Flight from India lands in Port Moresby despite ban

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A FLIGHT originating from India stopped over in Port Moresby yesterday to pick up passengers, despite a ban by the Government on flights from India passing through Jackson airport, it has been revealed.
National Pandemic Response Controller David Manning had issued an instruction recently not to allow any flights from India to pass through Port Moresby because of the risk posed by the high number of Coronavirus (Covid-19) cases and deaths in the sub-continent.
Early last month, a repatriation flight from India was denied entry into PNG because of the possibility of passengers carrying the highly contagious Delta variant.
Health Minister Jelta Wong then said “the Government will continue to protect the nation from the escalating Covid-19 risk”.
“While we have great empathy towards the people of India, PNG, as a developing country must take every precaution to try and block the entry of the Delta mutation,” Wong said.
Manning could not be reached for comment last night.
It is understood that the Garuda Indonesia flight left New Delhi on Tuesday for Jakarta in Indonesia, then on to Port Moresby, before the final leg to Fiji. The flight arrived in Nadi yesterday.
According to a Fiji Broadcasting Corporation report, 17 Fiji nationals who had been stuck in India for months finally made it home yesterday on that flight.
They began their 14-day quarantine in Nadi yesterday. Fiji’s permanent secretary for immigration Yogesh Karan was quoted as saying that the 17 were in India for various reasons, including for medical purposes.
They had been trying to return home, but the only flight available had to pass through PNG which was not allowing any transit flights from India.