The State of Emergency Controller David Manning is expected to announce new protocols in response to the National Government’s fight against the Coronavirus in Papua New Guinea.
A cabinet meeting that will be held today is expected to discuss how education institution will accommodate preventative measures against COVID-19 as students resume classes for the 2020 academic year.
It has been five weeks since Papua New Guinea went into a lock-down as the National Government tries to take stock of the presence of COVID-19 in the country.
However despite contact tracing conducted in at least four different provinces with the screening over 30,000 passengers since January, the government is yet to establish how the first local transmitted COVID-19 case in East New Britain was contracted, no explanation has been given for the case in NCD and now the same questions are asked for the recent COVID-19 case reported in Eastern Highlands.
Prime Minister James Marape during the daily COVID-19 briefing yesterday brushed aside concerns that because of politics and the SOE were extended for two months.
Marape said his government is committed to ensuring there is no community transmission in PNG because of the incapability within the Health System to respond to a pandemic and his government is working on ensuring things return to normalcy at the earliest.
The government is now looking at relaxing SOE restrictions as attempts towards restoring life back to normalcy on a stage-to-stage basis.
This includes the resumption of classes, restoration of public transport services including commercial domestic flights.
“The Controller announce the protocols that are approved by the Cabinet, HAu bai yu kalap long PMV, Hau bai yu wok long wok ples, hau bai yu go long skul, ……………………… because it is important.” Prime Minister James Marape
Since the lock-down in March, all schools through PNG have suspended classes and at least 11 other Emergency Orders have come into effect following the Government’s extended State of Emergency.
But starting this weekend there are talks on restoring public transport services in Port Moresby and the Dust to Dawn Curfew will be moved to 10pm to 6am the next morning.
“Measures that we put in place was for us to conduct contact tracing… that off course will be subjected to cabinet deliberation“ David Manning
For other provinces, the Provincial Task force Teams are at liberty to fine anyone who breaches the Emergency Orders.
Domestic air travel into other provinces apart from East and West Sepik, Western and East New Britain will resume but under stick measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Similar restrictions apply to international shipping vessels and travel by sea said Manning.
“With out current restrictions nationwide, this also in consideration for reducing them also includes domestic travel….especially for domestic air travel just to ensure that we are able to respond in an efficient and effective manner”
Meanwhile as part of the new normal, Prime Minister James Marape has encouraged mothers in the Small to Medium business to sew more as face masks because of the globally shortage in face mask.
“Mia skim ol mama long kantri, husait yu somapim wantem cotton facemasks….to ensure we don’t’ spread this contagious infectious decease
So far, as of Wednesday, PNG has reported its 8th positive COVID-19, and SOE Controller David Manning says in the event that there are more cases reported, there must be protocols in place to ensure the spread of COVID-19 is minimize.
The latest COVID-19 case being a woman from Eastern Highlands who has reported to be recovering and under close monitoring from health officers in Asaro.
From the 8 positive cases, four have recovered from the Coronavirus.
By Theckla Gunga, EMTV News, Port Moresby