Monday, 7 December 2020
The Controller of the COVID-19 National Pandemic Response and Police Commissioner, David Manning, has commended Papua New Guineans for their resilience, patience and understanding amidst the Coronavirus pandemic that brought the entire global community to a stand-still.
“Despite this being a legacy operation for PNG, we have come out better from this experience and official reports have placed the country amongst those that have reacted well to mitigate the pandemic in the early stages up to now.
“We were the first and only country to declare a State of Emergency and then transitioned into a new normal under a National Pandemic Act,” Mr Manning said.
He welcomed the global Resolution on COVID-19 Response released by the World Health Assembly at its 73rd Session, which concluded on the November 13.
WHA resolution basically confirms that PNG is on the right track as far as the containment, mitigation and recovery is concerned under COVID-19.
The Member states including PNG in the recent 73rd WHA Session have decided that the current global declaration must remain and COVID-19 response should continue beyond 2020.
“PNG must take this opportunity to address improvements within the government systems, not on health alone but other sectors including the economic and security space.
“We have managed well as a country in 2020 under extreme stress and this has indicated very well in the role of the National Pandemic Act 2020 which has delivered on many expectations dictated in the 73rd WHA Assembly Resolution.
“In the economic space we have fared well with the balance of trade in our favour with some of our traditional partners.
“When airlines around the world collapsed, we have maintained our national airline as well as kept all other airline operators afloat.”
He added the shipping industry in PNG has done well and is set to increase its operations and volume in the new year. These are all positives for PNG under COVID-19.
“Further, I am pleased to see positive comments from the international media that PNG is amongst a few countries that have responded well to COVID-19.
“In September, the World Health Organization said PNG was “taking the threat of the pandemic seriously” and praised the government for “strengthening the country’s health system and engaging communities to keep them safe from the virus,” he added.
Mr Manning said this was a credit to the Marape Government for taking immediate steps to protect the country from the global pandemic that had, to date, claimed the lives of more than a million people worldwide and seven in PNG.
“The success of our response to date is also due to the dedication of our frontline response workers including those in the health sector.
“As Christians we must acknowledge that all credit for our situation must ultimately go to our heavenly Father.
“God has blessed and protected us from this pandemic. Whilst we do not have enough health facilities and the resources, He has kept COVID-19 at bay.”
Mr Manning says the COVID-19 National Control Centre will continue to address the COVID-19 pandemic and explore all avenues to assist the people live a normal life under the new situation.
Meantime, the National Control Centre will hold a National Summit early next year to assess how the country has managed the pandemic and prepare a report to the government as to how best PNG can move forward amid COVID-19.
The focus of the summit is on response, mitigation and recovery and how PNG can continue this beyond 2021 through a collective health response, while promoting sustainable development and a digital pathway for PNG.
Mr Manning believes technology has proven to be very handy and reliable through this Pandemic period and as a country, PNG will continue to harness the role of technology.
“Sustainability is important and underpins an important aspiration to ‘Build-Back-Better’ based on more responsible practices.
“This is an important summit and all stakeholders in the country including Provincial Administrators, Provincial Health CEOs and Provincial Police Commanders will be in attendance.”
The summit will run for two weeks, and will also involve the collective effort of all including the government, business houses, and donor partners.
“We are doing our best to restore normalcy. We will continue to observe trends worldwide and within the country so our medical and health advice remains that we must continue to observe rules and protocols to manage COVID-19.
“We will, where possible, open up the economy and business, relax some measures and allow for normalcy by building back better,” Mr Manning said.
He says as the festive season returns, all citizens must remain cautious and sensitive towards COVID-19 and to maintain the basics of social distancing, avoid crowding, wear masks and continue to wash and or sanitize hands while the Health department continues their surveillance and monitoring.
“Despite the results in PNG where there are very minimal deaths and high rate of recoveries the country must maintain vigilance and strengthen our efforts to ensure COVID-19 does not seriously affect the country,” Mr Manning concluded.
Media contact: Chief Superintendent Dominic D. Kakas, BEM, DPS
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