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Coronavirus isolates Marape & Kramer

Kramer marape
Bryan Kramer and James Marape - in isolation after coronavirus infected customs officer visited their work place


NOOSA – In a shock development, Papua New Guinea’s prime minister James Marape and police minister Bryan Kramer have gone into self-isolation as the country’s lucky run in avoiding the tentacles of coronavirus seemed to reach an end.

Kramer used social media yesterday afternoon to state there had been an increase in coronavirus cases and said that he and Marape and will now work from home. “Further cases are anticipated,” he said.

Kramer also admitted that there is a shortage of test kits in PNG, saying “there is a huge global demand” for kits.

The PNG Institute of Medical Research in Goroka yesterday revealed five new cases of the virus after testing 55 samples, bringing PNG's total confirmed cases to seven.

Three of the new cases are from a village on the Indonesian border of Western Province. It is believed they contracted the virus from people crossing from Indonesia.

A fourth case has occurred in East New Britain in a person connected to the province's first confirmed case.

The fifth person is a Port Moresby woman who is a customs and quarantine officer at Jacksons international airport and who had contact with international passengers.

All five people are in isolation and demonstrating only mild symptoms.

However it was found that the customs officer had recently visited the government centre at Morauta Haus a number of times.

As a result the building has been locked down and testing is being done on staff based in the building. Marape and Kramer have been tested as a precautionary measure.

The tests are being sent to Brisbane this morning with results due this evening.

The cases have spurred the government to ramp up testing along border provinces and in East New Britain and to accelerate contact tracing of the customs officer case.

“People can help by staying home if they are not required to work or for other essential runs,” Kramer said.

“To fight the spread of this virus, we need less people to be on the streets, in buses, in shops, in banks or in the market.”


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Bernard Corden

The following on Counterpunch is wort a read:

Philip Kai Morre

Most villagers, especially in settlements around towns, don't listen to the authorities and keep roaming around as normal.

Yesterday I saw people living in the settlement at Hap-Wara, near the centre of Kundiawa town, gambling in groups despite orders to socially distance.

Same with other groups at the Papuan compound, Banana Block and Malaria and almost every other settlement.

This is the case not only in Kundiawa, but in Mt Hagen, Goroka and other centres around the country. People refuse to go home and make gardens.

I told the police to disperse the gamblers but they didn't. Police are part of the problem. There has to be another law in place: arrest those who don't obey orders and put them into prison with no bail.

Social and physical distance is not seen here. If coronavirus spreads to the highlands, people will be affected and die like rats without no one to bury them.

I also see that trying to ensure general awareness by going around in a convoy of vehicle does not work. Most villagers do not get the message.

There has to be specific awareness within specific communities if we are to be serious about coronavirus prevention.

Johnny Blades

Kia ora Phil, I know a reliable regional shortwave radio service that caters for the Pacific and PNG:

RNZ Pacific (formerly Radio NZ International)

Although since start of lockdown a month back we've mainly been working from our own homes in DIY set-ups, RNZ Pacific is still running bulletins (and relaying Radio NZ National between times).

As you'd expect, much of RNZ Pacific's focus is now about the region's response to the pandemic. I can say it's dominating our news bulletins, but I think it's in an informative way without panic-mongering. Anyway, developments in PNG feature strongly.

So if anyone here would like to listen in on the shortwave, or other ways, go to this web page and find out the frequency for your part of the Pacific on how to listen to RNZ Pacific :

Philip Fitzpatrick

Getting information out to people about the virus is going to be crucial as this crisis develops.

What would be really handy in PNG and the rest of the Pacific at the moment would be a reliable shortwave radio service broadcast from somewhere like Australia.

Lindsay F Bond

Testing times, indeed. Stay alert, be informed, not alarmed, keep unharmed.

What harm? It is reported that the effect is somewhat varied across a population.

So as to help in understanding, here is a link to report from Bevan Shields, a correspondent in Europe and who is recovering from COVID-19 and says "Don't be complacent. You don't want to catch this."


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