Covid & coronavirus Feed

It’s not the economy, it’s the Covid

DollarCHRIS OVERLAND

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" »


The idea of economy & a need for power

Plans
When plans turn to MASH (Illustration - John Shakespeare, Sydney Morning Herald)

CHRIS OVERLAND

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" »


‘The Age’ undermines public health

The Age editor
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"

JENNY HOCKING
| 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" »


The vandals who trashed our nation

Morr Bere cartoonKEITH JACKSON

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" »


Strong backlash over Covid ‘deception’ charge

Capture
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" »


On struggling with a Covid lockdown

Barbara Angoro
Barbara Angoro can't wait to return to the laboratory wherein lies the essence of her PhD

BARBARA ANGORO
| 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" »


Covid puts Australia on knife edge

MorrisonCHRIS OVERLAND

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" »


Covid: Ineptitude, deception & lies

A western NSW vaccination clinic in Dubbo (Ben Wilkins)
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" »


Australian resilience is an oxymoron

Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian - existential threats to Australia
Scott Morrison and Gladys Berejiklian - incompetent politicians who are existential threats to Australia

KEITH JACKSON

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" »


The confusion that is vaccination in PNG

Beatable
Healthcare worker at Rumginae Hospital in the North Fly District of Western Province (United Nations)

KEITH JACKSON

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" »


Is PNG sleepwalking through the pandemic?

Waiting room at Mt Hagen hospital (Mark Dozier  AFP)
Waiting room at Mt Hagen hospital (Mark Dozier,  AFP)

JOHNNY BLADES
| 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?" »


Is Australia benefiting unfairly from Covax?

CovaxMELISSA COADE
| The Mandarin | Edited extracts

MELBOURNE - A global initiative to deliver two billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine to developing nations by the end of the year is half a billion doses short as reports emerge that Australia took hundreds of thousands of Pfizer doses from the Covax stockpile for domestic needs.

Covax was established to ensure that safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines reached the world’s high-risk and vulnerable populations in 92 low-middle income countries and economies.

Continue reading "Is Australia benefiting unfairly from Covax?" »


Beware, the Covid Quislings, they could kill you

Matt Canavan
Matt Canavan - "We should change our approach, end the lockdowns….”

CHRIS OVERLAND
| Quotes selected by KJ

“Quisling: a person who collaborates with an enemy occupying force, or more generally a synonym for traitor” - Wikipedia

ADELAIDE – Matt Canavan’s numbers, cited in a recent article in the Australian Financial Review, are interesting but irrelevant.

“In the latest Delta outbreak, the case fatality rate has been reduced by almost 90% to just 0.4% of all cases…. The estimated cost of each life saved is $330 million. On any measure, this is an unjustifiable expense…. We should change our approach, end the lockdowns….” – Senator Matt Canavan, ‘Swallow hard reality pill on virus deaths’, Australian Financial Review, 5 August

Continue reading "Beware, the Covid Quislings, they could kill you" »


Australia must focus on cooperation not China

(Xia Qing  Global Times)
China's helping hand in the race against Covid (Xia Qing - Global Times)

ZHOU FANGYIN
| Global Times

This article has been edited from a Global Times interview with Mr Zhou, who is director of the Centre for Pacific Island Countries Studies at the Guangdong University of Foreign Studies - KJ

BEIJING - Despite a troubled vaccination progress at home, Australia has still found energy to interfere in the vaccination rollout in Papua New Guinea by touting vaccine rivalry between itself and China.

PNG, which recently detected its first case of the highly contagious Delta variant, has agreed to vaccine offerings from a number of suppliers including China, Australia, New Zealand and Covax, the global initiative aimed at equitable access to vaccines.

Continue reading "Australia must focus on cooperation not China" »


PNG caught in China-Australia Covid power play

When the Sinopharm vaccines arrived  PNG's planning minister Richard Maru thanked China and added he also wanted to thank Australia (ABC News - Natalie Whiting)
When the Sinopharm vaccines arrived in Port Moresby,  PNG's planning minister Richard Maru thanked China and also Australia to appear even-handed (ABC News - Natalie Whiting)

NATALIE WHITING
| ABC Papua New Guinea Correspondent

Link to Natalie’s complete article here

PORT MORESBY - On two sides of Papua New Guinea's capital, there are duelling vaccine rollouts run by Australian and Chinese representatives taking place.

In the face of a contagious new variant and widespread vaccine hesitancy, PNG is taking help from any neighbour offering it.

Continue reading "PNG caught in China-Australia Covid power play" »


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" »


Public health & Covid: The old is suddenly new again

CovaxCHRIS OVERLAND

ADELAIDE - In 1979, my first job in the public health system was as a senior administrative officer in South Australia’s public and environmental health service.

In those days public health was seen as a backwater in the overall health system.

Continue reading "Public health & Covid: The old is suddenly new again" »


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" »