PNG-bound ships await State plan

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POLICE Minister Bryan Kramer says all PNG-bound ships will have to be without physical contact for 14 days before they will be allowed into port.
In order to work around that, Kramer said the shipping industry had proposed to meet with the Government today to discuss a “contactless” approach.
Amid concerns yesterday from the public on shipping and logging companies still operating despite the state of emergency, Kramer said:
“All shipping (logging companies included) that come into PNG to dock are required to wait 14 days from their point of call. Whatever port they depart from, they have to wait 14 days.
“(Today) the shipping companies will be doing a presentation on a contactless strategy or approach where none of them will be allowed to have any physical contact. They (shipping industry) are proposing this to work around the 14-day period.
“Government will meet with all shipping firms, including Naqia (National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority), Customs PNG, PNG Ports to propose a system on how ships can basically dock without having contact with any members of the public in PNG.
“So they will pull up at the dock, cranes will drop the containers and they will leave PNG with zero contact.”
Kramer also announced yesterday that the Government was in the process of finalising National Operating Command Centre (NOCC) passes for essential services, which included car passes for essential service providers and employee pass for essential workers in both the public and private sectors.
Kramer, representing Prime Minister James Marape yesterday, said the passes would be issued to the business community.
“While some companies need immediate passes, it may take some time so the controller (state of emergency controller David Manning) will be issuing temporary passes for companies who are still in the process of registering.
“There were some issues with the online registrations in terms of concerns that it will crash, so we are just running some tests and then once we confirm that it is fully operational without any glitches, we will make it live.”
Kramer said while waiting for the formal passes, they could issue temporary ones which could be used at checkpoints.
“However, these temporary passes can only be used for seven days. After seven days it will be expired and they are required to get formal passes.
Kramer also said that the same would apply for policemen manning checkpoints. They would be issued passes as well with their names and ranks.
“This is for checks and balances due to complaints and concerns raised by the public of police harassment at roadblocks so that the public can also report rogue officers.”

Resident offering help to community with free water, sanitisers

NOT everyone in the country can afford hand sanitisers, clean water and soap to keep their hygiene up to scratch, so an Ensisi Valley resident in Port Moresby is stepping in.
Walter Yauieb, from East Sepik but a resident of the valley, has been offering free water and soap to people in his community and anyone who passes his home to wash their hands since last Thursday.
“I can keep my family clean and safe but I will be rubbing shoulders with the community when I go out for essentials so by helping the community, I help my family,” he told The National.
He said the free water and soap were intended for those who sold their produce at the Ensisi community market but was open to anyone.

Walter Yauieb (right) watching his son Jurgen washing his hands outside their Ensisi home in Port Moresby yesterday. Yauieb said the water was for anyone to use. – Nationalpic by KENNEDY BANI

“Most of those who sell their produce have little to no access to water,” he said.
“We took notice of quite a few people using the water, some even fetched the water in containers. We appreciate them using it,” he said in view of the state of emergency lockdown and an effort to avoid the dreaded Covid-19
Yauieb said he would continue providing water if the lockdown was extended.
“If the lockdown is extended, my sisters and friends are considering cooking rice to offer it to those who cannot afford food during the lockdown,” he said.
Yauieb said he would meet all the expenses connected with providing free water.
“We did not do this to get recognised, we understand that our country cannot cope with potential Covid-19 outbreak, therefore, we are trying to encourage people to wash their hands and practice good hygiene.”
“Save one, save many,” Yauieb said.

Government still trying to get gear, says official

PAPUA New Guinea will need an estimated one million pieces of personal protection equipment (PPE), says Police Minister Bryan Kramer.
He said the Government was in the process of procuring PPE but people should also understand that there was a global shortage.
“I understand that there is another briefing, and the Prime Minister (James Marape) is in discussions with the Health Minister (Jelta Wong) so we are in the process of procuring,” Kramer said.
“The prime minister is also in discussions with the Australian prime minister and the Australian government is committed to assisting Papua New Guinea in terms of responding to Covid-19.”
Kramer said hospitals throughout the country had more than 5,400 beds.
“But again, we are separating patients from those who may have Covid-19 and will isolate them.
“So the World Health Organisation and the Department of Health are working around the clock to establish an isolation ward at the Rita Flynn Courts in Port Moresby that will house some 100 beds.
“So if there are any confirmed cases of Covid-19, we will isolate them there. However, it will not be a place where members of the public can go to get tested.
“It will only be used for isolation, so rapid response team will do the tests and if there are confirmed cases of Covid-19 than they will be isolated there and treated.”

Accurate information, testing vital to combat coronavirus

CORONAVIRUS (Covid-19) cases can only be confirmed through testing so if a country slows down its testing or ceases its testing then it will not have the ability to verify the extent of the virus in the country, says Police Minister Bryan Kramer.
Kramer said the concern was about countries providing accurate information on confirmed cases.
“So the current priority now within the NOCC-19, National Department of Health, police and Defence and those agencies that make up the NOCC are to focus on testing,” he said.
“So 5,000 UTMs (Universal Transport Mediums) equipment have already been flown in so we have 5,000 new testing kits.
“The focus on the next month is to exhaust all that 5,000 and there’s another 15,000 on the way, so we’ll hopefully have 20,000 and we will be able to carry out testing throughout the country to establish if we have any other cases of Covid-19 here,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kramer said that there were 857,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 globally, with 178,000 people recovering from it and more than 42,000 deaths.
“USA has the highest with 188,000 followed by Italy with 105,000 and Spain with 95,000 and China with 82,000 confirmed cases,” he said.
“Papua New Guinea is one of four countries with only one case confirmed so far.”

30 to boost border security at Wutung, says Minister

WITH over 1,528 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Indonesia, 30 soldiers will be deployed to the PNG border at Wutung in West Sepik this weekend to beef up security.
Police Minister Bryan Kramer, representing Prime Minister James Marape in his daily brief to reporters yesterday, said they had received intelligence reports of border incursions by people coming across the border either on boats or through bush tracks.
“The border is formally shut,” Kramer said.
On the issue of border crossers Kramer said: “Usually when someone demonstrates any symptoms of Covid-19 they would be considered a high risk and they would be isolated.
“But if it’s just a case of them just doing border incursions because they have been doing this for thousands of years, and they have family on both sides of the border, we will detain them.
“And obviously when you start detaining people they basically start to realise that when you break the law you get detained and to (act) as a means of preventative measure from further incursions,” he said.
“So if they cross our border and you’re in breach of immigration, laws are there for (them) to be detained. Police have the right to detain them and they will be charged and taken through the legal process.
“The same I guess for Papua New Guineans crossing into Indonesia, they will face the same process.
“It’s the issue of monitoring (at the border) and assessing what the risks are and individual people because it could be someone from our side who has family over there goes across the border, comes into contact (with someone) who has Covid-19 and comes home and spreads it.
“The focus now shifts to securing our borders and start implementing our strategic plans and response to prevent Covid-19 coming into the country.”
Meanwhile, Kramer said currently there was a team of 53 at the borders.
“There’s also a small team of about 20 and a five-man team that’s been running small boat surveillance,” he said.
“And if and when additional manpower is needed then the (state of emergency) controller will deploy more manpower to the borders,” he said.
Kramer also said that all security personnel on the frontlines especially those at the borders would be issued personal protective equipment.

Health workers need to help police at checkpoints

HEALTH workers should be at checkpoints assisting police with awareness on Covid-19 as they are in a better position to explain and give the right information to the public.
Sergeant Jack Wesil, who is in charge of the checkpoint at Bautama along the Magi Highway in Central, said since the lockdown was declared by the Government police were on their own conducting checkpoints and awareness to people.

Constable Edwina Paulus from police headquarters helping the Central police at a checkpoint at Bautama along the Magi Highway in Central. She was confirming that vehicles passing through the checkpoint had passes.
– Nationalpic by JOEL HAMARI

“Many people in the village do not really understand why there was a state of emergency declared and when they approached the road block, we tell them to go back to their village and allow only genuine people to pass through.
“Before sending them back to their villages they should be told why they are sent home so when they go back, they will inform the people in the village.”
Central Governor Robert Agarobe added that there should be more awareness carried out in villages to inform people about the disease so they will have fair idea and will remain in the village.
He said health workers from Central were undergoing two days’ workshop on Covid-19 and they would be deployed out to the villages to carry out awareness.
“We do not have enough money to fight the disease so it is good that the health workers go out to the villages and carry out awareness so the people will be aware of how the disease spreads so they will remain in their villages. “Covid-19 does not spread on its own but the people spread it so if they do not move the virus will not move too.”
He said the Central provincial headquarters had set up numbers 70415316 or 70692652 for more information.