Today, our Prime Minister Hon. James Marape announced the National Executive Council decision to declare a National State of Emergency, in response to the global coronavirus pandemic. The decision follows the announcement of the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in PNG last Friday.


So what does this mean?


From the lockdown of international flights, announced last Thursday which took effect today, following the first case of Covid-19, the nationwide state of emergency will lockdown travel between Provinces.


This lockdown will provide the Covid-19 National Task Force the opportunity to carryout major surveillance and contact tracing and mass testing  to confirm the extent, if any of the spread of Covid-19 within PNG.


Starting this Tuesday, 24th March 2020, all domestic flights will be restricted to general cargo and the transport of medical supplies and personnel, provision for medical emergency evacuation as well security forces personnel (Police, Defense and CIS). Any domestic travel will be subject to Controller of SOE approval.


All commercial highway PMV’s and Coastal shipping including private travel between provinces will be restricted for the next 14 days commencing from Tuesday.

Highway trucks  transporting garden food and vegetables to market will be allowed.


Essential businesses providing goods and services will be allowed to operate which are shops, supermarkets, fuel stations, private hospitals, local markets, banks, security companies etc. Companies are encouraged to only operate with essential staff, all non-essential staff should be allowed to stay home during this 14 day provincial lockdown.

Tomorrow will be a normal business day companies may use this opportunity to brief their staff and manage their operations for temporary close down over the 14 day period.  

Starting tomorrow, Monday 23 March, all schools will be closed for 14 days and asked to take early holidays; this includes technical and tertiary institutions.

The Government will also put in place  measures to address businesses and individuals profiting during this emergency period. There will be a crackdown on businesses hiking prices as well as individual’s bulk buying food and supplies. 

The Marape Government will be meeting with private sectors tomorrow, Monday 23 March, to assist with carrying out assessment of all businesses providing essential services, stores, supermarkets and markets etc. to ensure there are sufficient supplies for the next 3 months, and supply chains including international orders. This includes mitigating any potential delays in shipping, customs clearance and transport to point of sale.

During the State of Emergency, the Commissioner of Police David Manning has been appointed the Controller to oversee and give effect to the Nationwide State of Emergency.

It is important to note the restriction of movement only applies to travel between provinces while the public is encouraged to stay home they are free to move around to the shops, hospitals and access essentials services. Marape Government will ensure the supply of water and power utilities; urban communities including settlements.

In this trying time, not just for our nation but everyone in the world, we encourage everyone to exercise caution and care. Not everyone in this country is privileged to have running water and access to basic hygiene items and most especially in the urban areas have the ability to purchase food items in bulk but live day to day. 

This will be the ultimate test of our humanity so I would encourage everyone to do the right thing and the actions we take is what we can do for others and not what others can do for us. The measure put in place is to encourage social distancing. 

Help us to help you. 

Starting tomorrow the Controller of SOE David Manning including myself and Minister for Health Jelta Wong will be providing updates twice a day 9am and 3pm. Prime Minister James Marape will be providing updates from time to time and a national address on any major policy changes  or national alerts.