Sunday, 14 June 2020.
The Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, says the PNG COVID-19 National Operations Centre (NOC19) will remain after the State of Emergency lapses on Tuesday 16 June 2020.
He said with the introduction and passage of the National Public Health Emergency Bill, the NOC will still function to ensure work is carried out to stop the spread of the COVID-19 disease from re-entering from the border provinces and spreading to other parts of the country.
“The NOC will remain and operate under the new Public Health Emergency Bill and new normal after the SoE and emergency orders cease to operate.
“A new Controller will be appointed from within the Public Service once the COVID-19 SOE lapses and the Police Commissioner will revert back to do his constitutional functions as Commissioner of Police.
“However in the mean-time Controller David Manning will remain in charge of the NOC operations,” he said.
Prime Minister Marape says the National Health Emergency Bill before Parliament is to protect the country and not for other ulterior motives as misconstrued by political and social commentators.
“I as the Prime Minister Marape nor the Commissioner of Police or the Marape-Steven Government designed the new law for other self-serving reasons.
“It was drafted by some of our own Papua New Guinean lawyers and health experts with advice from the National Department of Health for the sole purpose of protecting our country when the COVID-19 disease re-enters and when the emergency orders are relaxed after the SOE stops.
“We don’t want the COVID-19 virus from entering the country via our borders and spread to the urban areas.
“That is why the National Operations Centre (NOC) will remain in place and support by giving more powers to the Provincial Operations Centres with support from the Provincial Health Authorities (PHAs).
“Some of the SOE orders will be lifted and relaxed and life will go on as normal and no one police of security officials will stop the rights of citizens from doing things,” he said.
Prime Minister Marape said everyone must practice social distancing, personal hygiene and follow the laws and live with COVID-19.
“The new law is to protect the country and not to disguise it for benefits by some group of people or the Government. It was designed with experiences from COVID-19 to protect our citizens in PNG,” said Prime Minister Marape