Thursday 30 April 2020
Eight stranded Papua New Guinean citizens and two Japanese nationals arrived at Jackson’s International Airport from Narita, Japan. early this morning
They were uplifted on the return leg of Air Niugini Flight PX 9055 chartered by Japanese company Dai Nippon Construction, repatriating 56 Japanese and Filipinos to Japan on April 28, 2020.
The 10 passengers were welcomed on arrival by Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Hon. Patrick Pruaitch, Secretary Ms. Barbara Age, and Deputy Secretary Operations and head of DFAIT COVID Team, Mr. John Yamin.
They were then tested, processed through the normal Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) checks and then bussed off to the designated hotels for 14 days quarantine.
As per the SOE Controller’s instructions, strict health and security protocols will be observed and set in place during the 14 days quarantine period.
Minister Pruaitch told the media present this morning that this is the first repatriation exercise under the Government arrangement through our bilateral partners.
He thanked the Japanese Embassy and Dai Nippon Construction Company for the generous assistance to uplift the stranded Papua New Guineans and Japanese citizens from Japan.
He further added; “to date, there are about 763 PNG citizens stranded citizens from 25 countries who are either working, studying, seeking medical treatment or living abroad”.
“These are people that have actually made contact with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade COVID-19 Team and our overseas diplomatic missions and consular posts seeking assistance to be evacuated. There could be more out there who wish to come home.
“As days draw by, and in the coming weeks we hope to bring home the remaining stranded PNG citizens,” Minister Pruaitch said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) is currently in contact with the stranded citizens, as well as with respective PNG Diplomatic Missions and Consular Posts overseas to firm up on the numbers of citizens abroad.
DFAIT is further collaborating with the National Department of Health to finalize ground works, ensuring proper protocols are in place to carry out the repatriation exercise of the PNG citizens overseas as well as to effect strict quarantine processing prior to these citizens being released out to join their families and or employers.
“State cannot absolve its responsibility to its stranded citizens overseas, which means Papua New Guinea cannot neglect its responsibility towards its citizens abroad and expect another country to take up that responsibility,” Mr Pruaitch said.