Covid & coronavirus Feed

Sick, crippled & besieged by con artists

(Kal)
Illustration by Kal (The Economist)

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Hang on, what’s up? The world wasn’t supposed to turn into custard until my generation was safely six foot under.

As Stan Grant eloquently put it, “We are miserable, getting poorer, afflicted with disease, on the verge of blowing ourselves to smithereens and facing a climate catastrophe”.

Continue reading "Sick, crippled & besieged by con artists" »


Covid mixes it with other threats in PNG

Image (Chris McCall)
Lining up for clinic at a rural hospital in PNG (Chris McCall)

CHRIS McCALL
| The Lancet

INNISFAIL, QLD - The Covid-19 pandemic in Papua New Guinea shows no sign of ending, and its worst legacy might be its effect on other diseases, such as tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, and malaria. Chris McCall reports.

Among wooden huts overlooking a broad, muddy river, volunteer Arnolio Palima detects and treats four to five cases of malaria a month in his village of Mipan using rapid tests and boxes of Mala-One, a combination of the anti-malaria drugs artemether and lumefantrine.

Continue reading "Covid mixes it with other threats in PNG" »


How Queensland surrendered its people to Covid

Gerrard
Dr John Gerrard's extraordinary words - "Not only is the spread of this virus inevitable, it is necessary”

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – This week Queensland recorded its deadliest two days of the Covid pandemic so far

Nine deaths and 38,500 new cases of the virus. Nearly 600 diseased people, 40 of them in intensive care, straining the hospital system to its limit.

Chief health officer Dr John Gerrard says all the dead had “significant underlying medical conditions”. It sounded like an excuse. I’ll come back to that in a moment.

Continue reading "How Queensland surrendered its people to Covid" »


A place of high threat & ineffective response

Hela crims
A Hela gang - law enforcement lacks integrity and capability (Michael Main)

MICHAEL KABUNI
|Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY - In 2020 and 2021, Papua New Guinea faced serious security challenges on many fronts, including Covid-19, cyberattacks and tribal fights.

Many people in PNG do not see Covid as a security risk, as evidenced in the high level of vaccines hesitancy in the country.

Continue reading "A place of high threat & ineffective response" »


Pandemic: The truths they won’t tell you

Covid  Port Moresby  Papua New Guinea
Covid Ward, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

KEITH JACKSON
| You can link to the OzSAGE website here

NOOSA – OzSAGE is an independent network of Australian health experts formed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘Independent’ in this context means that OzSAGE is beyond the grip of politicians, health bureaucrats and others who have demonstrated great incompetence in managing the pandemic and also repeatedly failed to tell the Australian people the full truth about Covid and its effects.

Continue reading "Pandemic: The truths they won’t tell you" »


Covid: The disease pollies want you to get

Covid Gerrard pic
Dr John Gerrard - "We are not going to stop the Omicron virus.  Not only is the spread of this virus inevitable, it is necessary”

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Dr John Gerrard is the chief health officer of Queensland and there are two unusual and important things about this.

One is that, under Queensland law, it is the chief health officer, not the premier, who has absolute power to give public health directions.

Professor Evelyne de Leeuw of the University of NSW says the role has more clout than any other CHO in Australia and “even internationally [as the] final decision-maker on public health.”

Continue reading "Covid: The disease pollies want you to get " »


A new year dawns: Is it the Abyss?

Phil 1
Phil Fitzpatrick - like all rational people, looking forward with apprehension

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - Like just about everyone else, the two major things that occupied my mind during 2021 were the Covid-19 pandemic and the rapidly developing catastrophes of climate change.

As the year comes to an end, both are spiralling out of control. At best we are helpless spectators with an undetermined fate.

Continue reading "A new year dawns: Is it the Abyss?" »


Could PNG produce the next Covid variant?

Covid PNGSTEFANIE VACCHER
| Burnet Institute | The Age | Edited extracts

MELBOURNE - In South Africa, only one in four people are vaccinated against Covid-19, a key factor behind the spread of the Omicron variant.

But just four kilometres north of Australia, the situation is far more dire. In Papua New Guinea, our closest neighbour, fewer than one in 20 people have had the jab.

Continue reading "Could PNG produce the next Covid variant?" »


Omicron is exactly what PNG doesn’t need

Dwyer
Emeritus Professor John Dwyer  -  "Covid is far from tamed. Less than 2% of people in Papua New Guinea have been vaccinated"

PROFESSOR JOHN DWYER AO
| Pearls & Irritations | Edited extracts

SYDNEY - Alarm bells are ringing as a new variant of the Covid virus has emerged in southern Africa and is spreading rapidly around the world.

Labelled Omicron (the number 15 in Greek) the variant has numerous mutations that could make it highly infectious and possibly resistant to vaccines.

Continue reading "Omicron is exactly what PNG doesn’t need" »


Covid news from PNG: Yeah, stats are hard

VaxKEITH JACKSON
| UPDATED

NOOSA – I was interested to read that Papua New Guinea’s shadow health minister Elias Kapavore, who represents the good people of Pomio in parliament, has calculated that the PNG recovery rate from Covid is an unbelievable 99%.

The global recovery rate is 90%, which happens to be the same in Australia. So why, with Covid on the rampage through PNG, is the recovery rate so high?

Continue reading "Covid news from PNG: Yeah, stats are hard" »


Covid & the affliction of untrained pastors

HILLSONG-superJumboPHILIP KAI MORRE

KUNDIAWA – I commend Michael Kabuni on his fine article, Do we pay too much reverence to pastors, about the problems we experience every day with some pastors and street preachers.

Most pastors from Pentecostal churches are not educated in either biblical studies or science, and being neither scientists nor medical doctors they are not educated in the causes, effects and treatment of disease or in how vaccines work.

Continue reading "Covid & the affliction of untrained pastors" »


Juffa: I had Covid; I nearly died alone

Gary Juffa
Gary Juffa - "...so many of our people are dying in unprecedented numbers"

GARY JUFFA MP
| Governor Oro Province

GLASGOW - My dear fellow Papua New Guineans, I am not forcing you to take the vaccine, I am just asking you to consider it.

So many of our people are dying in unprecedented numbers.

I can’t speak for others, but I have lost too many friends and family in such a short span of time that I am breathless with grief.

Continue reading "Juffa: I had Covid; I nearly died alone" »


Covid crisis: What PNG Attitude readers say

Covid - AFR clip PNG on brinkCOMPILED & EDITED BY KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Papua New Guinea’s health system, precarious at the best of times, has began to buckle under the remorseless impact of Covid.

And PNG Attitude's coverage both here on the blog and on Twitter has been viewed by thousands of people and received hundreds of comments and observations from readers.

I've managed to read most of these and have curated just a few, which I hope will give the flavour of this past, dreadful week, for Papua New Guineans and their many friends in Australia and around the world.

Continue reading "Covid crisis: What PNG Attitude readers say" »


‘Patients are lying everywhere, the situation is dire’

Covidcrisis
Medical staff work in haste to treat a Covid patient in Port Moresby General Hospital

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – As Papua New Guinea’s Covid crisis deepens, it has been revealed that the Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH) morgue is so overwhelmed a mass burial of 200 bodies is being arranged.

The PMGH official Facebook page announced this morning that the hospital “is reaching a crisis point, with services teetering on collapse unless we are immediately given more support.

Continue reading "‘Patients are lying everywhere, the situation is dire’" »


Today in PNG: The Covid roll call is a shocker

Inside the PMGH morgue
Inside the Port Moresby morgue. Outside the 'no vacancies' sign has been erected as the morgue has reached its capacity of 300 cadavers

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – I’m under the weather this morning, as I have been for some time, but not so much that I wasn’t shocked by the Covid reports coming out of Papua New Guinea over the last 24 hours.

I’ve received a long-awaited communication from my good friend, the author and journalist Daniel Kumbon in Wabag, who wrote words that both confirmed my suspicions and relieved me greatly.

Continue reading "Today in PNG: The Covid roll call is a shocker" »


Can PNG avoid becoming a failed state?

buai seller  Enga Province (gailhampshire  Flickr)
Roadside buai seller,  Enga Province - PNG showed complacency, avoidance and denial when it needed to be getting ready for Covid's onslaught (gailhampshire, Flickr)

PHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - While the Covid-19 pandemic wreaks havoc, misery and death across the world, it is also serving to highlight major shortcomings in governance almost everywhere.

This is nowhere more prominent than in nations that have chosen the path of neoliberalism, with its emphasis on economic growth and the market and belief that government should keep out of the way and let society look after itself.

Continue reading "Can PNG avoid becoming a failed state?" »


Covid in PNG: A failure of state & a people betrayed

Callick - Rowan Callick at Griffith University
Rowan Callick at Griffith University - "Covid's impact is exacerbated in PNG by the failings of its government, corroded by corruption and by corruption's cousin, disinterest"

ROWAN CALLICK

MELBOURNE - The anguish of our closest neighbours is palpable as the Delta strain of Covid runs riot in Papua New Guinea.

As so often before, the plight of the nine million Papua New Guineans may derive from an ‘act of God’ – a natural disaster or, as now, a pandemic – but its impact is exacerbated by the failings of its government, corroded by corruption and by corruption's cousin, disinterest.

Continue reading "Covid in PNG: A failure of state & a people betrayed" »


Hospitals struggle as PNG covid crisis deepens

Health workers move body bags at Goroka Hospital morgue (EMTV)
Health workers move body bags at the Goroka Hospital morgue (EMTV)

JOHNNY BLADES
| Radio New Zealand Pacific

AUCKLAND - The Covid-19 crisis in Papua New Guinea is deepening as the country's main hospitals are increasingly swamped by cases.

When the government earlier this year decided the country must learn to live with the virus, health authorities scaled back testing and reporting.

Continue reading "Hospitals struggle as PNG covid crisis deepens" »


Covid’s silent dead: PNG’s unknown victims

Win-Nicholas
Win Nicholas - "The number of deaths is unprecedented. We haven’t seen deaths like this before"

WIN NICHOLAS
| DevPolicy Blog

“Unbelievably too many unprecedented deaths of the loved ones. My heartfelt condolences to the grieving family in this time of sorrow” - recent Facebook post by one of Win’s friends

“Prominent public servants that have spent countless years serving this beautiful province, Enga, are dying.… Over the last one week, we have lost six people that have dedicated their entire life, with kids growing up as Engans. God have mercy on us” - recent Facebook post by one of Win’s friends

PORT MORESBY – Many people aren’t tested, but I personally suspect we are seeing Covid-induced deaths.

Some we definitely know are Covid-19 – one of my colleagues was tested, had Covid and died.

Continue reading "Covid’s silent dead: PNG’s unknown victims" »


My cousin, bad luck he died a healthy man

Ok Tedi covid screening station
Ok Tedi Covid screening station - with no vaccination mandate, not enough to save AG Satori's cousin

AG SATORI

PORT MORESBY – I was sorry to hear of the death of Dr Naomi Pomat and my condolences go to the Pomat family.

When a professional person leaves the nation, it leaves a gap and it will take a while to replace her.

My cousin, a professional with the Ok Tedi mine, died three weeks back.

Continue reading "My cousin, bad luck he died a healthy man" »


Unvaccinated doctor dies of Covid

CovidLEANNE JORARI
| The Guardian

PORT MORESBY - Tributes have poured in for a doctor in Papua New Guinea’s Western Province who died last week, in the country’s first death of a healthcare worker from Covid-19 confirmed by the government.

Dr Naomi Kori Pomat, 60, the director for curative health services at the Western Provincial Health Authority, was medevaced to Port Moresby after contracting the virus and died on 19 September.

Continue reading "Unvaccinated doctor dies of Covid" »


PNG offloads 30,000 vaccine shots to Vietnam

Vaccine from_papua_new_guineaNEWS DESK
| Voice of Vietnam

HO CHI MINH CITY – Last Friday Vietnam received 30,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine transferred from Papua New Guinea through the COVAX program, ostensibly to help combat Covid-19.

Nguyen Tat Thanh, Vietnam ambassador to Papua New Guinea, said the shipment was delivered to Vietnam on the basis of a government-level agreement on vaccine transfer recently signed between Vietnam, Papua New Guinea and the vaccine alliance, GAVI.

Continue reading "PNG offloads 30,000 vaccine shots to Vietnam" »


The pandemic in Oz: Time for a reckoning

Inside out anger sadKEITH JACKSON

This is a revised, refined and augmented version of an earlier article in PNG Attitude. It’s far from the last word on the subject of Australia’s often wayward response to Covid, and I have no reason to think my views are particularly precious, but I need to say this, harsh as it is - KJ

NOOSA - Philip Fitzpatrick, author and provocateur, recently wrote for PNG Attitude a polemical commentary entitled, A government prepared to see its people die.

This piece drilled deeply into my own feelings about what Australia is being put through at this time of Covid.

Continue reading "The pandemic in Oz: Time for a reckoning" »


It’s not the economy, it’s the Covid

DollarCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Commenting on Keith Jackson’s ‘The vandals who trashed our nation’ and other remarks on the Covid crisis, Andrew Brown wrote that “people in small business are going broke by the dozen, the number of empty shops in my local area is frightening”.

And he added, “That is real hardship for people losing everything they have and not having any hope.”

Continue reading "It’s not the economy, it’s the Covid" »


The idea of economy & a need for power

Plans
When plans turn to MASH (Illustration - John Shakespeare, Sydney Morning Herald)

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – Keith Jackson (‘The vandals who trashed our nation) expressed in clear terms the ugly truth of what has happened in the Australian government’s response to Covid-19.

This pandemic will not be over anytime soon. The much vaunted 70% vaccination level spruiked by Morrison, Berejiklian and others will not come close to ending it.

Continue reading "The idea of economy & a need for power" »


‘The Age’ undermines public health

The Age editor
Editor of The Age, Gay Alcorn. Jenny Hocking writes, "The Age failed even to mention that Australia is six months behind the rest of the world in (its) way out of this pandemic"

JENNY HOCKING
| John Menadue’s Pearls & Irritations | Edited

MELBOURNE – Last Thursday, The Age newspaper published a provocative editorial, ‘Victoria cannot go on like this’, which many saw as undermining the Victorian government’s public health response to Covid.

Having done so in the middle of a pandemic, The Age should have expected, and indeed welcomed, a robust response.

Continue reading "‘The Age’ undermines public health" »


The vandals who trashed our nation

Morr Bere cartoonKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – I set out to write this piece a couple of days ago, only to be confronted by Phil Fitzpatrick’s stirring polemic, ‘A government prepared to see its people die’.

This drilled deeply into my own feelings at what my country is being put through as a result of mindless political ambition. So I decided to wait a short while before launching into this.

Continue reading "The vandals who trashed our nation" »


Strong backlash over Covid ‘deception’ charge

Capture
The Indian High Commission in Port Moresby

IAN LLOYD NEUBAUER
| Al Jazeera | Edited extract

SYDNEY - The Indian high commission in Papua New Guinea has denied claims by PNG police commissioner David Manning that it helped unauthorised passengers, including four who were infected with Covid-19, to arrive in Port Moresby.

The denial came after Mr Manning last week banned all flights from India, accusing the Indian government of deliberately participating in deception that compromised PNG’s safety and security.

Continue reading "Strong backlash over Covid ‘deception’ charge" »


On struggling with a Covid lockdown

Barbara Angoro
Barbara Angoro can't wait to return to the laboratory wherein lies the essence of her PhD

BARBARA ANGORO
| Duresi’s Odyssey

AUCKLAND - Since New Zealand went into a Level 4 Covid lockdown 14 days ago, I’ve been trying my best not to think about its implications for my PhD studies.

For laboratory-based research, days away from the lab means a stall to experimental data generation.

Continue reading "On struggling with a Covid lockdown" »


Covid puts Australia on knife edge

MorrisonCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – In ‘Covid: Ineptitude, deception and lies, Keith Jackson correctly refers to the 'weasel words' of both ‘Golden’ Gladys Berejiklian and the man he terms ‘Slovenly’ Scott Morrison.

Jackson writes of how these politicians avoid saying the obvious and how they try to deflect attention from the true situation their complacency, ineptitude and incompetence has created.

Continue reading "Covid puts Australia on knife edge" »


Covid: Ineptitude, deception & lies

A western NSW vaccination clinic in Dubbo (Ben Wilkins)
A western NSW vaccination clinic in Dubbo. Indigenous communities are pleading for vaccine, the supply of which the Morrison government constantly lies about (Photo - Ben Wilkins)

NOOSA - It was the slightest of deceits, as unnecessary as it was sly, but nothing out of the ordinary from a person whose honour is tarnished and competency unaccounted for.

I write of the premier of New South Wales, Gladys Berejiklian, who bears much responsibility, together with her soulmate the prime minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, for steering an entire nation into a position of great danger.

Continue reading "Covid: Ineptitude, deception & lies" »


Australian resilience is an oxymoron

Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian - existential threats to Australia
Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian - incompetent politicians who are existential threats to Australia

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – This piece starts in Papua New Guinea, the place that taught me what resilience really means.

After my arrival in the country in 1963, one of the attributes that quickly endeared me to Papua New Guineans was their tenacity; even if it tended to be a tenacity conditional on whether people were convinced that what they were asked to do was meaningful.

Continue reading "Australian resilience is an oxymoron" »


The confusion that is vaccination in PNG

Beatable
Healthcare worker at Rumginae Hospital in the North Fly District of Western Province (United Nations)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Papua New Guinea has registered nearly 18,000 Covid infections and is approaching 200 deaths but medical experts say official statistics are likely to be highly inaccurate.

This is because of unidentified deaths, sick people not seeking treatment, low levels of testing, illness and deaths unreported or attributed to other causes and poor data gathering.

Continue reading "The confusion that is vaccination in PNG" »


Is PNG sleepwalking through the pandemic?

Waiting room at Mt Hagen hospital (Mark Dozier  AFP)
Waiting room at Mt Hagen hospital (Mark Dozier,  AFP)

JOHNNY BLADES
| Radio New Zealand Pacific

AUCKLAND - The heat on Papua New Guinea's hospitals appears to have eased, but some worry the country could still be asleep to the full extent of its Covid-19 outbreak.

Earlier this year, soaring case numbers stretched PNG's health system and workforce to the limit.

Continue reading "Is PNG sleepwalking through the pandemic?" »


Is Australia benefiting unfairly from Covax?

CovaxMELISSA COADE
| The Mandarin | Edited extracts

MELBOURNE - A global initiative to deliver two billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine to developing nations by the end of the year is half a billion doses short as reports emerge that Australia took hundreds of thousands of Pfizer doses from the Covax stockpile for domestic needs.

Covax was established to ensure that safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines reached the world’s high-risk and vulnerable populations in 92 low-middle income countries and economies.

Continue reading "Is Australia benefiting unfairly from Covax?" »


Beware, the Covid Quislings, they could kill you

Matt Canavan
Matt Canavan - "We should change our approach, end the lockdowns….”

CHRIS OVERLAND
| Quotes selected by KJ

“Quisling: a person who collaborates with an enemy occupying force, or more generally a synonym for traitor” - Wikipedia

ADELAIDE – Matt Canavan’s numbers, cited in a recent article in the Australian Financial Review, are interesting but irrelevant.

“In the latest Delta outbreak, the case fatality rate has been reduced by almost 90% to just 0.4% of all cases…. The estimated cost of each life saved is $330 million. On any measure, this is an unjustifiable expense…. We should change our approach, end the lockdowns….” – Senator Matt Canavan, ‘Swallow hard reality pill on virus deaths’, Australian Financial Review, 5 August

Continue reading "Beware, the Covid Quislings, they could kill you" »


Australia must focus on cooperation not China

(Xia Qing  Global Times)
China's helping hand in the race against Covid (Xia Qing - Global Times)

ZHOU FANGYIN
| Global Times

This article has been edited from a Global Times interview with Mr Zhou, who is director of the Centre for Pacific Island Countries Studies at the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies - KJ

BEIJING - Despite a troubled vaccination progress at home, Australia has still found energy to interfere in the vaccination rollout in Papua New Guinea by touting vaccine rivalry between itself and China.

PNG, which recently detected its first case of the highly contagious Delta variant, has agreed to vaccine offerings from a number of suppliers including China, Australia, New Zealand and Covax, the global initiative aimed at equitable access to vaccines.

Continue reading "Australia must focus on cooperation not China" »


PNG caught in China-Australia Covid power play

When the Sinopharm vaccines arrived  PNG's planning minister Richard Maru thanked China and added he also wanted to thank Australia (ABC News - Natalie Whiting)
When the Sinopharm vaccines arrived in Port Moresby,  PNG's planning minister Richard Maru thanked China and also Australia to appear even-handed (ABC News - Natalie Whiting)

NATALIE WHITING
| ABC Papua New Guinea Correspondent

Link to Natalie’s complete article here

PORT MORESBY - On two sides of Papua New Guinea's capital, there are duelling vaccine rollouts run by Australian and Chinese representatives taking place.

In the face of a contagious new variant and widespread vaccine hesitancy, PNG is taking help from any neighbour offering it.

Continue reading "PNG caught in China-Australia Covid power play" »


Marape attacks scientists over Covid research

Professor William Pomat
Professor William Pomat - defended himself against an intemperate attack by James Marape

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - The Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research has defended itself against charges by prime minister James Marape that it has failed to undertake innovative research into Covid-19 since the pandemic began early last year.

Strongly criticising the Institute, Marape had said he was greatly discouraged by the inaction and lax attitude shown by the country’s leading medical research facility.

Continue reading "Marape attacks scientists over Covid research" »


Covid is now a China-Australia power play

James Marape receives 15 ventilators donated by the Chinese government
PNG prime minister James Marape receives 15 ventilators donated by the Chinese government

JULIA HOLLINGSWORTH & BEN WESTCOTT
CNN Digital Worldwide | Edited extracts

Link here for the complete analysis

HONG KONG - China and Australia have found another battleground for their deepening diplomatic standoff: the Pacific islands' pandemic response.

Canberra has hit back at Beijing's claims it is derailing the rollout of Chinese vaccines in Papua New Guinea, the most-populous Pacific nation.

Continue reading "Covid is now a China-Australia power play" »


Neo-liberal dogma seen in Oz Covid failures

One Cylinder (Mark David)
Cartoonist Mark David depicts treasurer Frydenberg and prime minister Morrison's flawed efforts in managing the pandemic and the economy

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE – Keith Jackson has rightly written (Lethargic Australia drops ball on Covid’) that the Morrison government has failed dismally to do its job in relation to both quarantine and vaccination relating to Australia’s Covid pandemic.

The direct result of this failure is that the State premiers have had to do all the heavy lifting to contain the virus.

Continue reading "Neo-liberal dogma seen in Oz Covid failures" »


Lethargic Australia drops ball on Covid

Delta pcKEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - The more infectious, faster moving Delta variant of Covid has been identified for the first time in Papua New Guinea.

The Delta strain is currently proving hard to control after breaking out in Australia’s two biggest cities, Sydney and Melbourne. It has killed three people so far.

Continue reading "Lethargic Australia drops ball on Covid " »


Chinese vaccine starts mass rollout

Forests Minister Walter Schnaulbelt was first to be vaccinated
Forests Minister Walter Schnaulbelt was first to be vaccinated with the highly effective Chinese Sinopharm vaccine

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Papua New Guinea began the rollout of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine on Tuesday, with Forests Minister Walter Schnaubelt receiving the first official jab.

China supplied PNG with 200, 000 doses in late June, with 2,500 doses already given to Chinese nationals in the country as a confidence builder.

Continue reading "Chinese vaccine starts mass rollout" »