2020 state of emergency

COVID-19 SOE audit disputes ‘hire cars’ claims

The Police Minister made this statement during today’s presentation of the audit report.

Police Minister Bryan Kramer outlined that in April, serious allegations were raised on the expenditure of the state of emergency funds, and for the first time in PNG’s history, the head of state has responded by giving a directive to investigate.

New emergency direction on hotel quarantine

“The hotels that are no longer designated facilities shall not accept persons requiring to be quarantined. The hotel management should immediately inform any person booked to be quarantined at their hotel that they may no longer quarantine them from June 2 onwards and refer them to the National Operations Centre,” Manning stated.

2-week SOE extension

80 members of parliament voted in favour of the extension; only two voted against.

Tomorrow they will re-convene for cabinet to introduce the ‘pandemic legislation’ that is meant to guide the country post-COVID-19 and into the new normal.

Earlier, the Permanent Parliamentary Committee on Emergency recommended a 2-month extension of the COVID-19 State of Emergency. 

Governors of Madang, Eastern Highlands and East Sepik Province reasoned against this decision, based on lack of evidence and police brutality against citizens.

Warning issued to citizens under quarantine

Manning said this following reports of citizens not taking heed of the control measures put in place.

“I must warn citizens that are coming into the country that the 14-day quarantine period and the protocols in place under the SOE are non-negotiable. Everyone must complete the 14-day quarantine period and must be cleared by a designated medical officer before leaving the quarantine facility,” Manning stressed.

No test results to be released without approval: Controller

In the recently released National Emergency Order No.30, Commissioner David Manning said: “All persons or organisations that conduct any form of COVID-19 test must provide all test results to the Emergency Controller or his delegate within 24 hours of the result being known.

“Any authorised officer(s) appointed by the Emergency Controller pursuant to the Act (Emergency Act 2020) shall carry out and enforce the emergency orders accordingly.

“This emergency order comes into effect immediately and shall apply until the end of the national emergency.”

Update on Air Niugini services

“We are operating services to almost all domestic ports, at least once every day, and Controller approval for travel is no longer required,” said the airline.   

“We have scheduled services to the border ports of Daru, Kiunga, Vanimo, Buka and Wewak but these require the SOE Controller’s approval in advance. Tabubil and Lihir airports remain closed to scheduled passenger flights.

“Internationally, Air Niugini maintains its flights to Cairns, Brisbane and Singapore. The outbound flights to these three ports do not require approval.

Stranded citizens will be safely brought back, assures Controller

Controller David Manning made this statement whilst admitting that the repatriation exercise is not progressing as quickly as other countries.

“This is an ongoing activity and we remain committed to assessing case-by-case arrangement to not only see how best we can facilitate but subsidise cost for our citizens returning back home. The main focus now is clearing the stranded citizens in Australia, then work across to the Pacific but the only restriction is the availability of flights.

SOE powers delegated

The delegated powers and responsibilities have been gazetted and amongst important responsibilities include implementation of directions issued by the Controller with respect to prevent COVID-19 or its outbreak and its impact, movement of persons, regulation of business and regulation of all modes of transportation.

Controller’s stance on police abuse

Since the commencement of the state of emergency, citizens have raised concerns of harassment, intimidation and extortion at especially police roadblocks.

State of Emergency Controller, David Manning, issued a warning after urging members of the force to serve the people with honesty, integrity and dedication.

Trial period for schools

Prime Minister James Marape made this known during yesterday evening’s COVID-19 briefing.

He stressed that schools will ‘live and operate’ with the protocols as primary and secondary school classes resume on May 4th.

“And if we see those protocols are breached, or if we see that corona (virus) is now affecting all our schools in our country, then before Parliament resumes on the 2nd of June for SOE to be dispensed with, then we will have enough information on hand from the control point perspective to make an informed decision.