SOE extended for another 2 months

Parliament this evening passed a State of Emergency (SOE) Bill to extend the lockdown for another two months.

Prime Minister James Marape, when giving his speech on the floor of Parliament, said the extension will ensure that we mitigate potential harm that the spread of the virus may cause and to allow Government agencies to implement urgent and ongoing measures to protect the people.

The Prime Minister said we cannot assume the virus has not reached our shores, urging everyone to be realistic.

He added that the Government will continue to put in place measures to contain and limit any possible infection and protect and safeguard all PNG citizens.

“Now is not the time to become complacent and even play petty politics. Now is the time for urgent and decisive action with support from everyone.”

The Prime Minister further added that the extension of the SOE was also to ensure that there is not one single case of COVID-19 in PNG.

He clarified that should the virus be detected, the measures the the Government is putting in place will ensure that we can contain it quickly and minimise harm to our local communities.

“We are monitoring our borders. Although difficult given the large stretches of the land and sea, we are doing everything that is humanly possible with the support, partnership and effective coordination of our neighbours and development partners to mitigate threats from these key entry points.”

Marape also clarified that the extension of the SOE will come with some freedom of movement within the domestic flights.

“All domestic flights will be open next week Tuesday after the first 14 day period lapses,” he stated. “While the ban on international flights will still remain.”

The 14-day SOE will lapse on April 6, 2020.

(Speaker of Parliament, Job Pomat)

Freddy Mou