Govt silent about flight from India

Main Stories

THE Government is yet to explain how a flight originating from India was allowed to drop off, and pick up, passengers in Port Moresby last week, despite its ban on flights from the subcontinent.
Questions sent to National Pandemic Response Controller David Manning, Health Minister Jelta Wong and the National Airport Corporation managing director Rex Kipongi over the weekend remained unanswered.
Manning had issued an instruction not to allow any flights from India to pass through Port Moresby because of the risk posed by the staggering number of Coronavirus (Covid-19) Delta variant cases and deaths in that country.
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.
Wong said last month that “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. It is understood that the Garuda Indonesia flight left New Delhi on Tuesday for Jakarta in Indonesia, then on to Port Moresby on Thursday where it dropped off some passengers who are now observing the mandatory 21-day quarantine at hotels in Port Moresby.
It is understood that they had been stuck in India for months.
It picked up passengers for Fiji arrving in Nadi on Thursday evening. It then returned home through Port Moresby on Friday.
According to a Fiji Broadcasting Corporation report, 17 Fiji nationals who had been stuck in India for months finally made it home on that flight.
Meanwhile, while farewelling outgoing Indian High Commissioner Sushil Kumar Singhal in Port Moresby recently, Prime Minister James Marape said a proposed travel bubble with India would promote the continuity of economic, political, business, trade and investment between the two countries.
He thanked the Indian government for making available US$100 million (about K331 million) which PNG could use for infrastructure.