Message from the Head Bishop in response to the Covid 19 threat in Papua New Guinea.
Re-post from Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea
In the midst of the global threat of the deadly coronavirus (Covid 19) I wish to bring this message to the church members and the nation on behalf of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea.
We know that coronavirus is a global endemic and has spread aggressively around the world. So we must be on high alert and take all necessary steps to prevent the disease from spreading in our country.
Our Prime Minster, on behalf of the PNG government has already announced a state of emergency after a first case was confirmed. The evangelical Lutheran Church is in total support of the government’s approach on prevention because the virus has posed great to human life and our survival.
In line with the government’s preventive strategies the Lutheran Church has set up a response team at the national office in Lae. The team has identified the government’s response plan and is working on five priority areas which the church feels is capable of handling. The five areas are:
1. Incident management and planning.
2. Clinical management and health care services.
3. Non-pharmaceutical public health measures.
4. Risk recommendation and community engagement.
5. Partner Coordination.
In line with the government’s directives for the next two weeks we are placing restrictions on the movement of our staff members at the head office.
We are suspending all our theological training schools. We are suspending all church gatherings of more than 100 people. We are suspending all church services on Sundays and encourage family worship and devotions at home.
We are informing our district leaders to convey these important messages to the circuits and our congregations. We are also advising the management of our shipping service to suspend operations for the next two weeks.
While we are taking these steps we will continue to give out relevant messages on health and hygiene practices. We ask our people to practice hand washing, social distancing and restrict their movements. We also urge people to report to the nearest health clinic if they develop any symptoms of cough or other related sickness.
While we are taking these preventive measures we are also concerned that many stories have already been circulated in our communities and cities which are scaring people and causing panic. We want to inform our people to get the right information from the government and health authorities and not to listen to rumours or stories from the streets.
We encourage our people not to panic from rumours or be scared about the virus. Although the virus is more deadly and aggressive it is one of the many diseases we have encountered in human history. So we encourage our people to take the situation as it comes and remain calm.
Our strong advice is to take the preventive measures seriously because once it spreads the impact on our families, communities and our entire nation will be severe or devastating.
The focus of our efforts now is on prevention. Prevention is the responsibility of everyone. We appeal to everyone to take this message seriously and not to become ignorant of the consequence the virus will have once it spreads and affects our nation.
Finally, I want to inform everyone that the task of prevention is a matter of urgency right now. So I appeal to everyone to take part in the preventive action. The fight against Covid 19 needs a collective action. Through this we can successfully save our people and our country from the deadly disease.
Be responsible and take the challenge of Covid 19 as a time to defend and save our country.
Rev. Dr Jack Urame
Head Bishop – ELCPNG
Listen to the Kristen Redio Audio recording of the statement including further remarks of the General Secretary (2.7Mb):