them a bonus payment.

The workers, of whom several thousand have not been allowed to take leave since April, will now be able to leave Grasberg once they have had the rapid screening test for Covid-19 along with temperature checks.

A workers’ representative, Yonpis Tabuni, told Reuters they had reached a deal with management.

Freeport Indonesia had confirmed on Friday the blockades had been removed after the local government gave permission to ease Covid lockdown restrictions.

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus continues to grow in Indonesia where health authorities reported 3,308 new cases in just 24 hours, bringing its total confirmed cases to 169,195.

It also reported 92 deaths, bringing its death toll to 7,261.

The two Indonesian provinces – Papua and West Papua – have reported 36 and 10 new cases respectively in the last 24 hours, bringing the total confirmed cases in the two provinces to 4,517 cases.

West Papua also reported one death, bringing the total death in the two provinces to 55.

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