Virus: Creeping authoritarianism no answer
The turbulent story of Enga

Good strategy needed to beat Covid-19

Allan bird
Allan Bird - "This is a fight for survival. If we spend all our bullets and deploy our troops in the wrong corridor, we will lose the war"

| East Sepik Governor | My Land, My Country Blog

WEWAK - It is critical that any government be given all the information it needs to combat any issue. Covid-19 is no exception.

We all know that our response to many issues has been generally poor in the past. My fear is that we are taking this same approach to Covid-19.

And I fear that government is not getting the benefit of good data and by inference good analysis.

Covid-19 is no longer just a health pandemic. It is an economic and social tsunami that is already causing great devastation across the world.

So we need a strategic approach to it. One which sadly our team of experts has failed to provide.

What is our country strategy? What are our strategic strengths as a country? How can we employ these strengths in a national strategy to combat Covid-19 and it’s devastating effects?

Should we simply employ what rich western countries are doing? Is that a smart strategy?

For the first time in history we have a situation where our traditional friends are under siege. Worried about how Covid-19 is affecting their countries.

So Papua New Guinea needs to figure out a way to combat this situation and come out on top.

This is a fight for survival. If we spend all our bullets (resources) and deploy our troops in the wrong corridor, we will lose the war.

So let’s break it down, who is this enemy called Covid-19? What do we know about him? What are the strengths of the enemy? What are his weaknesses?

First of all, he travels in an infected human host. He can’t survive too long outside a human host. Also a strong healthy human, can withstand Covid-19. Mostly old, sick people are high risk. We have no medicine to kill him. This is what we know.

What are our strategic strengths? We are fairly isolated from each other. Most places are difficult for people to get to and hence the virus to get to. We have a young population which is generally healthy and have access to healthy organic food.

What is our weakness? An infected person can bring the virus in from another country through an open border. We also don’t have much money and we have a weak economy and a weak health system.

So what’s the strategy? Where should we deploy our assets to fight the virus? Where are we most vulnerable? And where can we mount our best defence?

To me it’s at the entry point. Our borders. This is what I have been saying since Covid-19 became an issue several months ago. That’s the front line. Who do we need on the frontline? Soldiers and police. Well resourced. That should be 60% of our effort.

Our fall back strategy should be to fight it if it gets past the border into the population. What does that entail?

We should be prepared to use our natural topography to cordon off parts of the country that might be infected. Save the other parts from infection. If we contain the virus in certain areas and don’t let it out, then we can survive as a nation.

Thirdly we should protect the golden goose that produces the golden eggs. Our fragile economy. If we expend all our resources on fighting the virus and the economy dies, we die too.

So I want to see a comprehensive strategy. Burning roadside markets and beating up our women who sell food is not a smart strategy.

Why is this our focus? Those strong young men we are sending to burn markets should be on the border. Deploy them where they can be most useful.

All of the above strategies we have deployed in East Sepik. I don’t know everything, I have some really smart people in my province who are doing these things. So I am offering our strategy.

And to my usual critics, government strategy is determined by ministers, not by governors.

Governors have zero input on government strategy formulation. Hence this post. Thank you lo yupla harim.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Bernard Corden

The Hollow Men - TS Eliot

Mistah Kurtz-he dead
A penny for the Old Guy


We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us-if at all-not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.


Eyes I dare not meet in dreams
In death's dream kingdom
These do not appear:
There, the eyes are
Sunlight on a broken column
There, is a tree swinging
And voices are
In the wind's singing
More distant and more solemn
Than a fading star.

Let me be no nearer
In death's dream kingdom
Let me also wear
Such deliberate disguises
Rat's coat, crowskin, crossed staves
In a field
Behaving as the wind behaves
No nearer-

Not that final meeting
In the twilight kingdom


This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man's hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star.

Is it like this
In death's other kingdom
Waking alone
At the hour when we are
Trembling with tenderness
Lips that would kiss
Form prayers to broken stone.


The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms

In this last of meeting places
We grope together
And avoid speech
Gathered on this beach of the tumid river

Sightless, unless
The eyes reappear
As the perpetual star
Multifoliate rose
Of death's twilight kingdom
The hope only
Of empty men.


Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o'clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For Thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Paul Oates

Here is an example of what can happen and will happen unless PNG immediately adopts a strategy of restricted travel and factual public knowledge about how this corona disease is spread.

In 1974, as an OIC of a Patrol Post, a friend or ours who was a local Councillor returned from a holiday in Australia, paid for by a university professor as a reward for his help in undertaking a study of the local geology.

The Councillor arrived back at the station with much ado but had regrettably brought with him a bad dose of influenza. The OIC of our local rural hospital pleaded with the Councillor to stay in isolation at the station hospital until he got over his flu. However the chap was determined to return to his village to see his family and friends and the share with them his adventures and presents. By the time I heard about it he had already left and returned to his village.

Unfortunately, he also shared with all of his village and surrounding villages his virulent dose of the flu. There was no herd immunity, no available medical supplies and no ventilators. Many people died.

Who was responsible? What could have been done to prevent this happening?

If PNG now turns its back on history it will only ensure that above situation is repeated again and again.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)