PRIME MINISTER JAMES MARAPE OFFICIAL PRESS STATEMENT, Monday 23rd March, 2020 | COVID-19 UPDATE

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PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICIAL PRESS STATEMENT

Approved for Release: Monday, 23 March 2020

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1. 14 Day State of Emergency

This is to ensure we have an isolation strategy so that we can pinpoint if the virus is present in our country after the first breach of security.

2. The first case

Has been transferred to Australia fit and well this morning and will undergo further medical test. The results will be made known to the country.

3. First case’s impact assessment

We doing steps retracing for the first case to ensure we have a map of the impact (if any) so we can know correct statistics and put in strategies to deal with the COVID-19.

4. State of Emergency conduct

– Provincial Government through Provincial Administrators, will coordinate with Provincial Health Authority, Provincial Police Commanders as lead agencies to handle awareness, and coordination of prevention and treatment at the provincial level.

– No public travelling from district to district or province to province in country.

– All schools remain shut for 14 days, all day students to stay at home and all boarding schools including universities and colleges are to maintain boarding of students but no classes are to be taught.

– Essential services will be maintained that includes health services, public utilities, banks, shops, fuel stations, police and defence.

– All employers including public services should scale down workers in this period to ensure safe work place from the spread of Coronavirus.

– PNGDF is on standby for call out to assist Police in this SOE period and beyond.

– All spreading false rumours and organising public gatherings will be charged appropriately.

5. Economic Interventions

I have the pleasure of meeting with Central Bank as well as all Banks CEOs plus the two super funds with the view that specific economic interventions be made for employees, individuals and business in our country struggling as a result of this crisis we are in.

CONCLUSION

The COVID-19 has not killed one person yet in PNG; the only person test positive after three tests has left our country in healthy state.

I ask our citizens not to panic; Government will do everything possible to STOP from coming into PNG, STOP from spreading or lastly STOP from killing patients.

But in the first instance now we want to map out our country within the 14 days to see which part of our country is attacked by the virus as a matter of precaution.

Our people are asked to live healthy and clean, and follow.

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PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICIAL PRESS STATEMENT

Approved for Release: Sunday, 22 March 2020 | Press C19/ 22.03.20

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Today based on advise from the Covid 19 National Operation Centre (NOC 19) and National Security Council (NSC) recommendations, the National Executive Council in an emergency meeting has decided on the following measures in light of first positive case of Covid 19 in our country.

This is a national security issue now and not just a health issue but a cross cutting issue including effect on economy, law and order and education of our children amongst other effects. Hence the relevance of the following measures.

So far we have done trace of the person that came into our country and he remains to date our only positive person who is in isolation and recovering but to clearly demarcate our country from spread and for Government to take stock from this bio security breach, we are taking the following measures.

1. Confirm this first case and it’s impact to ensure we contain it’s impact including treating, curing and sending the victim back to Australia.

2. Taking stock of all entry into PNG after 7th of March to ensure all are checked, tested and status of health affirmed. All who have come in or those that have come in contact with those who came into PNG since 7th of March are to report to the hotline below.

3. Declare a State of Emergency for 30 days in which the Commissioner of Police will assume control assisted by a all out placed on military to ensure lawful order, control and response to to SOE control measures.

4. Following on our stop of incoming international flights, we now stopping all domestic flights for the next 14 days starting on Tuesday this week.

5. We direct that as of Tuesday 24th March 2020, no Public transportation of people and no movement from one province to another for a 14 day period. Only approved cargo and medicine and police /military personal will be moving.

6. The Provincial Governors and their Provincial Administrators with Provincial Police Commanders with the respective Provincial Health Authorities will be control points in all province.

7. All heads of departments and private companies are to embrace safe work place practise and non essential staff are asked to stay at home for the next 14 days.

8. Education and Higher Education departments are asked to advance first term holiday as of tomorrow 23rd of March and the next 14 days are to be school holidays.

9. All who have come into the country as from the 7th of March 2020 or those who made contact with those who came into the country from that date please report, call or text to the hotline below.

10. No border crossing by foot or canoe and police /army presence in border areas will be stepped up.

11. Banks and financial institutions and super funds will be mobilised to work with Government on economic packages in this down time.

12. The SOE controller through the office of Prime Minister will be the only official point of releasing statements to public.

13. The SOE controller will issue on details on how citizens and our country respond and behalf in this time and breach of those will be punished as offence in times of emergency.

We have now mapped the country into zones to isolate this virus from spreading.

The mid PNG zone from Morobe and Madang Provinces into the entire highlands , the Central Papua ( including NCD, Central and Gulf), the Niugini Island Zone, the Sepik Zone, the Western Border Zone and the Bougainville Zone.

The SOE commander will delicate the PPCs to police the zones to ensure lawful abiding to this control measures.

We will get through this phase, we ask from corporation from all citizens, residents and businesses houses.

God bless PNG.

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PRIME MINISTER JAMES MARAPE PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT | PNG COVID-19 UPDATE

17 MARCH, 2020.

 

My people, my country PNG,

Yesterday National Security Council met and we elevated the Covid 19 ( corona virus ) to a National Security issue instead of just health issue.

This pandemic is a crosscutting issue that affects social security, health of our country’s population and economy.

And this is not the first health issue and scare and will not be the last so we have been working to ensure proper protocols and procedures are in place so that this covid 19 or future endemics/pandemic has a national response protocols.

Our response thus far and into the future are;

1. Step up on our present surveillance and management at international terminal so we detect infection, (NT: incoming passengers would require medical certification that shows 14 days of isolation) and Jackson’s is our only designated international airport.

2. We are now scaling down flights, as off Sunday next week ( trial for two weeks). And we will cease flights into and out of Hongkong, Philippines, Narita and Sydney, Honiara and Nadi. We will only have controlled entry from Brisbane, Cairns and Singapore.

3. Four ports ( Pom, Madang, Lae and Kokopo ) are our designated betting ports. All passengers and ship hands will go through same checking and registry procedures as air travellers.

4. We have now put military on standby to assist if first case is established. Their medical facilities and officers ( doctors and engineers ) will be looked at as places and personals to be engaged now and for future health pandemics.

They gave Taurama medical centre plus 10 medical personals for use in the first instance.

5. Our health minister has been doing good job so far, his team will report to NSC to ensure that we monitor global situation as well as local effects when and if it hit our shores. Trust account facility has been opened, K13 million has been wired thus far of money allocated and we are meeting weekly to ensure humanly what we can do is being done.

I thank Members of Parliament and Governors who are willing to sacrifice district and provincial funds to assist in this fight.

We will keep on mobilising resources, and World Bank has issued it’s willingness to give us U$20million in assistance.

6. We thank Port Moresby Gen Hospital, and our health personals for stepping up including fixing a quarantine or isolation ward. We also working on an isolation area at 6 mile and looking at other centres outside of city and Port Moresby too.

We are working with PNG institute of Medical Research to also set up mobile testing laboratories in Pom, Lae and Kokopo.

7. A network of bilateral partners and private sectors are ready to assist in every and any phase of this epidemic.

8. We continue to promote healthy lifestyle and discourage our people to mass gather in social and communal activities.

9. Our traditional border crossers are stopped from crossing, PNG citizens are discouraged from leisure outward flight and public servants (including politicians ) are banned from overseas travel for 60 days.

10. Lastly but not the least we pray to God to continue protecting us and for ourselves to remain positive in an environment of uncertainties.

We commend Hon J Wong and our Ministers and Public officials for doing their utmost best thus far since January when the corona virus broke through in China.

I thank YAWEH GOD ALMIGHTY for protection on PNG thus far. He will still protect us but He has also given us mind to respond and prepare and that’s what we have been doing since January.

As I wrote we have no case thus far, there were possible candidates identified but medical test prove them negative.

JMPM!

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