PNG students miss charter, embassy maintains contact

The Ministry and Department of Foreign Affairs has released a statement confirming the PNG Embassy in China, Kundu Beijing, is still in contact with two other students who did not make the New Zealand chartered flight.

They had left Wuhan but did not make the charter.

“The Department is working with official information and reports from the PNG Embassy in Beijing, who will liaise with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as the Department is liaising with the Chinese Embassy in Port Moresby, through official diplomatic channels,” said Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Patrick Pruaitch.

“Kundu Beijing has been providing daily updates to the Department on actual situation faced by our PNG students in different provinces throughout China. Kundu Beijing has been in touch with all the student leaders since day one, who in turn are expected to keep the students in their respective positions informed.

“The Department is aware of the dire situation that they are in as prices of food, water, medical fees, electricity and masks have dramatically increased since the outbreak of the virus. This is also obvious in Beijing where PNG Embassy staff are also affected.

“One or two institutions have reached out to the Department on any form of assistance they can provide and discussions are still ongoing,” added Pruaitch.

PNG High Commissioner to New Zealand Francis Agwi also said he was informed by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs that no one at the isolation facility in Whangaparoa, including the 17 PNG students who were evacuated out of Wuhan by the New Zealand government, has shown any signs of infection, nor been tested positive for novel coronavirus.

Meantime, Minister Pruaitch said evacuation is one of several options presented to Government, however many factors must be considered, including working with the Chinese government for necessary clearances.

According to Kundu Beijing, 355 PNG residents are currently living and working in China, but the figure is only of those registered with the Embassy; there could be more.

Press release