papua new guinea

Red Cross calls for urgent help for PNG after record COVID surge

Concerted international action is necessary to help Papua New Guinea (PNG) deal with a record surge in COVID-19 cases that is overwhelming the country’s health system, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has said.

The latest wave of COVID-19 has seen PNG report the highest number of daily cases since the pandemic began in March 2020.

The country reported 376 new cases on Saturday and is dealing with nearly 3,000 active cases of the disease, according to the latest government data.

Mt Hagen in 2 week lockdown to contain Covid-19 infections

New measures include a ban on church services and public gatherings as well as limits on businesses and school students.

The latest spike in cases is raising questions over whether Papua New Guinea's national elections next year, should still go ahead.

But political observers warn that any postponement to polling would set a dangerous precedent for PNG.

Divine Word University political scientist Dr Joe Ketan said some countries have cited public health as a reason to postpone an election.

Pacific exporters explore market opportunities in Japan

This was underscored during a recent virtual Japan Market Brief for exporters and stakeholders in the Pacific and facilitated by the Pacific Islands Centre (PIC) and the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus Program (PHAMA Plus).

The Brief was attended by PHAMA Plus partners and stakeholders from industry working groups, government agencies and business associations.  It provided insight into doing business in Japan, market opportunities, market access information and service offering for interested exporters.

Australia ends controversial asylum detention deal with Papua New Guinea

PNG is one of two Pacific countries paid by Canberra to detain asylum seekers and refugees who attempt to reach Australia by boat.

Australia said its arrangement with PNG would conclude by the end of the year.

But it will continue its divisive "offshore processing" policy on the remote island nation of Nauru.

"Australia's strong border protection policies… have not changed," Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said on Wednesday.

Australia to end offshore processing in Papua New Guinea

The federal government is ending offshore processing in Papua New Guinea for asylum seekers detained after trying to reach Australia by boat.

The arrangement was set up in 2013 under the then-Labor government and authorised regional processing in PNG.

Under a timeline announced on Wednesday, processing in PNG will permanently end on 31 December.

As of July this year, there were 124 asylum seekers in PNG, of whom 88 have been found to be refugees.

16 dead, some left permanently blind after drinking stolen methanol in PNG

The Chief Executive at Kainantu Rural Hospital, Dr Enename Susuke said some of them are now permanently blind.

“We had more than 240 intoxicated persons, that's last week to the beginning of this week...including children under the age of 12, 13. Females and males as well,” Dr Susuke said.

He said all patients have now been released but some have been left with temporary and permanent blindness.

“After giving them antidotes to methanol...we've managed to clear the vision for those of them who were having visual issues,” Dr Susuke said.

Several key PNG hospitals full with COVID patients

Three medical staff from Western province's Daru Hospital died due to COVID in the past fortnight.

The deputy controller of the pandemic response, Dr Daoni Esorom, said these people were all still in their prime age, but that's what COVID-19 does.

He said the deaths are most likely due to the Delta variant because it spreads fast and is deadlier for those with co-morbidities and the elderly.

Dr Esorom reiterated calls for people throughout PNG to adhere to the "Niupela Pasin" or "New Normal" by following good hygiene and distancing measures.

Deadly signs of Delta spread in PNG border province

Eight people are reported by health authorities to have died from COVID in Western Province in the past week.

The National Pandemic Response deputy controller Dr Daoni Esorom said the deaths were highly likely to be Delta-variant-related.

Western is one of PNG's most remote provinces and one of two that share a border with Indonesia's West Papua region. The porous border is difficult to secure, and many traditional border crossers travel back and forth.

PNG hits out at India over broken agreement and unauthorised arrivals

PNG's National Pandemic Response Controller and Police Commissioner, David Manning, alleges India's High Commission in Port Moresby deliberately participated in a deception that resulted in the unauthorised arrivals.

Manning said India broke an agreement on how many passengers were approved for the repatriation flight.

According to him, the proposed repatriation flight from India had been rejected four times due to the risk of Covid-infected arrivals from India

Surge in PNG COVID cases

That compares to five new cases and one death in the previous 24 hours.

Morobe province recorded the largest numbers of new cases with 49.

The death toll in PNG remains at 192.

     

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