Controller Manning issues Emergency Order 16 following additional five new COVID-19 cases

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There are now a total of seven persons who have contracted COVID-19. All seven persons are being attended to by the health authorities.

The first imported case, a male adult Australian is now in Australia and has recovered. The second and third were a 40-year old female and 35-year-old male, both from the East New Britain Province. Both have also recovered.

Three of the new confirmed COVID-19 cases are from the Western Provinces. They are being attended to by the Rapid Response Teams that were sent to the border provinces.

The seventh confirmed COVID-19 case is a female from the National Capital District. She was among a number of frontline responders subjected to random sampling conducted on April 9. Her results came back on Thursday April 16 as positive, forcing the lockdown of the National Operations Centre where she worked in from time to time. A second test done on her on Thursday came back negative today.

“Hers was among the 121 samples taken on Thursday from the NCD including Prime Minister James Marape, Health Minister Jelta Wong, Police Minister Bryan Kramer, Health Secretary Dr Paison Dakulala and myself,” Mr Manning said.

A total of 125 samples were collected from the Manus Province (1), Gulf province (3) and NCD (121). All these have come back negative. An additional 12 samples taken from East New Britain also returned negative.

Over 300 samples were collected yesterday including five members of the family of the first NCD case and will be sent to Brisbane tomorrow for testing.   “The Western Province and the National Capital District are now confirmed as provincial COVID-19 case,” Mr Manning said.

The Emergency Controller by virtue of the Emergency (General Provisions) (COVID-19) Regulation 2020 (Regulation) and other Emergency Laws, issued a 9pm to 6am curfew for the NCD, Western and Central provinces until 11.59pm on 30th of April 2020.

Under Emergency Order 16 no person shall be allowed outside their dwelling places unless to seek urgent medical assistance, in case of an emergency or is an exempted person under schedule 1 of this order. Exempted persons include any of the following persons on duty:

  • Police personnel;
  • Defence Force personnel (and their contractors);
  • Flight crews, cargo vehicle crews, vessel crews, flight engineers and technical crews;
  • Licenced security companies – restricted to personnel providing security services;
  • Essential public servants;
  • Persons working on COVID-19 response;
  • Health workers or persons assisting in the delivery of health services;
  • Emergency personnel and support staff;
  • Diplomatic personnel with diplomatic travel documents or passports;
  • United Nations personnel;
  • World Health Organisation personnel; and
  • Other essential service providers authorised by the Emergency Controller from time to time. Other instructions in Emergency Order 16 include:
  • Prohibition of all forms of gatherings, except for markets listed in schedule 2 of this order, supermarkets, fuel stations, sea ports, airports, hotels, banks, pharmacies, healthcare providers and shops licensed to trade may remain open;
  • Restaurants may remain open but shall only serve takeaway food and nonalcoholic beverages;
  • Customary gathering are limited to four or fewer persons;
  • All persons must adhere to social distancing requirements and safe hygiene practices;
  • Prohibition of all forms of public transportation including taxis;
  • Private transport is allowed including hotel and security transportation;
  • Prohibition of the sale and purchase of alcohol;
  • Prohibition of public consumption of alcohol;
  • Prohibition of domestic flights within PNG except flights with the written approval of the Emergency Controller or his delegate;
  • Venues and parts of venues within PNG must immediately close for the duration of the National Emergency that provide gambling and services, night club and pub activities and services, sports and sports clubs and venues selling tickets to patrons to be spectators of sports, musical or cultural and religious services includes church;

“I call upon the public to understand the rationale and importance behind this Emergency Order which I am now issuing. The coronavirus does not move by itself. People move it and by restricting the movement of people we will stop its spread.   “We have taken into consideration the need for some normalcy to be maintained during this period as well and have factored this into the order.   “So whilst we take these measures to prevent the spread in the public space I call upon everyone to adhere to the simple key health messages that we have been promoting:

  • Wash your hands regularly;
  • Keep safe physical distancing;
  • Cough into your elbow;  Do not touch your face, mouth or eyes; and
  • Please stay at home if you have no reason to go out. “Stay calm and observe the directions we will be issuing from time to time as we assess the situation,” Mr Manning said.
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