Healthcare. Papua New Guinea press review

The Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea (PNG) Hon. James Marape has assured the nation and the National Parliament that there will be no more COVID-19 lockdowns and people should learn to live with the pandemic. «As we go through this year and next year, we have to adjust to the new normal until such time a cure for the COVID-19 is found, because the Covid-19 not only affects us health–wise but also economically, » Mr. Marape noted. Prime Minister also announced further Health Minister Jelta Wong’s statement on the COVID-19 situation: «This statement will capture the funding, expenditure and new normal going forward. But we will not shut down our country again». [1]

However, a fourth COVID-19 related death has been reported in Papua New Guinea. A 72-year-old man from Mortlock Island (Autonomous Region of Bougainville, ARB) died this month in Port Moresby. [2]

Currently, there have been a total of 419 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Papua New Guinea, including 183 active cases, 323 recovered cases, and 4 fatal cases.
COVID-19 Pandemic Controller David Manning urged the People’s Republic of China (PRC) authorities to clarify their position on the COVID-19 vaccination statement. Mr. Manning in his letter to the PRC’s Ambassador in PNG has demanded the full program and status of the vaccine, including its potential risks. «I am writing seeking your immediate clarification of Chinese government’s position regarding the vaccination statement from Ramu NiCo Management Limited, dated August 10, accompanying Chinese nationals [48] retuning to PNG on August 13 […] The government of Papua New Guinea does not currently acknowledge a vaccine for SARS-COV-2 (COVID-19) and will not do so until an internationally recognised vaccine is approved and endorsed by the PNG regulatory authority and the World Health Organisation, » COVID-19 Pandemic Controller David Manning said. [3]

However, a China state-owned company running the Ramu Nickel mine (Madang Province) in PNG revealed through its subsidiary last week it had vaccinated 48 Chinese employees against COVID-19 in a trial before they flew to Papua New Guinea. PNG’s government said it had not been informed, and is seeking answers from Beijing amid concern that dozens more people with the coronavirus in their system have slipped into the country as it struggles with a surge of COVID-19 cases. Health Minister Jelta Wong marked that that the PNG Government had no choice but to block the next incoming flight of 180 Chinese workers as a precaution. [4]

This move was applauded by opposition leader Belden Namah, who rarely has anything good to say about the Hon. Mr. Marape’s Government. Mr. Namah has expressed concern stating that PNG will not be a testing ground for any vaccine. [5]
[1] https://www.thenational.com.pg/no-more-lockdown-pm/
[2] https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/424292/png-registers-fourth-covid-related-death
[3] https://postcourier.com.pg/manning-wants-clarification-from-chinese-government/
[4] https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/424316/png-s-relationship-with-china-tested-over-vaccine-trial
[5] https://emtv.com.pg/belden-namah-png-is-nobodys-testing-ground/

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