Government to support provinces with COVID-19 response plans

Thursday 29 April 2021

The national government    will  support provinces with   their provincial plans  in response  to addressing Covid-19 issue,   in as far as both  the non-clinical as well as the clinical  side of things is concerned,  to stop  the spread of Covid- 19.

Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape, made these remarks,  during  a  press conference, at APEC Haus this afternoon, after his meeting  with Governors, Ministers, Members of Parliament  Acting Electoral Commissioner Simon Sinai, National Pandemic Response Controller David Manning and other stakeholders.

The meeting generally focused   on Covid-19 response and the 2022 elections.

Mr Marape  appealed to   Governors and provincial governments to  take  ownership  of Covid-19  response, as well as  key national  government  programs, such as the 2022 elections  preparations.

“We  want to empower provinces to partake  or tailor – make  their provincial plans, whether it’s  for Covid -19 or elections or others, in as far as development  is concerned,  going into the future .

“You are now empowered  to step up your own  plans  and send them to us and we will  see how best we can address.

“If  we agreed to those plans,   we will do our utmost  best to ensure adequate vaccination  doses available  to those that  need to be inoculated.

“ We  will also agree to create  minimum 200  new beds  in all our provincial hospitals  in as far as Intensive Care Unit (ICU)  facility is concerned  that should have oxygen  and ventilators attached, Mr Marape said.

Mr Marape further assured the provinces that the  government would   improve  the present 200 beds across the 22 provincial hospitals including the Autonomous Region of Bougainville,  by next year

“Last year , we went on a hard approach when  the first index case  appeared  and the result of almost three months of  shut down lockdown  and strong-hand approach, delayed what could have been the spread of Covid-19 in our country, by about  6 – 9 months to the year.

“And today,  by God’s grace , when vaccines are  available  on market , we’re  seeing this spike and we’re trying   our absolute best  to ensure additional  vaccines  come in to our country.”

Mr Marape  also emphasised that  provinces who are not connected  to the rest of the country by roads, should restrict    unnecessary  travels into the provinces either   by sea  or  air.

“ This is no ordinary time . Papua New Guineans should not be travelling around – if you have no need for  traveling  around , you just  don’t need to travel ,  stay put where you are.”

He however said,   he would  only  accept  travels that  involve     essential needs such as  education    and health, while other travels are restricted.

Mr Marape encourages  provinces , such as Northern,  (Oro),  Manus, New Ireland Autonomous Region of  Bougainville , and others who are not connected  into Port Moresby by road,  to  localize  their own protocols  in as far as management of  people going in and out, to   suppress  Covid-19  from spreading through non-clinical approach.

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