Coronavirus Feed

Abt to deploy Covid vaccine in PNG

| Abt Associates

ROCKVILLE, USA - Gavi, the global vaccine alliance, has awarded Abt Associates a contract to help roll out Covid-19 vaccines in up to 24 countries including Papua New Guinea.

The contract is part of a global strategy to reduce Covid-19 transmission and loss of life and prevent a protracted global health and humanitarian crisis.

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Settlement dwellers smell Covid corruption

Biomed dr bomai kerenga
Biomed chairman Dr Bomai Kerenga. The company has been mysteriously silent since receiving a K10.2 million from the Marape government to find a cure for Covid-19


WAIGANI - Many residents of Port Moresby’s settlements believe Covid-19 is a hoax used by opportunistic government officials to embezzle public funds.

The PNG National Research Institute (NRI) surveyed perceptions of residents of 10 settlements and found more than three-quarters of respondents thought the pandemic was dubious and an excuse for corruption.

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Beyond 2020: A hazardous row to hoe


TUMBY BAY - As 2020 draws to a close, confusion and trepidation seem to be the major emotions people the world over are feeling.

The confusion stems from uncertainty about how to interpret what appear to be existential threats in 2021 and beyond.

They include the coronavirus pandemic.

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Reflections on a dismal year


ADELAIDE - As 2020 staggers towards its dismal end, the trail of upheaval and disasters left in its wake will continue to reverberate around the world for many years to come.

When historians of the future are considering the impact of Covid-19 on the world, they will be presented with a smorgasbord of issues to contemplate.

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Families separated by Covid border closures

Nagoi Jimmy & family
The last photo Nagoi Jimmy took with his family before borders closed in March 2020 (Supplied to ABC)

| ABC Asia Pacific Newsroom

CAIRNS – Nagoi Jimmy hasn't seen his partner and four kids in a year, but they live just six kilometres apart.

From the shore of his village in Papua New Guinea, Mr Jimmy can spot their island on the horizon.

Between them is a stretch of sparkling blue ocean and Australia's international border, which closed in March when the country went into lockdown.

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80% of settlement dwellers say Covid ‘a hoax’

Eugene Ezebilo
PNGRI deputy research director associate professor Eugene Ezebilo

|  PNG National Research Institute | Edited extracts

Link here to read the complete research paper

BOROKO – The paper, ‘Covid-19 pandemic as perceived by residents of informal-built areas segment of Port Moresby’, looks at the Covid-19 pandemic and the response by the Papua New Guinea government as perceived by settlement residents in the national capital.

The research covered settlements at Bush Wara, 8-Mile, Joyce Bay, Kipo, Mautana, Ogoniva, Ranuguri, Talai, Taurama and Vanagi.

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The Covid reality versus death & denial


ADELAIDE - I think that most of you will agree that 2020 has been the most strange, disruptive and, in many respects, disturbing year of our lives.

This has certainly been the case for me, where two major medical events have occurred leaving me seriously frightened and, for some time, in considerable pain.

Of course, in the wider world, what has happened in my life is of no consequence.

Continue reading "The Covid reality versus death & denial" »

K10m to BioMed “a total waste of funds”

Dr Bomai Kerenga - Argues that individual countries must fend for themselves against the Covid-19 pandemic and PNG is no exception.

| The Guardian | Judith Nielson Institute

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea has approved nearly K10.2 million from its threadbare budget for an as-yet-unidentified Covid-19 treatment – allocating the money to an unknown biomedical company that was formed in August.

Prime minister James Marape, has insisted the national executive council had not completed its approval process to engage a PNG company to find a treatment, but leaked cabinet documents appear to show the K10.2 being awarded to Niugini BioMed Ltd for research into discovering a new treatment for Covid-19 infections from existing drugs.

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Covid costs Port Moresby musos big time

Musos without a gigOALA MOI
| My Land, My Country

PORT MORESBY - A group of seven Port Moresby-based musicians have lost a combined income estimated at K232,000 over the six months since April, working out to K1,275 for each musician each week.

The musicians gathered last weekend at the National Museum & Art Gallery at Waigani to share personal stories of the effect of Covid-19 measures on their families.

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Virus’s huge impact on PNG small business

| Asia & the Pacific Policy Society | Edited extract

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.

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2020 signals major change for PNG & the world


ADELAIDE - Unfortunately the tides of history do not always move in a linear or predictable fashion. Take the Russian Revolution for example.

The first major convulsion within Tsarist Russia occurred in 1905. A combination of suppression and political concessions enable the old regime to remain in place but it was an ominous warning for the Tsarists that the status quo would not and could not last much longer.

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The Covid-19 ‘new normal’

The 9 Mile market outside Lae city (Michael Dom)

| Diplomatique | Literary Colloquium Berlin

LAE - The global pandemic of Covid-19 has had many repercussions to daily life and keeping abreast with World Health Organisation recommendations, the Papua New Guinea government has also defined the ‘new normal’ for its citizens.

But to thousands of the peri-urban poor, struggling to survive during trying economic times, the impact of policing health measures is just another normal day.

Continue reading "The Covid-19 ‘new normal’" »

Hey G20, where's our K73 billion for Covid?

| Transparency International

BERLIN - In many ways, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has turned the world upside down.

Besides the devastating human toll around the world, we have also been living through an increasingly disturbing reality that is marked with rising authoritarianism, reduced civic space and misuse of relief funds.

Continue reading "Hey G20, where's our K73 billion for Covid?" »

Ban on 'Covid vaccinated' Chinese mine staff

| Pacific Editor, Guardian Australia | Extract

SYDNEY - A planeload of Chinese mine workers has been barred from entering Papua New Guinea, over concerns they had been subjected to an unapproved Covid-19 vaccination trial before they left.

A flight from China carrying workers for the Chinese state-owned Ramu Nickel mine in Madang Province was cancelled by PNG’s police commissioner and pandemic controller, David Manning, over concerns about the trial.

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Tanis urges optimism on Covid-19

James Tanis
James Tanis - "“My people of Bougainville will get through this pandemic. We are a resilient people who have faced adversity and prevailed time and time again...."


BUKA - Bougainvilleans are being urged to remain vigilant and to comply with state of emergency orders in light of the growing concerns over the Covid-19 pandemic which has already hit Port Moresby.

Former Autonomous Bougainville Government (ABG) president James Tanis has urged Bougainvilleans throughout PNG to adhere to restrictions to mitigate the spread of the virus.

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Covid-19 exposes gross failures

Phil Fitzpatrick: "The K70 million the World Bank gave PNG months ago to prepare for the pandemic has mysteriously disappeared"


TUMBY BAY - Covid-19 is having a remarkable impact all over the world as it exposes the ideological and structural shortcomings of government and corporate entities.

In the USA and Britain, the bumbling incompetence of their leaders is shown in the disastrous statistics related to rates of infection and deaths from the virus.

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PNG hospitals brace for Covid-19 surge

James Marape
James Marape says PNG's health system cannot deal with a widespread outbreak of coronavirus (AAP)

| Guardian Australia| Judith Nielson Institute

PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea’s Covid-19 outbreak could overwhelm its health system within days, the country’s pandemic chief has warned, as masks have been made compulsory in the capital, and the government has called in the World Health OrganiSation and the military for help.

PNG’s pandemic response controller David Manning said a dedicated isolation unit established in Port Moresby to treat Covid-19 could soon be overwhelmed if current infections trends continue.

Continue reading "PNG hospitals brace for Covid-19 surge" »

Covid emergency cannot fix years of neglect

Nurse sits at a screening station in East New Britain (Kalo Fainu  The Guardian)
Nurse sits at a screening station in East New Britain (Kalo Fainu/ The Guardian)

| Asia & Pacific Policy Society | Edited extracts

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea has registered 39 positive Covid-19 cases, most of them in the last week, leading to the reinstatement of a range of measures to limit the spread of the disease as a second lockdown is imposed.

PNG’s reliance on a state of emergency and lockdowns to contain Covid-19 is proving difficult due to years of government negligence that have led to both poor health infrastructure and limited police and military capabilities, including the ability to adequately police unauthorised movements across PNG’s borders.

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Confusion surrounds Covid-19 fight in PNG

Covid gear
Smartly dressed aid officials from PNG, Australia and WHO pose with a box symbolising the energy behind the campaign to fight Covid-19 in PNG. But sometimes photos don't tell the real story


NOOSA – Late last week Papua New Guinea cried out for international emergency medical teams to assist its operations to fight Covid-19.

PNG police commissioner and emergency controller David Manning issued the alert after the number of Covid-19 cases in PNG more than doubled last week to an official figure of 39, with the bulk of those recorded at Port Moresby general hospital and centred on the infectious diseases unit.

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Covid is real & we should be too


“No doc we ain’t got no COVID. Stop trying to squeeze water out of a stone. The models aren’t wrong, you are wrong. The clinical and epidemiological evidence isn’t there!” (Martyn Namorong replies to a newspaper article by asserting there’s no Covid-19 in Papua New Guinea)

ADELAIDE - I struggle to understand why Martyn Namorong, who seems a pretty smart guy, would be saying that Covid-19 is a hoax. I'll do him the courtesy of assuming he was being ironic.

The notion that Covid-19 is a hoax appears to originate, as do so many truly batshit crazy ideas, in the fermentation tank of genius and idiocy that is the United States.

Continue reading "Covid is real & we should be too" »

Covid PNG: Unprepared & understated

Public controversialist Martyn Namorong is no stranger to masks. This pic dates from 2017 and, with nose fully exposed, would be useless in fighting off Covid-19


PORT MORESBY - For month after month this year, Papua New Guinea was said to have had eight cases of Covid-19, all of which had been resolved satisfactorily.

As a lifetime skeptic, I never believed the blithe certainty of that fixed in concrete statistic.

Yesterday, health authorities announced a new Covid-19 tally of 30 cases, most linked to an outbreak at Port Moresby hospital.

Continue reading "Covid PNG: Unprepared & understated" »

Operation Covid-19: ‘Resilient & Agile’

Inside the PNGDF Covid coordination centre
Inside PNGDF joint task force Covid-19 headquarters (JTFHQ) in Port Moresby


PORT MORESBY – The Covid-19 pandemic has had a serious impact on Papua New Guinea’s national security as the government heightens measures across land, air and sea borders.

There is a new focus on continuous enhancement of PNG Defence Force capabilities especially along the 720 kilometres land border.

Continue reading "Operation Covid-19: ‘Resilient & Agile’" »

Why neo-liberals can’t handle a crisis


TUMBY BAY - Many businesses all over the world have been caught out by Covid-19 through the disruption of supply lines. Goods are not coming into countries because of the closure of borders.

Australia has been particularly affected because home-grown manufacturing has declined significantly and just about everything except agricultural products come from overseas, and China in particular.

Continue reading "Why neo-liberals can’t handle a crisis" »

Mercy Works Goroka deals with Covid-19

 (Mercy Works)
Alphonsa and Judy prepare to sew masks at Mercy Works in Goroka

| Catholic Outlook

PARRAMATTA, NSW - The people of Papua New Guinea have been hit hard by their government’s declaration of a state of emergency to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Thankfully these measures appear to be working with the number of reported cases remaining low.

The impact, however, on the lives of poorer inhabitants has been devastating.

Continue reading "Mercy Works Goroka deals with Covid-19" »

Covid-19 & muting the Angel of Death

Kavieng from the air
Kavieng from the air - a beautiful place I'd never seen before until my coronavirus-affected travels


PORT MORESBY – Last Tuesday the Papua New Guinea parliament extended the coronavirus state of emergency for another two weeks to provide time to pass a new piece of legislation – the Public Health Emergency Bill - that will control how people live in that condition known as the ‘new normal’.

Many people felt the extension was unnecessary, especially when all eight people officially tested positive to Covid-19 have recovered and no new cases detected.

Continue reading "Covid-19 & muting the Angel of Death" »

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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'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.

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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.

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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" »