Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS, Jelta Wong, has confirmed that the World Health Organisation has declared the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). In this regard, the Health Department will seek funding from Cabinet to buy thermal surveillance equipment to screen people at airports and sea ports for any symptom of the coronavirus.
Former prime minister Peter O’Neill wants the Government to be transparent on what action and preparation has been taken for Papua New Guineans and the country in relation to the global coronavirus outbreak. O’Neill reminded Prime Minister James Marape that “our people need to know if any of our citizens have contracted coronavirus”.
Opposition leader Belden Namah has warned that the coronavirus will spread like wildfire once it enters the country. Mr Namah said this when slamming the government’s lack of urgency in putting in place prevention measures and procurement of equipment and vaccines to be better prepared against the deadly virus.
The Papua New Guinea Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says 17 of the 21 PNG students initially reported to have been in lock down in Wuhan were evacuated with the assistance of the New Zealand Government. The Department of Higher Education Research Science and Technology will be bearing the cost of bringing back the 17 students from New Zealand to PNG after the 14-days quarantine period.
State of alert declared for East Sepik on the outbreak of coronavirus. Dr Clement Malau said they are adamant in protecting the people of East Sepik from the coronavirus and they are not paying attention the Chinese only but those that are at risk of spreading the virus.
Any PNG citizen in the West Papua Province of Indonesia planning to travel back to PNG via Vanimo must seek the Consul General’s clearance in Jayapura to return through the Wutung border post by February 8, 2020. After this date there won’t be any more passing through the Wutung border post.
The Ramu NiCo management Ltd has temporarily stopped its Chinese employees from travelling home for their leave because of the coronavirus outbreak.