Covid & coronavirus Feed

Covid & misinformation unnerve us in PNG

Bernadette Yakopa
Bernadette Yakopa - "Papua New Guineans are resilient people, but this is something different altogether"

BERNADETTE YAKOPA
| Australian Broadcasting Corporation

DARU - Here in Western Province in Papua New Guinea, a stone's throw from the Australian mainland, things are looking alarming.

Cases and deaths from coronavirus are skyrocketing, and we are facing a misinformation pandemic on top of a Covid one.

Continue reading "Covid & misinformation unnerve us in PNG" »


April fool cruelty in a time of Covid

Kumbon - Michael Yahu in front of his village house in Manus
Michael Yahu in front of his village house in Manus

DANIEL KUMBON

PORT MORESBY – For a while I did not realise that Good Friday was April Fool’s Day and joined my family to cry when I received news that a long-time friend, a retired public servant, had died on Manus Island.

Whoever fabricated the story was senseless to circulate such a joke on social media. He lacked all understanding of human relations and etiquette.

Continue reading "April fool cruelty in a time of Covid" »


Australia & PNG’s unfolding Covid disaster

Capture
PNG's Rainbo Paita welcomed China’s offer of Sinovac vaccine earlier this year (“a friend in need is a friend indeed”) but later backed away. Did someone in Australia have some words?

PROF JOHN DWYER
| Pearls & Irritations | Edited

SYDNEY - Helping Papua New Guinea with its disastrous Covid outbreak is not pure altruism on our part.

The unbridled, indeed raging, pandemic, known to have infected 100,000 already and likely to have infected a million more within a week or so, provides a perfect ‘incubator’ for wild type more infectious variants of the Covid to develop.

Continue reading "Australia & PNG’s unfolding Covid disaster" »


Marape promises but corruption continues

Rita Flynn Isolation Centre
Rita Flynn Isolation Centre in Port Moresby - scene of the latest rip-off by public servants raises questions about Marape's willingness to rein in corruption

EDDIE TANAGO
| Act Now!

PORT MORESBY - The latest scandal over catering services at the Rita Flynn Isolation Centre highlights the Marape government’s broken promises to break the cycle of impunity enjoyed by senior bureaucrats.

The tsunami of corruption that is drowning our nation can only be addressed through greater transparency and public accountability.

Continue reading "Marape promises but corruption continues" »


Danger closes in from Covid mutations

Vaccine equityJAKE JOHNSON
| Common Dreams | Edited

In early March, just before Papua New Guinea experienced a shocking spike in Covid-19 cases, PNG Attitude reported that Australia had joined other Western countries in rejecting a proposal to lift vaccine-related patent protections, which would have made it possible to produce more vaccine.

Now US president Joe Biden is considering whether to throw US support behind the proposal and so allow for a massive acceleration of vaccine production and distribution around the world. As the following article reveals, it could be disastrous for the world if this does not happen soon - KJ

Continue reading "Danger closes in from Covid mutations" »


A message from the Covid ward

PNG & Australian medical specialists work alongside each other in the Covid response (DFAT)
PNG and Australian medical specialists work alongside each other in the Covid response (DFAT)

BEENA DAGAM KULAU
| The Kramer Report

Dr Beena Dagam Kulau is a surgeon at Port Moresby General Hospital

PORT MORESBY - After I fell ill with Covid it came to a point where I could not walk without support and needed to be hospitalised.

What a difficult period it was for my family and I as, at the same time I was admitted, a loved one was also admitted, but to the general ward.

Continue reading "A message from the Covid ward" »


Leaving Covid behind with brush strokes

Paintings
Simon Pentanu's 'first three goers' - therapeutic to paint and relaxing to look at

SIMON PENTANU

Hon Simon Pentanu MP is Speaker of the Bougainville Parliament.
He is recovering from Covid.

BUKA - Stress and distress can be managed without popping pills or smelling Epsom Salts.

Or looking for the nearest pub to drown your worries or sorrows. Or worse, thinking about a noose.

A pandemic of any sort cannot be downplayed. And there is always help nearer than you think.

Continue reading "Leaving Covid behind with brush strokes" »


Oz diplomacy tested as Covid slams PNG

New covid cases
The steep rise in new Covid cases in PNG that has alarmed authorities on both sides of the Torres Strait

MITCH RYAN
| Nikkei Asia

SYDNEY -- Papua New Guinea long appeared to have escaped the worst of the coronavirus crisis. But a surge in cases since February has brought the country’s largest hospital to the brink of collapse.

For the nation's much larger neighbour, Australia, the outbreak is considered a serious threat as well as a critical moment in a broader ‘vaccine diplomacy’ campaign.

Continue reading "Oz diplomacy tested as Covid slams PNG" »


Siba–Kramer Covid debate continues

Prof Peter Siba and Bryan Kramer MP
Prof Peter Siba and  Justice Minister Bryan Kramer  - is their disagreement about vaccine safety or just a wounded ego?

HON BRYAN KRAMER MP
| Kramer Report

PORT MORESBY - Last week Professor Peter Siba challenged Dr Glen Mola and me to a public debate on the use of Covid-19 vaccines in Papua New Guinea.

Professor Siba is a virologist, former member of the Institute of Medical Research and current director of Divine Word University’s Madang-based Centre for Health Research and Diagnostics.

Continue reading "Siba–Kramer Covid debate continues" »


Misinformation fuels Covid surge in PNG

Covid testing in Port Moresby (Matt Cannon  St John's Ambulance PNG)
Covid testing in Port Moresby (Matt Cannon St John's Ambulance PNG)

NEWS DESK
| CoronaCheck | RMIT ABC Fact Check

MELBOURNE - As a wave of coronavirus cases in PNG threatens to spill over into Australia, experts are sounding a warning about online misinformation in the Pacific nation.

Amnesty International has lambasted Australia and New Zealand for what the group's Pacific researcher, Kate Schuetze, called a "woefully inadequate" response to the pandemic.

Continue reading "Misinformation fuels Covid surge in PNG" »


Covid vaccines & social media disinformation

Covid-19-vaccinationBARBARA ANGORO
| Duresi’s Odyssey | Edited

AUCKLAND - Last week I saw much social media commentary by fellow Papua New Guineans following a newspaper article on the supply of Covid-19 vaccines to PNG and other countries by GAVI.

GAVI is an international organisation that was established to improve access to vaccines for countries like PNG that are considered to be low income.

Continue reading "Covid vaccines & social media disinformation" »


Canberra’s approach to PNG seems hapless

ShotCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - There are two observations I wish to make about Keith Jackson’s story on Australia’s response to the Covid crisis in Papua New Guinea.

The first is that the Australian government has yet to grasp the scale of the disaster unfolding in PNG and, consequently, has yet to realise that only a truly massive intervention by Australia (perhaps with the help of New Zealand) will ensure a timely and comprehensive implementation of a national vaccination program.

Continue reading "Canberra’s approach to PNG seems hapless" »


Zero for months; now PNG overwhelmed

Vaccine doses donated by Australia arrived in Port Moresby  Papua New Guinea  on Tuesday (Andrew Kutan  Agence France-Presse)LIVIA ALBECK-RIPKA
| New York Times | Extract

Link here for the full story in the New York Times

PORT MORESBY - The emergency rooms are heaving, health care workers are falling sick, and misinformation about the coronavirus is running rife.

It has all left Papua New Guinea, an island nation just north of Australia, in the grip of a deadly crisis, as a tripling of infections over the past month has swamped an already fragile health care system.

Continue reading "Zero for months; now PNG overwhelmed" »


Senate reveals Oz neglect of PNG Covid crisis

Images
The Australian government got enormous media coverage for what was little more than this public relations exercise. Its real response to PNG's Covid crisis is woeful

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Some of the most important windows into the operations of the federal government in Australia government are provided by Senate Estimates Committees.

The title may sound unexciting, but these committees – established to enable Senators twice a year to quiz government departments on how they are spending public money – provide a unique opportunity to allow Senators to determine how the government is operating.

Continue reading "Senate reveals Oz neglect of PNG Covid crisis" »


Covidiots and fake news swamp social media

Kramer
Bryan Kramer MP - engaged in a struggle to ensure the people of PNG take up vaccines in the face of a virulent social media campaign against them

BRYAN KRAMER MP
| Kramer Report

Social media in Papua New Guinea has been running hot with false information about Covid vaccine, with the rumours fed by fear mongers, conspiracy theorists, religious objectors, mystics, political opportunists, self-styled ‘experts’ and plain old troublemakers.

Many politicians, some of whom have had the disease, have spoken out strongly against those people who are undermining vaccination. But there’s one MP who can’t do that: Richard Mendani, 53, the member for Kerema, who died of the disease on Friday.

In this article Justice Minister Bryan Kramer (who has recovered from Covid), continues to try to bring science and sense to the people he calls ‘Covidiots’ - KJ

Continue reading "Covidiots and fake news swamp social media" »


Covid: Hundreds of thousands ill, some seriously

Vaccinate
People in the Torres Strait islands just south of PNG are already being vaccinated

BRYAN KRAMER MP
| Kramer Report

PORT MORESBY - After recently being infected and having recovered from Covid-19, I’m not considered high risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from the virus.

I do not require the immediate protection of the vaccine. So why will I take it?

Continue reading "Covid: Hundreds of thousands ill, some seriously" »


Call for PNG to accept Chinese vaccines

SinovacERYK BAGSHAW & RACHEL CLUN
with BEVAN SHIELDS
| Sydney Morning Herald | Extracts

SYDNEY - Two of Australia’s top infectious disease and immunology experts say Papua New Guinea should take up the offer of Chinese-made vaccines if they are safe, as Europe threatens to withhold vaccine deliveries and PNG teeters on the edge of a Covid-19 disaster.

China has made repeated overtures to Papua New Guinea in recent months, offering to send vaccines to the country to “support each other’s core interests”.

Continue reading "Call for PNG to accept Chinese vaccines" »


Mola: Soon people could die in parking lots

St John’s Ambulance member sanitises hands at Covid testing at Taurama Aquatic Centre (Kalolaine Fainu - The Guardian)
St John’s Ambulance member sanitises hands at Covid testing at Taurama Aquatic Centre (Kalolaine Fainu - The Guardian)

GLEN MOLA
| Guardian Australia

PORT MORESBY - At Port Moresby General Hospital, about 20% of women presenting in labour have symptoms of Covid-19. Of these, about one-third (four to five women a day) test positive.

We get the test results back about two to three hours after we take the swabs, so often by the time the woman is delivering her baby it is too late to transfer her to the Covid isolation ward for the birth.

Continue reading "Mola: Soon people could die in parking lots" »


Covid in PNG: I hope Canberra understands

Covid png
Medical staff at a health clinic  (Alex Ellinghausen)

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - It is little short of astounding that the Australian government has, until now at least, utterly failed to grasp the potential scale of the catastrophe looming on our door step.

Once again, our government has been effectively "asleep at the wheel" when it comes to what he terms “our Pacific family".

Continue reading "Covid in PNG: I hope Canberra understands" »


MSF: Australia blocked early PNG vaccine

Port Moresby residents line up at Rita Flynn Sports Complex to get Covid tests (Kaolaine Fainu - The Guardian
Port Moresby residents line up at Rita Flynn sports complex to get Covid tests (Kalolaine Fainu - The Guardian)

LYNDAL ROWLANDS
| Guardian Australia | Extracts

SYDNEY - Papua New Guinea could have received Covid-19 vaccines before its current crisis if Australia had not been part of a group of countries that blocked a proposal to free up access to Covid-19 medicines, say Médecins Sans Frontières Australia.

“There’s no doubt [if] the intellectual property waiver had been hastened and scaled at an earlier time there was a higher probability that PNG would have been able to get vaccines [by now],” Jennifer Tierney, Executive Director of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Australia said.

Continue reading "MSF: Australia blocked early PNG vaccine" »


Oz announces urgent Covid help to PNG

Payne & Morrison
Australia's foreign minister Payne and prime minister Morrison at this morning's media conference in Canberra (Channel 9)

MEDIA CONFERENCE
| Transcribed by Peacifica | Edited

Peacifica supports and advocates peacebuilding in the South Pacific. Its philosophy is that building and sustaining peaceful societies is a critical challenge that Pacific islanders and Australians can meet together. Read more about Peacifica here

CANBERRA – What follows  are the major points from a media conference this morning addressed by Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison, foreign minister Marise Payne and chief health officer Dr Paul Kelly.

The event was attended by Peacifica and its transcription has been edited  for publication by PNG Attitude.

Continue reading "Oz announces urgent Covid help to PNG" »


Queensland fear over Covid threat from PNG

Annastacia Palaszczuk (Darren England  AAP)
Annastacia Palaszczuk - "It’s a serious situation up there so I think we need to look at our coordinated response" (Darren England AAP) 

SEAN PARNELL
| In Queensland | Extracts

BRISBANE - Authorities may have contained the latest Brisbane Covid-19 outbreak but they are alarmed by the scale of the threat posed by Papua New Guinea.

Of the six new cases detected in Queensland, two came from Papua New Guinea.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk revealed that half of the 500 tests that Queensland Health had done in PNG to support local health services had come back positive.

Continue reading "Queensland fear over Covid threat from PNG" »


‘I had Covid, stop knocking the vaccine’

Gary Juffa
Oro Governor Gary Juffa - "For me Covid-19 is real. I should know. I had it"

GARY JUFFA

ORO PROVINCE - Here is a poignant piece for all. For me Covid-19 is real. I should know. I had it.

And no, it's not just another flu. Two million people have died worldwide.

I know people who have died from it. I know people who have lost their loved ones. It is no joke.

There are many people who are against vaccinations based on misinformation and disinformation.

Continue reading "‘I had Covid, stop knocking the vaccine’" »


FIFO workers from PNG force Covid emergency

Dr Don Mackie
Cairns Hospital director Dr Don Mackie says the hospital is treating six mine workers who have flown from PNG (Kristy Sexton-McGrath - ABC)

KRISTY SEXTON-MCGRATH
| ABC Far North

CAIRNS - One of the biggest hospitals in Far North Queensland has declared a ‘code yellow’ emergency, following an influx of Covid-19 patients from Papua New Guinea.

The hospital is treating six patients from PNG — all fly-in fly-out mine workers who live in Cairns.

Tuesday’s code yellow declaration indicates an internal emergency, with the hospital nearing capacity.

Continue reading "FIFO workers from PNG force Covid emergency" »


Australia, PNG and the Covid vaccine

ShotCHRIS OVERLAND

As Papua New Guinea readies to receive its first 588,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine at the end of March, provided through the global Gavi philanthropic consortium, Australia continues to try to get on top of its own supply problems - KJ

ADELAIDE - Australia has committed about $200 million to procuring and distributing Covid-19 vaccine to its Pacific neighbours, including PNG and Timor L’Este, over the next two years.

This is why CSL in Australia has been tasked with producing 50 million doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine, with the option of producing many more if necessary.

Continue reading "Australia, PNG and the Covid vaccine" »


Oz denies vaccine OK to poor countries

Hospitals run out of funding as Covid cases surge
Port Moresby general hospital says Covid patient numbers will rise ‘beyond our capacity’  Read more here  (Image: ChildFund)  

DAVID LEGGE & SUN KIM
| John Menadue’s Pearls & Irritations

As Papua New Guinea faces a worrying spike in Covid-19 cases as well as an increasing spread through its provinces, Australia has failed to organise the vaccine it promised and, along with other big Western countries, has now refused to make it possible to produce more vaccine. These are extracts from a longer article, linked to here

MELBOURNE - Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union are refusing to waive intellectual property rights to Covid-19 vaccines so developing countries can produce the vaccine locally.

This refusal, in the face of vaccine hoarding by rich countries, is likely to cause millions more deaths because of slower access to a vaccine.

Continue reading "Oz denies vaccine OK to poor countries" »


Covid-1984: face masks, vaccine & the big lie

ShotBERNARD CORDEN

‘Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past’ - George Orwell

BRISBANE – ‘Boys from the Blackstuff was a acclaimed British television drama series written by the Liverpool, UK, playwright Alan Bleasdale.

It was initially screened during the Autumn of 1982 following a period of fomenting civil unrest that culminated in the notorious inner city riots within Liverpool’s Toxteth district.

Continue reading "Covid-1984: face masks, vaccine & the big lie" »


PNG’s Covid control runs into trouble

Mask wearing in Port Moresby (ABC News  Natalie Whiting)
Photo: Natalie Whiting, ABC News

NATALIE WHITING
| Australian Broadcasting Corporation | Extracts

PORT MORESBY - An internal Papua New Guinean ministerial briefing obtained by the ABC shows that unnamed government ministers are trying to exempt some passengers from quarantine, which they don't have the authority to do.

It says international passengers arriving at Jackson's Airport in Port Moresby are "frequently showing letters issued by government ministers claiming to authorise the passengers to be exempted from quarantine.

Continue reading "PNG’s Covid control runs into trouble" »


Marape should lead vaccine discussion

James Marape
"Through much of 2020, PM Marape communicated often and well about the progress of, and responses to, Covid-19 in PNG. Then he went quiet" - Peter Dwyer

PETER D DWYER PhD

MELBOURNE - In October last year a team of Papua New Guinea university scientists asserted that they had developed a package of already known drugs that would cure Covid-19.

There were no publications, there had been no tests but they had convinced prime minister James Marape that they were on to a good thing.

Marape recommended through the National Executive Council that their newly registered company, Niugini Biomed Ltd, be awarded K10.2 million.

Continue reading "Marape should lead vaccine discussion" »


Namah challenges Marape: 'Where’s the miracle cure’

Opposition leader Belden Namah
Opposition leader Belden Namah says Covid may be killing scores of Papua New Guineans, “but that has yet to be proven”

KEITH JACKSON

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea’s opposition leader Belden Namah has called upon the Marape government to halt the use of any Covid-19 vaccines until a comprehensive report has been tabled in parliament.

Namah said Marape has a duty to present a report on the effects of Covid, the government's measures to protect the population, an accounting of funds allocated, and an update on the PNG-originated vaccine to which the prime minister granted K 10.2 million.

Continue reading "Namah challenges Marape: 'Where’s the miracle cure’" »


PNG social media & the Covid vaccination

VaccinationBEE DURESI
| Duresi's Odyssey

AUCKLAND - Last week I saw many social media commentaries by fellow Papua New Guineans regarding a newspaper article on the supply of Covid-19 vaccines to PNG and other countries by the GAVI vaccine alliance.

I noted with interest how so many people were calling for a ban or an investigation into why only the countries listed did not contain names of developed nations.

Continue reading "PNG social media & the Covid vaccination" »


Abt to deploy Covid vaccine in PNG

Abt - GaviNEWS DESK
| 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.

Continue reading "Abt to deploy Covid vaccine in PNG" »


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

HERVEY FORSYTHE

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.

Continue reading "Settlement dwellers smell Covid corruption" »


Beyond 2020: A hazardous row to hoe

CovidPHILIP FITZPATRICK

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.

Continue reading "Beyond 2020: A hazardous row to hoe" »


Reflections on a dismal year

2020 1CHRIS OVERLAND

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.

Continue reading "Reflections on a dismal year" »


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)

MARIAN FAA
| 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.

Continue reading "Families separated by Covid border closures" »


80% of settlement dwellers say Covid ‘a hoax’

Eugene Ezebilo
PNGRI deputy research director associate professor Eugene Ezebilo

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.

Continue reading "80% of settlement dwellers say Covid ‘a hoax’" »


The Covid reality versus death & denial

Covid wardCHRIS OVERLAND

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”

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

REBECCA KUKU
| 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.

Continue reading "K10m to BioMed “a total waste of funds”" »