Government imposes 14 days lock down in the National Capital District amidst increases in COVID-19 cases

Monday 27 July 2020

The Government has imposed a 14-day lockdown in the National Capital District, on recommendations from the National Control Centre to prevent widespread community transmission of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

Immediate measures also included those announced recently in regard to the wearing of face masks in markets and other crowded places and restrictions on flights out of Port Moresby.

Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape in his press briefing this afternoon, said  that effective  immediately,  NCC will implement the following additional measures:

  • The National Capital District and Port Moresby will be shut down for 14 days, with a Curfew declared under the Pandemic Act, with only essential businesses to operate.
  • A curfew will be in place from 10pm to 5am.
  • The wearing of face masks will be mandatory in all public places.
  • No gathering in public places – limited to maximum of 15 people.
  • There will be an immediate ban on all domestic flights from Port Moresby, for an initial period of 14 days.
  • Where essential business travel is required, this may only occur after a person has provided evidence of quarantine for 14 days prior to travel, with the cost to be met by businesses.
  • International flights will only be allowed to operate between Brisbane and Cairns and can only be operated by PNG aircraft.
  • Nightclubs will close indefinitely.
  • There will be a maximum limit of 15 people gathering in public places.
  • Sporting activities will be restricted.
  • All businesses will be required to implement COVID 19 protocols to ensure adherence to limitations in numbers and social distancing.
  • Testing in the NCD will be significantly scaled up and targeted.
  • Health authorities will be working closely with Provincial Health Authorities to coordinate testing and other support.
  • There will be a downsizing of the public service with only staff identified by the Department of Personnel Management as essential required to work. Non-essential staff may be asked to assist the NOC when necessary during this period.
  • Increased awareness at the provincial, district and village level on social distancing and other measures to prevent contagion will take place
  • Schools will be close down for 14 days.
  • No PMV buses to operate except for taxis service, with masks.
  • Church services allowed with restrictive spaces, and mask worn at all times. Allow for double services if possible.

Mr Marape  assured  Papua New Guineans  that the Government is acutely aware of the economic impact that the ongoing crisis is having, and that we will continue to identify measures to cushion the economy and provide practical support to business.

“I call on all Papua New Guineans to cooperate with all of the measures I have    outlined today.  All of us must play a role in defeating this terrible virus.

“We must take personal responsibility of our health, your family, your neighbors and your country.

The NCC and the Emergency Controller will continue to keep the public informed over the coming days.

Meanwhile,  Mr Marape said a 35 year old  male , who works with the Department of Health  has died at the Port Moresby General Hospital from a cause yet to be certified by doctors.

In th meantime, Papua New Guinea has reported 62 cases of COVID to date.   51 of those remain active and in medical care.

“ We have conducted close to 10,000 tests, including 535 in the last 24 hours which have revealed 23 confirmed cases, the nation’s capital city.

“We are also continuing to monitor those that present to our hospitals and medical centres with symptoms.”

Mr Marape added  that based on reputable modelling, the number of cases in Papua New Guinea is much higher than that which has been recorded.

“And based on current numbers, we can expect to see a double in the number of cases every 2 to 3 days.

“As a result, we have elevated our nation to stage 3 of the COVID 19, which means we must lift our mitigation and management performance, to stop the spread of the virus, across the country.”

Prime Minister  is repeatedly urging   every citizen  to remain calm and not to panic.

“By washing your hands, social distancing, and staying home unless it is essential, all of us can play our part in stopping the virus from spreading,” he said.

Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape during the COVID-19 press briefing at Morauta Haus, this afternoon

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