Coronavirus Feed

TIPNG weighs in against corruptavirus

Covid-19-in-red-backgroundMICHAEL ARNOLD
| Transparency International PNG

Link here to the full article which includes useful tables

PORT MORESBY - As most countries have begun scaling down safety measures against Covid-19, Transparency International PNG (TIPNG) has heightened its efforts in calling on the government of Papua New Guinea to implement measures to safeguard state of emergency funding against misuse and misappropriation.

This call to action by TIPNG comes after concerns raised by PNG treasury minister Ian Ling Stuckey in early April regarding allegations that a bulk of the initial K23 million released by the PNG government for the Covid-19 state of emergency had been spent on hire cars and media consultants.

Continue reading "TIPNG weighs in against corruptavirus" »

Will ‘rona change anything? Nup!

Coronavirus-world-after-brian-staufferCHRIS OVERLAND

TUMBY BAY - An old French saying says 'plus les choses changent, plus elles restent les mêmes'. The more things change the more they stay the same.

Right now, various governments across the world are grimly determined that things will indeed stay the same.

They are bending their will and resources to exactly this end: a return to normality.

Continue reading "Will ‘rona change anything? Nup!" »

Covid-19 - The PNGDF is ready

Morning parade before starting the day’s activities of the Covid-19 task force
Morning parade before starting the day’s activities of the Covid-19 task force


“The Force has a range of capabilities ready to react in the government’s Covid-19 efforts and will be committed when and wherever required”
- Chief of Defence Force, Major General Gilbert Toropo

PORT MORESBY - It was getting late last Tuesday afternoon when I bumped into PNGDF task force Covid-19 commander, Lieutenant Colonel Raphael Yapu, in the corridors of PNG Defence headquarters.

He was busy on the phone issuing orders to someone and made a sign for me to wait.

Continue reading "Covid-19 - The PNGDF is ready" »

The challenges of unsafe water

Hand washing PNG (ADB)
Fighting coronavirus is a daunting task when clean water for drinking and washing is a major challenge

| Asian Development Bank

MANILA - A lack of safe water supply in urban settlements around Asia and the Pacific complicates efforts to use improved hygiene to fight COVID-19

Handwashing with soap and proper hygiene are the first lines of defense to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Continue reading "The challenges of unsafe water" »

Coronavirus: We must all play our part

Assistant Commissioner Anthony Wagambie
Assistant Commissioner Anthony Wagambie

| Assistant Commissioner, Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary

PORT MORESBY - We, as part of the global community are going through some of the most challenging times we have ever experienced with the Covid-19 Pandemic spreading across the world.

Our PNG government has imposed a state of emergency to stop the virus spreading.

Continue reading "Coronavirus: We must all play our part" »

Does it really matter if PNG goes bust?

Phil Fitzpatrick at micPHILIP FITZPATRICK

TUMBY BAY - “Papua New Guinea’s brew of debt-laden government, poor health services and social fragmentation means it is uniquely placed to suffer at the hands of coronavirus.” So says ABC journalist Melissa Clark.

What she is referring to is the possibility of PNG becoming a failed state because of the coronavirus.

Continue reading "Does it really matter if PNG goes bust?" »

'We were behind the eight ball'

Jelta Wong
Papua New Guinea's health minister, Jelta Wong

| Guardian Australia

KOKOPO - When Jelta Wong was appointed as Papua New Guinea’s health minister in November, he knew he had his work cut out for him.

The Pacific nation just north of Australia is dealing with outbreaks of malaria, dengue fever, drug-resistant tuberculosis and had a recent outbreak of polio. Its health system is notoriously fractured and underfunded.

Continue reading "'We were behind the eight ball'" »

Covid-19’s global stress test

Jacinda Ardern
Jacinda Ardern - Excellent example of the type of leadership required in a global crisis


ADELAIDE - When I was managing hospitals and health services I participated in exercises designed to test their collective capacity to respond to a crisis that stressed the entire health system.

Typically, this involved a theoretical event that generated mass casualties such as a bushfire, train derailment or plane crash.

Continue reading "Covid-19’s global stress test" »

Will PNG & Indonesia become failed states

James Marape
James Marape - discussing the coronavirus situation with Australia's leaders almost every day

| Australian Broadcasting Corporation

SYDNEY -Countries with pre-existing conditions — poverty, limited healthcare, ineffective or corrupt governments — are fragile, and it is these countries that Covid-19 is threatening to push to the brink of survival.

Some have argued the United States has made solid start on the journey to failed-state status.

Continue reading "Will PNG & Indonesia become failed states" »

PNG’s Covid-19 economic response

| DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA - The Covid-19 pandemic could not have arrived at a worse time for Papua New Guinea.

In addition to its declining health indicators, years of mismanagement have significantly weakened the country’s economic fundamentals, depriving its government of the ammunition needed to combat a looming economic downturn.

Continue reading "PNG’s Covid-19 economic response" »

The Great Disruption of 2020

Depiction of the 17th century plague in Italy (Rome’s Museo Storico Nazionale Dell’Arte Sanitaria)
Depiction of the 17th century plague in Italy (Rome’s Museo Storico Nazionale Dell’Arte Sanitaria)


ADELAIDE - In the reign of the Emperor Justinian, embracing the years 527 – 565, what was at least nominally the Roman Empire (but more commonly called the Byzantine Empire) reached the zenith of its power and influence.

By the middle of Justinian’s reign he controlled nearly as much territory as the entire Roman Empire had once controlled and his influence extended across much of Mediterranean Europe and the Middle East.

Continue reading "The Great Disruption of 2020" »

A Pandemic Far Worse Than Covid-19


A man searched for someone to confide in,
to discuss the things he has heard and seen.
But all his neighbours had their gates closed and
beside the road he cannot find a friend.

This road, once the heart of daily routine,
has been left barren by Covid-19.
He dragged his suitcase along the pavement.
There was no buai. He cannot pay rent.

Continue reading "A Pandemic Far Worse Than Covid-19" »

Covid-19 & China’s soft power ambitions

| DevPolicy Blog & The Asia Foundation

SAN FRANCISCO - For many years, China has been a major contributor to global development and the sustainable development goals.

Much of this Chinese South-South Cooperation has flown under the radar of Western media and traditional aid discourse.

Continue reading "Covid-19 & China’s soft power ambitions" »

Simbu group proposes coronavirus concept


KUNDIAWA - Covid-19 is a new disease that caught the whole world off-guard like a tsunami rendering all known medical science irrelevant and ineffective.

Even the best organised nations have struggled to effectively contain the virus.

It was in December at Wuhan Central Hospital, China, that Dr Li Wenling, an ophthalmologist and physician, first observed signs of the virus and warned colleagues about a possible outbreak of an illness like SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) that had broken out in 2003.

Continue reading "Simbu group proposes coronavirus concept" »

Ruby Princess, with love from Wollongong

Chaplain John Kewa and packages (Robert Peet)
Chaplain John Kewa, Alison Covington, Wollongong MP Paul Scully and Nicole Dillon with some of the 1,200 care packages sent to the Ruby Princess crew (Robert Peet)

| Illawarra Mercury | Edited

WOLLONGONG, NSW - The troubled Ruby Princess cruise ship has now left Port Kembla for the Philippines while police continue a homicide investigation into the source of Australia's largest outbreak of coronavirus.

But on Tuesday, before it sailed, a little bit of hope and compassion - in the form of well-loved Aussie snacks - arrived to lift the spirits of the 1,000 crew members on board, thanks to a generous donation of care packages from the Illawarra community.

Continue reading "Ruby Princess, with love from Wollongong" »

George & I


DAGUA - Today, it’s just George and I. Well, it’s been just the two of us since Thursday, that’s like five days ago.

It's been five days since missus and the girls left for Wewak because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Everyone is talking about the coronavirus thing and how it came from China after someone there decided to make bat soup, got infected with bat virus and eventually infected the whole wide world.

Continue reading "George & I" »

In times of crisis we learn together

As we face Covid-19  HIVAIDs reminds us it is still there (Judith Moinoar Sirias)
As we face Covid-19 HIVAIDs reminds us it is still there (Judith Moinoar Sirias)


PORT MORESBY - In early 1987 the first case of HIV/AIDs was reported in Papua New Guinea.

I had just started as a young reporter with New Nation, a youth magazine published by Word Publishing Company.

It was a very frightening period for me. Coming from the countryside of East Sepik and then Madang, the city was a new thing for me. The cars moved too fast and the streets were scary.

Continue reading "In times of crisis we learn together" »

God, Covid-19 & remote health

The remote Fly River port of Kiunga in PNG's Western Province

| DevPolicy Blog

CANBERRA - The first Covid-19 case reached Papua New Guinea on 13 March 2020, though it was several days before it was unambiguously confirmed.

On 17 March the pandemic was declared a national security issue, and a state of emergency came into effect on 24 March.

Continue reading "God, Covid-19 & remote health" »

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.

Continue reading "Coronavirus isolates Marape & Kramer" »

The prayer from next door

Daniel Kumbon - "And the birds continue to sing every morning, perhaps praising God as they've done for millennia"


PORT MORESBY – With Papua New Guinea under a state of emergency, I haven't been able to return to my home in Wabag and, here in the national capital, I continue to hear the lady next door pray to God every morning.

Today's prayer, translated from the Enga and Pidgin languages, went something like this.

Continue reading "The prayer from next door" »

Chief Covidiot blocks health unity

| Pacific Media Watch | Extract

David is self-isolating in Auckland under New Zealand’s Covid-19 lockdown. You can read his complete article here.

AUCKLAND - Donald Trump’s sabre-rattling freeze on funding for the World Health Organisation at a time when many countries are pulling together for a global response to the coronavirus pandemic has surely earned him the epithet of the “world’s chief covidiot”.

The US President’s efforts at deflecting the blame for his country’s national public health crisis by pointing the finger at WHO and announcing that Washington would pull funding as the largest donor has shocked the world, triggering widespread condemnation from leaders and public health experts.

Continue reading "Chief Covidiot blocks health unity" »

The black swan has arrived

Black_swan_cartoonCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - I once wrote a piece for PNG Attitude entitled ‘Waiting for the Black Swan’, in which I offered a prediction about the world’s debt problem:

“Black swan events are inherently unpredictable except that we know that they can and do occur. It therefore seems quite crazy to build a financial system that is, figuratively speaking, balanced on the head of a pin and so exquisitely susceptible to even predictable disruptive events let alone something utterly unexpected, unknown and massive in size.

“For this reason, I think that we are truly waiting for the Black Swan. As ordinary folk, all we can do is try to minimise our financial vulnerabilities, hunker down and hope for the best. Hopefully, this will be enough.”

Continue reading "The black swan has arrived" »

World Bank commits to coronavirus fight

| World Bank | Edited

PORT MORESBY – The World Bank has approved an emergency K70 million project for Papua New Guinea to provide rapid support the country’s coronavirus pandemic response.

The emergency support will fund rapid health support for PNG focused on protecting health workers and others in the response effort, helping PNG health authorities quickly scale-up testing capacity, and strengthening public education to combat the spread of the virus.

Continue reading "World Bank commits to coronavirus fight" »

Destitution on Australia’s border

Prof Mark Moran - "For PNG residents, the Australian government approach to border management relies on a hierarchy of haves and have-nots — those villages with treaty status, and those without"

| The Conversation

BRISBANE - Less than four kilometres from Australia’s northernmost islands in the Torres Strait lies the South Fly District of Papua New Guinea.

If you’ve ever heard anything about this borderland region – wedged between Australia, Indonesia and the Fly River in southern PNG – it’s likely about protecting Australia from disease, illegal migration, drugs and gun smuggling.

Continue reading "Destitution on Australia’s border" »

Stranded citizens seek to return home

David Manning
Police commissioner and emergency controller David Manning

| Papua New Guinea Today

PORT MORESBY - Nearly 500 Papua New Guinean citizens stranded overseas have applied to return home.

In his daily Covid-19 briefing on Saturday, PNG’s state of emergency controller, police commissioner David Manning, says he is working closely with the department of foreign affairs on the details of their repatriation.

Continue reading "Stranded citizens seek to return home" »

Broken health system braces for Covid-19

Margaret Melke has been a nurse in East New Britain for more than 40 years
Margaret Melke has been a nurse in East New Britain for more than 40 years

| Guardian Australia | Judith Nielson Institute

KOKOPO - The first that staff at Nonga General Hospital in Papua New Guinea heard that they had been treating someone with coronavirus, was when they saw the country’s prime minister announce it in televised press conference on Monday.

They had been treating the patient, a volunteer health worker at the hospital, for pneumonia.

Continue reading "Broken health system braces for Covid-19" »

Health system unprepared for virus

| Australia Associate Director, Human Rights Watch

SYDNEY - Even before the coronavirus, the fragile health system in Papua New Guinea was underfunded and overwhelmed, with high rates of malaria, tuberculosis, and diabetes among its population of more than eight million.

Access to hospitals is extremely limited, with 80% of the population living outside urban centres.

Prime Minister James Marape has acknowledged the country has only 500 doctors, less than 4,000 nurses, and around 5,000 beds in hospitals and health centres. The country reportedly has only 14 ventilators. A Covid-19 outbreak would be catastrophic.

Continue reading "Health system unprepared for virus" »

PNG must control its borders

The Indonesian border at Wutung in PNG was closed two months ago because of the apprehended danger of coronavirus

| Asia & the Pacific Policy Society

CANBERRA - With a surge in Covid-19 cases predicted for Indonesia, the possibility of the dreaded virus entering Papua New Guinea from West Papua Province is a real concern amongst observers and the government.

Two months ago, the Governor of West Sepik Province, Tony Wouwou, closed the PNG-Indonesia border post at Wutung in response to the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China.

Continue reading "PNG must control its borders" »

Wanpela dei tasol insait long Covid-19 lockdown


English translation follows

Sampela taim mi save tingting planti tumas 
Long wanem as tru bilong ol kainkain bikpela hevi
I bagarapim sindaun bilong yumi ol man meri
Kuru bilong mi i kamap ston, na het bilong mi pen
Na sampela nait mi painim hat long silip

Long apinun mi bin wokabaut igo long strit maket 
Mi hamamas long lukim ol wanwan mama salim  banana na kumu
Wanwan man meri tu ol i raun painim kaikai
Mipela tok halo long ai tasol na igo bek gen long haus
Grisim kumu long kokonas em i kamap swit moa iet

Continue reading "Wanpela dei tasol insait long Covid-19 lockdown " »

Australia steps up Pacific medical support

| Sydney Morning Herald

SYDNEY - Australia will send charter flights carrying tonnes of urgent medical supplies and other support to Pacific island nations to help combat the coronavirus pandemic.

The deliveries come as the Pacific Islands Forum moves closer to agreeing on the creation of a "humanitarian corridor" to keep medical and food supplies flowing amid travel and movement restrictions, and China steps up its aid to the region.

Continue reading "Australia steps up Pacific medical support" »

God, mammon & coronavirus

Old duffers
Old duffers on PNG Attitude have quite a bit extra to chew over in these troubled times....


‘No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money’ - Matthew 6:12

TUMBY BAY – There has been a lively discussion about capitalism and neo-liberalism on PNG Attitude for a number of years now.

Most of it seems to be among the blog’s cadre of old duffers ruminating about their lives and the current state of the world.

Continue reading "God, mammon & coronavirus" »

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.

Continue reading "Good strategy needed to beat Covid-19" »

Virus: Creeping authoritarianism no answer

USS Theodore Roosevelt in Guam (US Navy screenshot)
USS Theodore Roosevelt in Guam - epidemics have been a persistent part of Guam’s history (US Navy screenshot)

| Asia Pacific Report

AUCKLAND - A rather beautiful Guåhan legend is rather poignant in these stressed pandemic times. It is one about survival and cooperation.

In ancient times, goes the story, a giant fish was eating great chunks out of this western Pacific island. The men used muscle and might with spears and slings to try to catch it.

Continue reading "Virus: Creeping authoritarianism no answer" »

A paradigm shift amidst a pandemic

Yamin Kogoya - "The pandemic is revealing the cracks in society, about how unprepared the system is when it comes to uniting people against a common enemy"

| Edited extracts

CANBERRA - The creation of an illegal Indonesian state in the sovereign nation of West Papua has brought death and unprecedented catastrophic destruction to Papuan ancestral homelands.

The Indonesian government, with the complicity of Western governments and institutions such as the United Nations (who supported the absorption of West Papua into Indonesia in the 1960s) are guilty of crimes against humanity.

Continue reading "A paradigm shift amidst a pandemic" »

It’s our attitude; it is us

Alexander Nara - "If we are hit hard, what will be our response if everyone we love starts falling in numbers, leaving behind corpses we are never allowed to bury?"


PORT MORESBY - I find it traumatising enough to think that we may have failed to avoid this fatal breach by death itself into our society, security and sovereignty.

We can blame ignorance, I suppose, which shares the bright lights with our negligence towards Papua New Guinea’s sovereign borders.

It is sickening to imagine what will transpire if coronavirus spreads undetected into our midst.

Continue reading "It’s our attitude; it is us" »

Spin, prayer & missed opportunities

Indonesia-PNG border at Vanimo


TUMBY BAY - Apart from yesterday’s proposal by East Sepik governor Allan Bird to shoot border crossers from Indonesia, the most astonishing recent Papua New Guinea government statement came from prime minister James Marape on Monday 31 March.

If the report by Glenda Popot of FM100 is accurate, the Covid-19 crisis has prompted the prime minister to admit that “the country’s health system lacks proper resources and care facilities including basic medical drugs”.

Continue reading "Spin, prayer & missed opportunities" »

Coronavirus: What our correspondents say


NOOSA - I don’t like to be morbid, but the imminent escalation of coronavirus in Australia and, most likely, Papua New Guinea require a reflection.

This modern plague is costing many lives and many more livelihoods. And in Australia its spread, until very recently, was facilitated by our political leaders and their subjugated medical advisers who, for some wild fancy, believed it could be micro-managed.

Continue reading "Coronavirus: What our correspondents say" »

Fear & loathing in a time of virus


ADELAIDE - This morning I went out to undertake a mundane task; that being to purchase a few items from the local supermarket.

Upon arrival at the place, it soon became apparent that it had been looted by persons unknown. Many staples like rice, pasta, sugar and meat had vanished from the shelves. Paper products like toilet rolls and tissues were non-existent.

Continue reading "Fear & loathing in a time of virus" »

4,000 nurses to strike over coronavirus

People last-minute shopping in Kokopo ahead of the coronavirus lockdown (Kalolaine Fainu  The Guardian)
People last-minute shopping in Kokopo ahead of the coronavirus lockdown (Kalolaine Fainu,  The Guardian)

| Guardian Australia

PORT MORESBY - Four thousand nurses are expected to participate in strikes across Papua New Guinea this week over concerns that the Pacific nation lacks the medical supplies and funding to handle a potential coronavirus outbreak.

The industrial action follows a sit-in by nearly 600 nurses in the capital of Port Moresby on Thursday over concerns about the lack of personal protective equipment for medical staff.

Continue reading "4,000 nurses to strike over coronavirus" »