Healthcare. Papua New Guinea press review

The National Parliament of Papua New Guinea (PNG) has passed the Public Health Emergency Act. 70 MP voted in favor, 14 – against. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Justice and Attorney General, Davis Steven announced this to give confidence to the general public, business houses and other stakeholders that the government’s position remains that the current State of Emergency (SoE) will not be extended after it lapses in about a week’s time. «The Bill seeks to provide a practical and effective legislative mechanism for the implementation all necessary measures to detect, prevent the entry of, control the spread of and eradicate a pandemic, outbreak or serious public health threat. Having lessons learned from the current COVID-19 pandemic this is critical for the country» – Mr. Steven said. [1-2]

Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea Hon. James Marape has assured the country that the management of the COVID-19 response will continue under the Public Health Emergency Act when the State of Emergency ends on Tuesday 16th of June. Mr. Marape also noted that it is his view that Police Commissioner David Manning remains as the Controller under the new Act. [3]

In turn, State of Emergency Controller and Police commissioner David Manning has issued an Emergency Order to seize passports of Papua New Guineans who breached quarantine protocols. The passports will be seized for the duration of the SoE. According to Mr. Manning, upon conviction for non-compliance, an application will be made to the Minister for Immigration for the cancellation of their passports. David Manning says that there’re currently 313 persons in quarantine around the country, including the 66 who cannot be traced. As noted by Mr. Manning, while statistics indicated a low community transmission rate, the threat of the COVID-19 is very much real. This means that strict international travel and border surveillance, particularly along the border with Indonesia, will still be maintained. Mr. Manning also says that the border is a concern as almost 100% of new COVID-19 cases in Indonesia came from Jayapura, which borders on Papua New Guinea. [4] The gaming industry has been instructed by the SoE Controller David Manning to remain closed or be penalised with a hefty fine of K50, 000 (US$14,5 thousand) to K500, 000 (US$141,1 thousand). Mr. Manning also noted that if betting shops and nightclubs will open, all operations are to remain closed until the government completes the transition. [5]

Prominent PNG business houses JMart and Patrick’s Transport have given 202 hospital beds to the health authorities of the National Captial District (NCD), Central and the East New Britain provinces. These much-needed health equipment will be distributed to the various health centres and clinics in those provinces. According to PNG Health Minister Jelta Wong, it would be a big boost to the existing health capacity. Each bed costs around K1800 (US$522,5), and will be distributed to the 25 health clinics in Port Moresby and 8 health clinics in Central Province. JMart Managing Director and NCD Provincial Health Authority Board Member Justin Tan said the donation was part of the company’s social responsibility being a large company that employed many Papua New Guineans. Both Mr. Tan and the owner of Patrick’s Transport, Patrick Seeto, who have close ties with East New Britain, having lived there most of their lives, said the donation was a sign of giving back to the country they love. The beds will be distributed to their respective locations in the coming weeks [6] [1] https://emtv.com.pg/2020-national-pandemic-bill-passed/
[2] https://kalangfm.com/news/pm-marape-says-the-covid19-national-operations-center-will-remain-748
[3] https://postcourier.com.pg/state-of-emergency-to-end-on-tuesday/
[4] https://kalangfm.com/news/soe-controller-issues-order-to-seize-passport-of-citizens-who-breach-quarantine-protocols-745
[5] https://postcourier.com.pg/gaming-industry-warned-not-to-operate/
[6] https://postcourier.com.pg/business-houses-donate-hospital-beds/
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