2 April 2020 : Controller of the State of Emergency and Police Commissioner ,David Manning has issued Five Emergency Orders for immediate implementation on International and Domestic Travel, Business Operations and Social Gatherings, Provincial Coordination, Continuance of Public Utility Services and Government Employee Protection.
In the orders issued, it has stated that in this period of the National Emergency, all aircrafts and vessels are not allowed to enter Papua New Guinea. The order also stated that no person is permitted to board an aircraft or vessel bound for PNG unless he or she is a health worker or persons assisting in the delivery of health services, or with the purpose of assisting PNG with its response to COVID-19 and or Military and Police Personnel and or has provided an exemption in writing by the Emergency Controller.
“All persons who have come into PNG since March 7, 2020, must report through call or text to 1800 200, and those who entered the country from March 30, 2020 must self-isolate for a period of 14 days.
“Travel from one province in PNG to another is not allowed as well as transporting cargoes unless it’s authorised by the Emergency Controller”.
Essential Service Providers such as Medical and Health services, banking and financial services, grocery shops and super markets, manufacturers, telecommunications services, public utilities and fuel stations shall continue to operate.
Mr Manning stated in this order that all these services are ordered to adopt and implement safe work practices including limiting the number of employees in the workplace and or adopting alternative work arrangements.
Other venues such as gambling and night club activities and services, sports clubs and venues selling tickets to patrons to be spectators of sports, musical or cultural events must immediately close for the duration of the National Emergency period.
The order stated that selling, purchasing and transporting of areca nut also known as betelnut is not permitted.
“The Controller or Authorised Officer may implement measures to control overcrowding and social distancing, sanitation, hygiene and public awareness.
“An immediate ban is placed on gatherings of over 100 people.
Commissioner Manning said, all Emergency Orders issued under the National Emergency apply to all provinces in Papua New Guinea.
“All Provincial Administrators appointed as Authorised Officers pursuant to the Emergency Laws will be responsible for the implementation of the Emergency Orders in the respective provinces. In the case of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, the Chief Secretary of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville Government shall be responsible”.
He said all Provincial Coordination Centre shall be set up within each Provincial Government and shall be managed by the Provincial Administrator and will facilitate the implementation of Emergency Orders to ensure full adherence in the provinces.
The Centre shall be supported by local law enforcement, health authorities and other relevant bodies who shall be Authorised Officers appointed pursuant to the Regulation.
The Centre shall be responsible for the enforcement of measures contained in the Emergency Orders, public awareness and shall report on all matters on all suspected cases of COVID-19, all cases showing the symptoms, measures taken by relevant health authorities and medical experts and instances of non-compliance with the Emergency Orders.
Commissioner Manning said Provincial Governments may continue to regulate matters not expressly contained in the Emergency Orders, however must continue to observe safe health and hygiene practices recommended to prevent COVID-19.
The orders further stated that provincial authorities may take additional measures such as imposing curfews or fines to implement the Emergency Orders only after the Emergency Controller has given his authorisation.
He strongly advised that Provincial Governments and Provincial Coordination Centre shall not make any media statements regarding the National Emergency, unless authorised by the Emergency Controller.
In the orders, the essential public utility services such as electricity, water, sewerage and garbage, postal services, telecommunications, motor vehicle registration and licensing and fire services shall continue to provide services by taking necessary measures to continue to operate as efficiently as possible during the National Emergency.
The order clearly states that no person shall interfere with the efficient operation of essential public utility services.
Government Employees of the State Services, Constitutional Institutions, Statutory Bodies, State- Owned Enterprises and National Judicial Staff Services shall continue to be paid and shall resume normal duties when the National Emergency ends.
This period shall not be deducted from his or her leave entitlements. It is required that non-essential Government Employees shall work from home and maintain communication through appropriate means.
However essential service providers shall continue to work throughout the National Emergency such as; all health sector workers, immigration and border security, PNG Customs Service, Internal Revenue Commission, RPNGC, PNG Defence Force, Government Payroll Staff, National Intelligence Organisation, Staff of Central Agencies involved in the Emergency Operations, waste collection providers, cleaning services provided to the Government, water and power providers and any other agency required from time to time to provide its service on directions of the Emergency Controller.
Mr Manning stated that non-compliance of the orders is against the law and maybe penalised under the Regulation or other applicable laws.
Only Authorised Officer or officers appointed by the Emergency Controller pursuant to the Regulation, shall carry out and enforce the Emergency Orders accordingly.