OPPOSITION Leader Belden Namah has slammed the Government’s decision to deny Papua New Guinean citizens to travel back into the country during the State of Emergency and 14-day lockdown.
Namah made the comments shortly after Police Minister Bryan Kramer responded to questions raised by journalists during a Covid-19 media update that even Papua New Guinea citizens would not be allowed to fly in during the lockdown.
Namah said it was “a terrible decision that now renders many of our people overseas as stateless in what is considered an illegal act under international law”.
“Papua New Guineans who are now banned from their own country include high school students who are boarders at schools that are now shut down, it includes university students and many of our people who had been visiting their families in Australia,” he said.
“This is very worrying for our students, particularly boys and girls who are a long way from home with no friends or families nearby and have nowhere to go now.
“This immoral direction by Prime Minister James Marape to keep Papua New Guineans out of their own country under his State of Emergency is another serious blunder and a breach of human rights under international law.”
Namah said “no country refuses their citizens the right of return and it is disgraceful of Prime Minister James Marape to treat our citizens so badly”.
“Even more in times of emergency,” he said. ‘This is the time where the State provides all the necessary support to stranded citizens.
“This is the responsibility of the State to citizens abroad.
“It is unlawful to prevent citizens from returning to the country of origin, irrespective of their health situation.”
The consequence is that many are now deemed to have overstayed their visas and unlawfully remain in host or transit country.
Checkpoints to help keep Covid-19 out of villages
CHECKPOINTS are being set up at entrance of Motu Koita villages to help prevent Covid-19 reaching them, Motu Koita Assembly (MKA) chairman Dadi Toka Jr says.
He said MKA’s response plans was in line with the National Capital District and the national government’s.
“There is heightened awareness in the villages, we have translated all the awareness materials into the Motu language in order to get the message across,” he said.
Toka said the new Hanuabada Market (not officially opened yet) was being used by a few vendors to sell necessities.
“People are exercising social distancing but I want people not to create panic,” he said.
Meanwhile, NCD Governor Powes Parkop urged people to get information about Covid-19 from the National and Provincial Covid-19 Taskforce, as well as the NCD/Central police commander and the NCD metropolitan superintendent.
“Our plan to prevent ourselves from Covid-19 is very simple, precise and easy to follow.
“Please practise social distancing, do not spit or cough openly, stay at home, wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face without washing your hands.”
Govt considering use of transit centre
BY REBECCA KUKU
THE Government is considering using the Bomana Immigration Transit Centre as an isolation facility should there be confirmed Covid-19 cases.
Police Minister Bryan Kramer, speaking on behalf of Prime Minister James Marape at a Covid-19 daily update, said that he had visited the site along with World Health Organisation (WHO) officers yesterday.
“The facility was built by the Australian government as a transit centre for refugees,” Kramer said.
“Currently, the centre is not housing any one, or any refugees.
“So we are waiting on the advice of WHO, but we are hoping to turn the transit centre into an Isolation Centre should there be any confirmed cases,” he said.
Kramer said the centre was suitable as it had suitable self-contained rooms that could act as an isolation centre.
“So in the event that there is a confirmed Covid-19 case, we have an isolation centre,” he said.
NCD Governor Powes Parkop said city residents who were sick and were experiencing fever, headache and shortness of breath could visit local health clinics for rapid testing or call the national toll-free number 1800 200.
Parkop identified eight testing locations in the city – Lawes Road Clinic, Gerehu Hospital, Tokarara, Kaugere, Gordon, 9-Mile, 6-Mile and Rita Flyn Sports Complex at Boroko.
Parkop said Rita Flyn at Boroko was the central sample storage, testing and data collection site and also isolation centre.
Awareness lacking in city
MOST people who do not have access to social media and the main stream media do not really know what is happening in the world in relation to the coronavirus pandemic.
Smith Enia, who resides at Tari Ban at East Boroko, said since the lockdown they were still confused about what to do and how they could protect themselves from getting the decease.
He said there was no awareness carried out in his area.
“I was surprised when I came to the market this morning (yesterday) and I was told by the people at the gate to wash my hands before going into the marked,” he said.
Central vendors stay away from market
By SYLVESTER WEMURU
VENDORS from Central who usually sell their garden produce at the Boroko Market have not been seen since Monday when the national state of emergency was announced by the Government.
National Capital District Commission employee John Tewarai, who works at the market, said since the declaration of the SOE no vendors from Central had come to the market.
He said the vendors who were selling their goods at the market were all from the city.
Tewarai said there were also fewer people visiting the market on a daily basis and that the prices of goods had increased as well.
“We monitor the movement of people coming into the market and also look after the property because we live in the Boroko area,” he said. Tewarai said one of the reasons that fewer vendors were also selling at the market was because of the stop on public motor vehicles.
Another market employee Judy Marabe said she had observed that majority of the people were not moving around because of the lockdown. She said the people of Central province and also some from Gulf who travelled to the city did not come this week.
to sell their goods had not done so this week.
She in the morning (yesterday) only three vehicles came to the market with water melons and only one vehicle came from outside the city.
She said the people who were currently selling goods at the market were the mothers from the Highlands region and also some from the costal areas who lived within the city. She said with fewer people selling things at the market prices had also increased.
PEOPLE are now restricted to their villages in West Sepik for 14 days after reports of 19 confirmed Covid-19 cases next door in Jayapura city in the Papua Province of Indonesia, provincial police commander Chief Insp Moses Ibsagi says.
“By 5pm today, West Sepik will be locked right down to the rural villages and urban wards in Vanimo town as our situation is different from other provinces,” Insp Ibsagi said.
“We are right next to Indonesia which is now a hotspot for Covid-19 and villagers will not move out of their respective villages to buy food at the market and stores.
“Vanimo town residents will not move out of their respective wards.
“People will now buy or sell food at markets or canteens right in their own villages or wards.”
Insp Ibsagi said all the shops in Vanimo will be closed by 5pm.
He said they had advised people to buy everything they need.
Expert warns people of false, misleading information
IN times of crisis, scams are widely circulated on social media, according to an expert.
Pete Williams, a digital expert based in Australia and who is on virtual working in PNG, said social media was being flooded by fake news and awareness.
“If anyone is offering miracle cures or trying to get money from you, don’t fall for it,” he said.
“Look for trusted sources such as mainstream media or official government posts.
“With the State of Emergency, many people will be working from home and will have to adapt to new ways of working,
“We will see a big increase in the usage of audio/video conferencing such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams or even Facebook groups.”
He said instant messaging apps like WhatsApp or telegram were good low data usage tools for communicating and staying in touch if you were working from your mobile.
“If you are practising social distancing, you shouldn’t have too many problems, however, the normal rules apply,” he said.
“Put your computer into sleep mode if you walk away from it, don’t share passwords, use well known software.
“Your employer may have rules about what you can and can’t use for business purposes so check what the policies are.”
Williams said, in this new environment, employers would need to be flexible so they should also provide directives about what software they want people to use.
“Employers may want to look at Two-Factor Authentication software such as Microsoft Authenticator to improve security,” he said.
Williams said two-factor authentication (2FA) provided a way of double-checking when logging into online accounts, such as banking, email or social media.
“One of the difficulties in PNG is availability of data and quality of connections so think about when you need to be connected and when you can work offline,” he said.
Capital preparing stadium’s indoor complex to care for possible patients
By SAMUEL BARIASI
THE Rita Flynn Indoor Complex will be used to care for potential cases of Covid-19 in the National Capital District (NCD), Governor Powes Parkop says.
While announcing the NCD Covid-19 response plan yesterday, he said the venue was selected in consultation with the World Health Organisation and the Health Department as well as the NCD Covid-19 taskforce team.
“At the moment, we are building up the capacity of the clinics in Tokarara, 9-Mile, 6-Mile, Lawes Road, Kaugere and two mobile units to be testing facilities for potential Covid-19 cases,” he said.
Parkop said the testing facilities would be ready by the end of the declared state of emergency period.
“In 14 days’ time, our testing facilities would be ready to conduct tests of potential Covid-19 cases.”
He assured residents near the proposed curative centre (Rita Flynn Indoor Complex) that they would not be infected if the infected were cared for there.
“You can only be infected if you’re close to a metre from a carrier, so I am assuring Boroko residents that you won’t be infected,” he said.
“I would like to assure our medical staff that the national Covid-19 taskforce is doing its part to procure personal protective equipment (PPE) and other equipment.”
Parkop said some PPE had arrived in Port Moresby yesterday morning.
“It’s going to cost about K500,000 to purchase PPE and your city (NCD) is ready to pay that amount to provide security and safety for our frontline staff.”