"While vaccine remains optional I am encouraging everyone to get vaccinated. Vaccines save lives.
“There is a relative increase in vaccination, but it is still a tiny margin. We still have a long way to go before we reach that satisfactory target many countries have already reached for their people.
Also, in recognizing the dangerous operating environment health care staff work in, the Prime Minister further directed the Department of Health to immediately identify and implement health insurance options for all frontline health workers.
“As a nation we cannot afford to see any more of our skilled healthcare workers contracting COVID-19. We cannot afford to lose any more, especially in the face of our straining health capacity in the country.
"Vaccination and better vaccination is our best strategy to overcome this crisis."
As a response to the Prime Minister's call, the Ministry of Health has initiated the COVID-19 Vaccine Ministerial Task Force that will work across departments and with provincial administrations to step up on vaccination roll out in a bigger way.
To support the work of the Health Department and the NCC, Prime Minister Marape has assured more engagement between Waigani and provinces in the non-clinical area, especially through the offices of provincial governors and their administrators.
“Where there are gaps in the support to health response, they will be filled and overcome - be this in managing the movement of people in large gatherings, through security and policing, or in education and awareness.
“The National Isolation Strategy is in place with clear focus on the most significant COVID-19 hotspot provinces, and in other provinces where there is an alarming spread of the Delta variant.
“But make no mistake, we have a long way to go to contain this spread and protecting our people. Through the Controller of the National COVID-19 Response, and the Secretary of the Department of Health, our latest directives are being enacted.”
The Prime Minister also took the time to convey his gratitude on behalf for the nation to those involved in managing and executing COVID-19 response in the country for their commitment and efforts.
"We have survived so many crises and tragedies in the past. We can survive this one too. Let us all get vaccinated so we have a better chance of overcoming the crisis of this pandemic."