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.