Covid & coronavirus Feed

Marape attacks scientists over Covid research

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

KEITH JACKSON

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

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

Continue reading "Marape attacks scientists over Covid research" »


Covid is now a China-Australia power play

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

JULIA HOLLINGSWORTH & BEN WESTCOTT
CNN Digital Worldwide | Edited extracts

Link here for the complete analysis

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

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

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


Neo-liberal dogma seen in Oz Covid failures

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

CHRIS OVERLAND

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

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

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


Lethargic Australia drops ball on Covid

Delta pcKEITH JACKSON

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

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

Continue reading "Lethargic Australia drops ball on Covid " »


Chinese vaccine starts mass rollout

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

KEITH JACKSON

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

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

Continue reading "Chinese vaccine starts mass rollout" »


Australian saboteurs block vaccine, says China

Panda & Roo (Chen Xia)
Cartoon by Chen Xia in the Global Times

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA - China has made the extraordinary claim that Australia has planted political operatives in Papua New Guinea to undermine China's vaccine cooperation with Pacific Island countries.

The English-language Global Times newspaper, published in Beijing, accuses Australian ‘consultants’ of manipulating PNG’s Covid prevention policies.

Continue reading "Australian saboteurs block vaccine, says China" »


Increasing trust in Covid communication

Rohan Fox
Rohan Fox - "For many Papua New Guineans, sharing stories told by friends, family or local Christian leaders may be received as most trustworthy"

ROHAN FOX
| DevPolicy Blog | Edited extracts

WAIGANI – In May this year 281 students in the School of Business and Public Policy at the University of Papua New Guinea were surveyed about their attitudes to Covid-19 vaccination.

Of this number, 46% had not decided whether they would like to be vaccinated. Just 6% said they would, while 48% were against vaccination.

Continue reading "Increasing trust in Covid communication" »


Government unfit for purpose; Army required

Flag
“The Australian National Flag should not, therefore, be displayed with the Union Jack down on any occasion except as a signal of distress” (anzacday.org.au)

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - I think the tone of John Menadue's recent piece in PNG Attitude, ‘General Alarm: Militarism is Australia’s New Norm’, is slightly overwrought.

But I do think he has a point, at least as it relates to the government's dismal performance in relation to the vaccine roll-out.

As the Delta variant of Covid-19 spreads in Sydney, we may be about to reap the reward for the Australian federal government's apparent inability to organise an effective national quarantine and vaccination program.

Continue reading "Government unfit for purpose; Army required" »


General alarm: Militarism is Australia’s new norm

Lieutenant General John Frewen
Lieutenant General John Frewen was recently appointed as Coordinator General of the newly announced 'Operation Covid Shield'

JOHN MENADUE
| Pearls & Irritations

SYDNEY - What a reflection this is on the standing of the Australian Public Service and the Morrison governments lack of interest in a robust and well- functioning civil society. We invariably turn to the military.

The Morrison government passed the buck to the states for Covid quarantine despite the fact that quarantine is a clear Commonwealth responsibility and has been so since Federation.

Continue reading "General alarm: Militarism is Australia’s new norm" »


Colonial echoes in PNG 'failed state' smears

Not a failed state
"Narratives evoking a sense of chaos in PNG, particularly by Australians, are not new"

KYLIE MCKENNA, SENALA MORONA & COONIEBHERT SAMGAY
| Divine Word University | DevPolicy Blog

MADANG - Covid-19 appears the latest instalment in outsider narratives of Papua New Guinea as a ‘failed’, ‘weak’ or ‘fragile’ state.

In April 2020, for example, with only eight cases of Covid-19 in the country, Australian journalists capitalised on the opportunity to put PNG on the failed-state precipice.

Continue reading "Colonial echoes in PNG 'failed state' smears" »


Western posturing & global white privilege

Chandran Nair -
Chandran Nair - "Instead of being captive to an idealised vision of the West, the rest of the world is waking up to Western narratives, fallacies and weaknesses"

CHANDRAN NAIR
| South China Morning Post

HONG KONG - The West’s disingenuous position on Israel and its coordinated attacks on China have blown the cover of the liberal narratives it uses to hide a postcolonial, imperialist agenda.

Its hypocrisy has been further exposed by its hoarding of coronavirus vaccines and the systemic racism that prompted the Black Lives Matter protests and fuelled attacks on people of Asian descent.

Continue reading "Western posturing & global white privilege" »


The story of a shot of vaccine

Vaccination-drives-out-coronavirusA G SATORI

PORT MORESBY – After a long while trying to convince other people that it was safe, I could not bring myself around to it.

Jimminy the black grasshopper was there in the back of my brain saying, “Here, just read of another setback of the vaccine in Australia. Never mind that it is one in a million. You could be the next two in two million with the complications”.

Continue reading "The story of a shot of vaccine" »


Too much conspiracy; go get vaccinated

Scene at Rita Flynn  17 May (Joel Hamari  The National)
Monday's scene at the Rita Flynn vaccination centre (Joel Hamari The National)

MICHAEL KABUNI
| Academia Nomad

PORT MORESBY - This photo from The National newspaper confirms what I saw last Monday at the Rita Flynn vaccination centre - that foreigners dominated the place where vaccines are administered.

The sad thing is I wasn’t surprised when I saw many foreigners lining up for the vaccines– vaccines that were sent for Papua New Guineans.

Continue reading "Too much conspiracy; go get vaccinated" »


Covid is a test I believe we'll pass

Gianluca Rampolla receives the Covid vaccine (Rachel Donovan)
Gianluca Rampolla receives the Covid vaccine (Rachel Donovan)

GIANLUCA RAMPOLLA

Gianluca Rampolla is resident coordinator of the United Nations in Papua New Guinea and says public health communications and health system strengthening undertaken during the Covid-19 outbreak, will help to put the PNG health system on a better platform to combat future pandemics

PORT MORESBY - On Friday, I received my first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

It is incredible to think that in a little over a year since the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a pandemic, a vaccine has been developed and is now being administered in PNG.

Continue reading "Covid is a test I believe we'll pass" »


Life with Covid: ‘Too many rumours’

Solange Dawana (Save The Children)
Solange Dawana - "Young people can promote safe health standards by leading by example"  (Save The Children)

MADELEINE KECK
| Global Citizen | Edited

Global Citizen spoke with Solange Dawana, a first-year mechanical engineering student in Papua New Guinea, about how the Covid-19 pandemic had changed her and others’ lives

Global Citizen: How was 2020 for you and your family?

Solange Dawana: The past year has been one of the most challenging for my family and me and many other families.

Continue reading "Life with Covid: ‘Too many rumours’" »


Marape once again outwits opponents

Marape and Kramer (Kalolaine Fainu  The Guardian)
James Marape and justice minister Bryan Kramer. Marape has again demonstrated he is a political tactician of considerable acumen (Kalolaine Fainu The Guardian)

KEITH JACKSON

NOOSA – Prime minister James Marape last week adjourned Papua New Guinea’s parliament as once again he sought to slip away from a vote of no confidence.

With a worrying increase in the number of Covid cases in PNG, Marape explained his action as a move to fight the disease.

"It’s no time to play politics,” he said, before adjourning parliament until Tuesday 10 August.

Continue reading "Marape once again outwits opponents" »


Leaders: what do they think their job is?

Morrison
The Morrison government’s approach to the Covid pandemic has too often opted for spin over substance and politics over science

CHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - Across the democratic world denial, blundering incompetence, confusion, wishful thinking and indifference have been the common hallmarks of the response to Covid-19.

The political class has, with very few exceptions, made a complete hash of managing the pandemic.

Continue reading "Leaders: what do they think their job is?" »


Covid: urgent business for Australia - & China

AidBRENDAN CRABB & MIKE TOOLE
| The Canberra Times

MELBOURNE - The surge of new COVID-19 cases in Papua New Guinea is deeply worrying.

At the end of January, this country of nine million had reported just 866 cases and nine deaths. By 12 April, these numbers had increased to 8,442 cases and 68 deaths.

Continue reading "Covid: urgent business for Australia - & China" »


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" »