He said the Government has preparations in place to deploy a rapid response to the new threat, drawing from lessons learned during the recent spread of the Delta variant around the country.
While scientists continue their investigation into the new variant, the Controller Manning said people around the world must be patient and ready to respond.
He said, “The greatest problem right now is a lack of clear information from global health agencies. The WHO and other leading bodies are unable to provide clear guidance, which is a concern for many developing countries, while there has been a range of different responses by developed economies.
“We know from experience that it is impossible to keep new strains out of any country, it is more a question of how long you can keep it out and use that time to prepare.
“When the Delta variant began to spread around the world earlier this year, our government acted swiftly to delay its arrival and spread so that we could more effectively prepare our Government agencies and personnel.”
He said the COVID-19 Omicron variant is already at our doorstep, with five confirmed cases in Australia that are now in quarantine.
“We will continue to monitor the situation and communicate with our global partners. A revised COVID-19 Control Measures have been prepared and will be applied when appropriate course of action is agreed.
“Any decisions made in response to the Omicrom will be based on scientific information, the health of our people and the recovery of our national economy.
“The coming days will be crucial for Papua New Guinea and countries around the world to better understand and manage the spread of the Omicron variant.
“In the meantime, I urge people in high-risk groups such as front-line workers, the elderly and people with comorbidities to seek qualified advice and make their choice if they wish to vaccinate before it is too late,” Manning added.