24th April 2020: Controller of the State of Emergency, David Manning this afternoon, addressed Papua New Guineans on government’s efforts in responding to COVID-19.
Part of his statement is as follows:
The government cannot do it alone. It is through the efforts of individuals, communities, churches, business partners, development partners and all government agencies that has brought us this far.
We are fighting an invisible enemy; an enemy that is greater than us and the world too. It has affected and caused the loss of many lives in many countries, which have good healthcare systems.
We have confirmed eight cases to date and no deaths. This goes to show that despite our weak health systems, we have mechanisms in place to contain the spread of COVID-19. And this would not be possible without you all.
As of today, statistics shows the world has confirmed 2,544,792 confirmed cases and recorded 75,694 deaths.
The pandemic has reached 213 countries including Papua New Guinea and other Western Pacific countries of Australia, Philippines, Singapore, New Zealand, Guam, French Polynesia, North Mariana Islands.
In Papua New Guinea, we continue to ensure that our people are protected as we continue to increase the supplies of Personal Protective Equipment to our front liners.
We are increasing testing kits and testing capacities for our laboratories. We are also ensuring that contact tracing for the confirmed cases are ongoing and tests are done, and results released on time.
In the past week we have been sending samples to Australia for testing. We have tested 1,150 samples from NCD, Western Province, Manus, ARoB, East New Britain and Eastern Highlands.
All these samples have returned negative as of 2 pm today. These include second samples for the 3 confirmed cases of Western Province, ENB and NCD.
We are aware of the challenges in these trying times and have worked with all government agencies to ensure that we resolve issues in the best interest of our people and our economy.
As of 6pm today, all:
- Flights restrictions into and out of Rabaul are lifted and the Port of Rabaul to be re-opened as a designated international shipping port.
- Public transport is to be re-opened with operators to continue with hygiene measures of hand sanitizer, regular sanitizing of seats and social distancing of 25-seater PMV allowed up to 15 people and all other transport to 5 less than licensed. Taxis are permitted 2 passengers.
- Flight approvals for travel within and between non-restricted provinces are to be maintained by the airline operators who will supply passenger details to the National Operations Canter. Passengers are required to complete a domestic travel form. Flight approvals for Western and West Sepik provinces will be approved by the NOC.
- The curfew within NCD, Central and Western Province will be amended to 10pm to 5am.
- Restaurants will open with social distancing measures and hand sanitizer for patrons. Alcohol is permitted to be sold for consumption on the premises ONLY.
- Places of worship for local services are permitted with hygiene protocols in place, including supplying hand sanitisers, sanitization of seats and social distancing of 1 meter. National and provincial religious gatherings or outreach programs, including conventions and crusades are not permitted.
I am calling on all government agencies, including the key economic sectors to allow essential staff to return to work immediately.
We will not allow our children to suffer. We are therefore opening schools next week. All tertiary classes began on Monday 27 April. Secondary and upper and lower primary schools will begin on May 4.
The Department of Higher Education, Research Science and Technology have sent guidelines for schools and teachers on how to apply COVID-19 prevention measures in schools.
Again this is optional for parents and guardians whether to send their children to school or not.
As a country we can do this together, we need you to help us help you. We all have a role to play in stopping COVID-19. Help us protect those who are most vulnerable and at risk.
Please stop stigma and discrimination towards people with COVID-19. It will not kill you if you follow simple health measures:
- Wear face masks at all times in public places;
- Wash your hands with soap and water (Practice personal hygiene);
- Main social distancing (stay at least 1-2 meters way from others);
- Sneeze into your elbow; and
- Do not touch your face, eyes and nose.
- Please isolate yourself by staying at home, if you have nothing to do in other places.
Call the National Operations Centre (NOC) Toll Free number 1800200 for medical attention to register your reports.
COVID-19 is here to stay, therefore we must all work together to ensure this does not harm us any further.
Thank you and GOD BLESS.
David Manning, MBE, DPS, QPM
Commissioner of Police &
Controller of the State of Emergency
For media contact: Chief Superintendent Dominic D. Kakas, BEM, DPS
Team Leader – COVID-19 Media & Public Information
Mobile: 75430557 Email: email@example.com