PORT MORESBY - The Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) has been put on alert as the health minister, Jelta Wong, formally declared coronavirus as a ‘quarantinable disease’ under the country’s health laws.
On Tuesday, the PNG national security council met to discuss additional control measures in light of the worsening crisis in Australia and surrounding countries.
Prime Minister James Marape announced that overseas flights from Hong Kong, Philippines, Japan, Sydney and Nadi will cease as of next Sunday and there will be controlled entry from Brisbane, Cairns and Singapore.
Flights are now being scaled down.
“We have put the military on standby to assist if a first case is established,” Mr Marape said.
“Their medical facilities and officers who are doctors and engineers will be engaged for now and future pandemics.
“They have given us the Taurama medical centre and 10 medical personnel for use,” he said.
Through a government gazettal notice, health minister Wong listed a series of actions supported by existing quarantine legislation stating the magnitude of the pandemic warranted the measures.
The countries that fall under the 14 day pre-entry quarantine include 27 European member states. Australia, where the majority of expatriate mine workers come from, has been excluded.