International Relations. Papua New Guinea press review
The Australian government has announced the provision of ten portable health facilities to support the COVID-19 response in Papua New Guinea. This measure will boost PNG’s health infrastructure capacity. These facilities can be deployed to existing health centres and hospitals and used for support services, including triage and referral, treatment of non-infectious diseases, injuries and prenatal and postnatal care. This will help free up space elsewhere in existing health facilities to treat identified and suspected COVID-19 patients. In addition to boosting health system capacity to respond to COVID-19, these facilities can, in the longer-term, be deployed by the PNG Government to provide much-needed longer-term health infrastructure across the country.
The New Zealand government programme is offering up to 100 per cent subsidy on business advice to the private sector in PNG and the Pacific. This is to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on businesses. The subsidy will assist small and medium-sized enterprises and covers up to 100 per cent of services through the advisers, approved by Business Link Pacific (BLP). The subsidy package would cover services for up to NZ$5,000 (K16,750) per SME.
The United State Embassy in Port Moresby announced that the US Government has committed K4.2 million (USD $1.2 million) to help Papua New Guinea in its COVID-19 response. According to US Ambassador Ms Erin McKee, «the US Government strongly supports our partnership with the governments of Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu in a comprehensive, worldwide fight against COVID-19». Ms McKee also added that in the past 20 years, the United States has invested more than US $52 million in Papua New Guinea’s health sector alone and nearly US$90 million in total assistance.
About 530 PNG citizens in 22 countries are stranded across the globe and have applied to return home. State-of-emergency Controller and Commissioner of Police David Manning said that the National Operation Centre (NOC) and the government was working closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and consular services overseas on the details of their repatriation. According to Mr. Manning, Australia would be the point of transit for all the stranded PNG citizens and these Papua New Guineans would be in isolation for 14 days on their arrival in the country.