Joint task force to respond to COVID-19

The Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary (RPNGC) and the Department of Health will be leading government efforts to establish a strategic joint task force team within the next few days to coordinate PNG’s response to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.

This was announced in a joint media conference yesterday attended by Police Minister Bryan Kramer, Health Minister Jelta Wong, the Acting Secretary for Health, Dr Paison Dakulala, Police Commissioner David Manning, head of St John’s Ambulance Services, Matthew Cannon, and other government officials, including the PNG Fire Service.

Police Minister Kramer also confirmed at the media conference that there is no case of the COVID-19 in PNG as yet. However, he said rather than wait for a case to arise, a rapid response team will be set up to respond in real time in the communities.

“Police will be working closely with the community and as such, will identify community leaders in the area to monitor and report any possible cases to the response team,” he said.

Minister Kramer stressed that it is important to always remain calm.

“The best approach to take if you suspect any symptoms is to self-quarantine yourself,” Minister Kramer said.

Meanwhile, Police Commissioner David Manning said RPNGC, as being the first respondents, will need to be armed with the right information and facts about the COVID–19.

He has issued instructions to his police men and women through fact sheets of the COVID–19 and is ready to work closely with community leaders to deliver awareness and better educate the people on self-hygiene practices at home in their communities.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister James Marape has announced yesterday on a ban of all incoming international flights as of Sunday 22 March.

(Police Minister Bryan Kramer, left, and Police Commissioner David Manning together with senior police officials at the media conference yesterday)

Press release