CANBERRA - Two-thirds of Papua New Guinea’s small and medium-sized businesses have been forced to close their doors as a result of Covid-19.
PNG has had a tapered increase in Covid-19 cases, with 578 cases and seven deaths now recorded amidst low testing numbers.
Meanwhile, Solomon Islands just recorded its second case– another repatriated student from the Philippines.
It has been announced that more than 150 workers arriving in PNG on a charter flight from China will be among the first required to wear GPS ankle bracelets.
A directive from pandemic controller Police Commissioner David Manning on Wednesday requires all international passengers to wear the bracelets for the duration of their quarantine period, although there was some initial confusion that this only applies to charter flights.
Locals on an island in the Torres Strait are on high-alert this week for Covid-19 after the arrival of a group of PNG citizens who breached border controls.
Also making news this week, just a week into his new role as health minister, Sir Puka Temu was referred to the public prosecutor for alleged misconduct.
The financial impact of the Covid-19 continues to be felt. The Bank of PNG reports that two-thirds of micro, small and medium enterprises have been forced to close their doors as a result of the pandemic.
Australia’s aid funding for the Pacific increased to $1.66 billion in last week’s federal budget, PNG continuing to receive the largest share with an allocation of $491 million (K1.2 billion).
New funding has been committed for the Pacific region through a separate two-year $305 million Covid-19 response package, which Australia’s foreign minister Payne said will address the economic and social costs of the pandemic.
Payne further indicated that procuring Covid-19 vaccines and delivering them to the Pacific is a core commitment of the response through an allocation of $80 million to support vaccine access for Pacific and South-east Asian countries.
Finally, construction of new venues for the 2023 Pacific Games is underway. Amidst great controversy, a design team from China completed its mandatory quarantine and began working with local authorities in Honiara to develop the project.