By GYNNIE KERO
THE Government received US$300,000 (K1million) from the Chinese government yesterday to help it fight coronavirus.
Chinese ambassador Xue Bing when presenting the cheque to Foreign Affairs Minister Patrick Pruaitch yesterday, said:
“This is a small gesture from the Chinese government to the Government of PNG, US$300,000 for you to fight against the coronavirus.
“As we are speaking right now, the outbreak of the coronavirus is spreading very fast worldwide,” Xue said.
In China the situation is largely under control after a frightening rate of spread and deaths.
Lives and activities have started returning to normal.
“From the beginning of this virus, the PNG Government has been giving China a very strong support,” Xue said.
“As China’s situation is getting better, we will reciprocate PNG’s friendship to us by providing this small token.
“Apart from this cash, we will also provide PPE (personal protective gear) that’s including facial masks, protecting clothing, temperature detectors.
“They are on the way but because of the restriction posed by many countries, especially the airlines refused their flights, all the materials are waiting inside China to be exported out.
“So the first batch of PPE for PNG is still waiting for the flight.
“And also we would like to provide some testing kits,” he said. “The kits need a controlled temperature to transport.
“One company in Shenzhen is to provide 2,000 sets of testing kits to the Port Moresby General Hospital), they are on the way.
“We call for international cooperation to fight against this disease together. Our embassy will stay here and try to work closely with the minister and do everything we can to help you overcome the difficulties.
“Scientists are working around the clock to find a vaccine, we need cooperation from all nations to try to do.”
Police seize boat, engine, betel nuts
POLICE in West New Britain intercepted a dinghy loaded with K16,000 worth of betel nuts from East New Britain (ENB), confiscated the properties and detained the boat operator.
WNB Convid-19 police operation commander Snr Insp Philip Senginawa said they intercepted the boat coming into Kimbe from Rabaul with 40 bags of betel nuts while randomly patrolling the seas.
“We have now impounded the dinghy and engine and have also detained the owner for breaching the state of emergency (SOE) orders,” he said.
“The boat owner will be penalised under the State Of Emergency Act.”
Snr Insp Senginawa said the boat was hired for K1,500 by betel nut vendors to transport betel nuts from Rabaul to Kimbe.
He said so far, people were taking heed of the awareness on Covid-19 and police will continue to be out in full force to execute the SOE orders from the Government.
Police to detain those who refuse testing: Guinness
By LARRY ANDREW
POLICE will do anything and everything possible on advice from hospitals to arrest people suspected of being infected by the coronavirus to quarantine them or take them to the hospital, according to deputy controller for state of emergency Northern-end division, Peter Guinness.
In other words, they won’t have a choice if they refuse the hospital’s advice for testing.
Assist Comm of Police (ACP) Guinness said under the state of emergency (SOE), search warrants were not valid and police would use SOE powers to search without warrants and take people according to hospital advice.
He said police could go to their homes under SOE, pick them up and take them to the medical centre/hospital for testing.
ACP Guinness said SOE controller and Police Comm David Manning was the person in control and all other laws were suspended until the SOE came to an end.
“I want to appeal to the people of Lae and Morobe to cooperate with us, to support us in this exercise to help you. We are doing this for all of us and together we can help ourselves,” he said.
He said people from Morobe and Northern who brought betel nuts into Lae should be careful as police would be out in full force to monitor their movements and if they were caught, the nuts would be destroyed, their boats confiscated and people responsible would be detained.
Betel nut markets, street sales, bottle shops, nightclubs, horse racing and other non-essential activities are to remain shut until further notice, ACP Guinness said.
“I want this to stop, it’s only 14 days that the Government has put in place and when it’s over, you can go back and do your business.
“We’re not stopping you but we are restricting it for our safety and security because of the coronavirus,” he said. The restriction could be extended beyond 14 days when Cabinet meets this week.
Australia, China pledge support in Covid-19 fight in PNG
TWO countries have come on board to assist PNG in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, according to Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Patrick Pruaitch.
Besides China’s cash donation of US$300,000 (K1million) yesterday, Pruaitch said Australia committed its help last week.
He also said other nations like India, Japan and Korea had indicated their assistance for PNG.
The Chinese government through its embassy in Port Moresby said they had personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks among others packed and ready to be flown into the country.
However, due to the logistical nightmare created by planes not flying, the National Government considered an option of sending the country’s aircraft to pick up the stuff, according to Pruaitch.
“There are indications of (help) from India, Japan and Korea,” he said.
“We are working with them to help us procure some of the PPEs coming into our country.
“Once they are ready, they will advise us and we may as a country send our plane to pick them up.”
Commenting on the US$300,000 donation yesterday, Pruaitch said:
“We have a very long bilateral relationship with China and not only working with them on health issues, but other developments like education
“One thing that is different is that they have come forward to lend support for us and we can see a demonstration of them giving us US$300,000 when they are still going through their issues.
“They are able to look out to help a friend.
“The donation will go towards the main general hospital in our capital city so they can organise themselves to respond to our efforts in containing this virus.
“We are doing all we can with our limited resources to contain this pandemic,” Pruaitch said.
“This is the second government after Australia to assist us.”
Pruaitch thanked the Chinese government on behalf of PNG.