NOOSA - As Covid spreads its tentacles to embrace half the Australian population and 50 people die each day, Keith joins the plague-riddled crowd with a series of amazing tweets including this one that has accumulated 13,000 impressions so far: "I dedicate my maiden bout of Covid to the diabolical duo of Queensland premier Palaszczuk & Chief Health Officer Gerrard. Now I get to find out how it blends with my ME/CFS. Ah, what a time to be alive, however temporarily."
This blog will have an even more intermittent quality over coming days. But Keith will fire the odd shot on Twitter (which we also run in the right hand column). Like these three, written before Keith knew he was ill: "This truculent silence by the authorities is like something we have never seen. It's a form of denial; a group neurosis. The stunned silence rendered by a Covid crisis which should turn into shocked action but in this case has spawned a protracted cowardly muteness."
Or this: "The PNG government has given up on Covid. This is not understood by Australians yet, but so has their government given up. Many more people will die or succumb to chronic illness unless this insane denialism changes. Vaccinations were never enough."
And a demand for scalps: "Queensland Chief Health Officer should be fired & Premier Palaszczuk should step down. They have not only failed in their duty to keep the community safe, their policies have enabled the continuing unchecked spread of Covid leading to 1,200 deaths and uncountable lifelong chronic illnesses so far in Queensland alone."
A Twitter thread examining the alarming, tragic and unfinished story of Covid in Australia: where the people are now; how we got here; and what we must do to extract ourselves from this shitshow
Image by The Age
BRISBANE - First, where are we right now? Some facts.
Around 50% of all Australians have had Covid, there have been 9,700 deaths from Covid and about half a million people are suffering from Long Covid.
To put that in perspective, the current death rate is around 50 people per day, and increasing.
Continue reading "Australia's Covid situation is out of control" »
'Government should tell us the facts about the effects and benefits rather than forcing people to get vaccine'
NOOSA - Public health experts agree that widespread vaccination coverage together with mask-wearing, distancing and some other protocols are the best way to end pandemics.
While vaccination is not the only protection, it is a vital component of keeping the disease under control.
Continue reading "Research: 61% of PNG workers reject vaccine" »
A regional tuberculosis treatment centre in PNG (World Vision)
| SBS News
PNG has already seen the emergence and spread of highly-drug resistant TB strains
SYDNEY - While all eyes are on the Covid-19 crisis, one of the world's deadliest diseases continues to haunt the Pacific.
Tuberculosis, or TB, is a highly-contagious airborne bacterial infection that attacks the lungs.
Continue reading "Pacific TB rates continue to climb" »
Suspicion towards Chinese people has grown since the virus emerged in Wuhan (AFP)
| South China Morning Post
It's easy for some politicians to deny racism in Australia when they are not members of targeted ethnic groups
SYDNEY – Another war is tearing through Australia’s civil society: a war of discrimination, racism and suspicion.
For three consecutive years, Australian politicians have commemorated Anzac Day, a time of remembrance of its war dead, with war-cries.
Continue reading "Anti-China racism as war talk stirs Oz" »
Coastline near Papua New Guinea - Indonesia border (Johnny Blades, RNZ)
| Radio New Zealand
AUCKLAND - Border crossing arrangements between Papua New Guinea and Queensland through the Torres Strait have been suspended.
PNG's police commissioner and National Pandemic Response controller, David Manning, has declared the new measure under the National Pandemic Act.
Continue reading "Sea border closed between Qld & PNG" »
AUSTRALIA PACIFIC SECURITY COLLEGE
CANBERRA - COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the Pacific, with many island nations experiencing their first outbreaks of the pandemic.
As the two-year anniversary of the pandemic in the Pacific approaches, island nations continue to see record numbers of cases, and in some instances hospitalisations.
Continue reading "Covid in the Pacific: February 2022" »
NOOSA – Most longstanding readers will remember December 2011 when Peter O’Neill was trying to wrest control of Papua New Guinea from prime minister Michael Somare.
It was a strange time. While the courts were trying to work things out, the country had two prime ministers, two police commissioners, two army commanders and two of a lot of other positions.
Continue reading "Beware, this pandemic is nowhere near over" »
Annastacia Palaszczuk watches on as Queensland chief health officer Dr John Gerrard briefs journalists. Their handling of the pandemic has met with widespread condemnation in the community
“A pandemic is over when we stop widespread infection. It’s in the definition” - Dr Henry Madison
NOOSA – I’ve had a fair bit to say recently, rather more on Twitter than here, about the tragedy being played out in Australia as fools gain the upper hand in determining Covid policy.
It has been a struggle that pitted politics and commerce against science (see quote by the Queensland chief health officer quoted in the box below). And science lost.
Continue reading "How do they think infection will fix Covid?" »
Covid in the Pacific - January headlines
PSC NEWS DESK
| Australia Pacific Security College (PSC)
CANBERRA -The rapid spread of the Omicron variant within the Pacific has seen community transmission in the previously Covid-19-free countries of Palau, Kiribati, Tonga, and Solomon Islands.
The Omicron variant has led to a significant increase in the number of cases throughout the Pacific region to start 2022, with the majority of countries now seeing community transmission of Covid or having cases in quarantine.
Continue reading "Covid: The Pacific response - January 2022" »
Illustration by Kal (The Economist)
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" »
Lining up for clinic at a rural hospital in PNG (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" »
Dr John Gerrard's extraordinary words - "Not only is the spread of this virus inevitable, it is necessary”
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 Hela gang - law enforcement lacks integrity and capability (Michael Main)
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" »
Covid Ward, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
| 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" »
Dr John Gerrard - "We are not going to stop the Omicron virus. Not only is the spread of this virus inevitable, it is necessary”
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 " »
Phil Fitzpatrick - like all rational people, looking forward with apprehension
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?" »
NOOSA - I guess there are other people like me who no longer accept at face value the day’s official download of Covid information.
Too many of these ‘officials’ are Covid brokers – they have skin in the game.
Politicians whose ideology attracts them to prioritise commerce over health.
Continue reading "Keeping up with Covid (& its bad brokers)" »
| 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?" »
| The Guardian | Judith Nielson Institute | Extracts
Link to the complete article here
MELBOURNE - In mid-October Dr Clement Malau, a Harvard-educated public health specialist and former secretary of the Papua New Guinea health department, was alarmed to discover he had gone viral. Only he hadn’t.
Continue reading "How PNG’s Covid strategy went wrong" »
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" »
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" »
PHILIP 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" »
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" »
| Pearls & Irritations | Edited extracts
SYDNEY - While Australia embarks on third booster shots, the vaccination rate in Papua New Guinea is less than two percent.
What does that say about being a good neighbour?
Well, look at these quotes:
Continue reading "Australia must improve its vaccine sharing" »
COMPILED & 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" »
Medical staff work in haste to treat a Covid patient in Port Moresby General Hospital
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’" »
Inside the Port Moresby morgue. Outside the 'no vacancies' sign has been erected as the morgue has reached its capacity of 300 cadavers
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" »
Roadside buai seller, Enga Province - PNG showed complacency, avoidance and denial when it needed to be getting ready for Covid's onslaught (gailhampshire, Flickr)
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?" »
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"
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" »
Health workers move body bags at the Goroka Hospital morgue (EMTV)
| 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" »
Win Nicholas - "The number of deaths is unprecedented. We haven’t seen deaths like this before"
| 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" »
Ok Tedi Covid screening station - with no vaccination mandate, not enough to save AG Satori's cousin
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" »
Pandemic Controller David Manning (EMTV)
NOOSA - PORT MORESBY - Domestic passenger flights have been reduced to three Covid ‘high risk’ provinces in Papua New Guinea - West Sepik, Western and Eastern Highlands.
The only travel, which must be approved beforehand, is for health workers, business people and students.
Continue reading "Covid has PNG under the pump" »
| 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" »
| 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" »
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" »
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" »
CLEVELAND – I don't disagree about recent observations in PNG Attitude about the political blunders made in Australia’s response to the Covid threat.
But I believe the core problem lies within our system of selecting political leaders.
Continue reading "Crisis of competence: Our flawed pollies" »
When plans turn to MASH (Illustration - John Shakespeare, Sydney Morning Herald)
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" »
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"
| 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" »
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" »
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" »
Barbara Angoro can't wait to return to the laboratory wherein lies the essence of her PhD
| 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" »
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" »
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" »
ADELAIDE - As an historian I have a special interest in the causes, courses and consequences of war.
And I am especially interested in the character, motivation and achievements of those who end up as leaders.
Continue reading "Covid in Australia: Sensible centre holds" »
Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian - incompetent politicians who are existential threats to Australia
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" »
Healthcare worker at Rumginae Hospital in the North Fly District of Western Province (United Nations)
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" »
Waiting room at Mt Hagen hospital (Mark Dozier, AFP)
| 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?" »