This arrangement is vital as the Government continues to find the balance between observing individual rights and keeping the economy of the country afloat.
This means business houses will have to “tailor-make” their specific COVID-19 protocols and get the endorsement of the National Pandemic Control Centre to make it operational for their respective workplaces.
Prime Minister James Marape revealed this in a breakfast meeting this week with the PNG business community.
The meeting was organised by the PNG Chamber of Commerce & Industry in conjunction with the Port Moresby Chamber of Commerce & Industry. It was an opportunity given to the Prime Minister to highlight the achievements of the Government over the last years.
Speaking on COVID-19 and workplace vaccination, an issue that has been topical over the last couple of weeks, Prime Minister Marape once more emphasized the bigger government policy of non-compulsory vaccination.
However, while doing so, he also acknowledged the need for the continuous flow of business for the long-term survival of the economy of the country.
“We must find the balance between the health of our citizens and the health of our economy. Both must be maintained and they must co-exist and work in rapport,” said the Prime Minister.
“Vaccination is part of our strategy in living and working with COVID-19 going forward.
“We still maintain at the top level the policy of non-compulsory (voluntary) vaccination. But at the workplace setting, it becomes a workplace safety issue and different employers can tailor-make specific protocols to their workplace environment and as approved by the National Pandemic Control Centre,” he added.
The Prime Minister then gave the example of Hidden Valley mine in Morobe Province, where the first case of COVID-19 virus was detected in PNG.
“We were able to ensure and assist them have specific workplace bubble in place. The last visit I made to Hidden Valley mine, they were living and working in a strict working environment that is sensitive to COVID-19.”
He added: “Let me assure all of you, vaccination is still part of our strategy and if you have an issue with vaccination, we ask you to go to the NCC, get the specific approval in your workplace environment. We want to remain functional going into 2022. COVID-19 must not stop us.