PNG covid response controller warns public against fake news

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PNG Controller David Manning
PNG Covid Controller David Manning ... warning "don't share anything from unverified platforms." Image: PNG Post-Courier

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

Papua New Guinea’s Controller of the National Pandemic Response and Police Commissioner, David Manning, has told the public that a rumour circulating on social media about new cases of covid-19 in Port Moresby is false, the PNG Post-Courier reports.

He also cautioned the public from spreading misinformation and fake news which was detrimental to public safety.

It was also a criminal offence under the country’s cyber crime laws, he said.

READ MORE: Al Jazeera coronavirus live updates – US cases pass 3 million

To date, Papua New Guinea has 11 confirmed cases of covid-19, with the last case confirmed on June 15.

The ninth case has been repatriated to his home country, Australia, while the other two last cases, which are still active, are being monitored.

The rapid response team of the National Capital District continued to conduct case investigation and contact tracing, in collaboration with the teams from the Department of Health, the PNG Defence Force, the Australian Defence Force, St John Ambulance and the World Health Organisation.

Manning said that any new cases would be confirmed and announced to the public through the National Control Centre.

Call to be vigilant
“I urge people to get your information from reliable sources and not share anything from unverified platforms. As we continue to be vigilant against covid-19, I urge you to also be mindful of the information you share,” Manning said.

He said the threat of covid-19 remained. He urged everyone to continue the “new normal” public health measures, which included:

  • Anyone who is sick must stay at home and must stay away from others. Limit social gatherings and time spent in crowded places;
  • Physical distancing of at least 1.5 metres must be adhered to in all public places. If physical distancing is not possible, wear a mask;
  • Wash your hands often. All business establishments and offices must have hand washing facilities and make available hand sanitizers for visitors;
  • Temperature checks must be consistently imposed and deny entry to those with symptoms; and
  • Practice respiratory etiquette – cover your coughs and sneezes with flexed elbow or tissue.

“I emphasise once again, anyone who is experiencing flu-like symptoms, fevers, coughs, sore throats, body aches or difficulty breathing must stay at home and immediately call our toll free line 1800 200,” Manning said.

 Andriana Sutandy + Westly Nukundj
Indonesian Ambassador Andriana Sutandy and PNG Border Security Minister Westly Nukundj … covid-19 discussions. Image: PNG Post-Courier/PNG Govt

Border covid security talks
Meanwhile, the Minister for Immigration and Border Security, Westly Nukundj, has held discussions with the Indonesian Ambassador about the threat of covid-19 spreading into Papua New Guinea through the land border, reports the Post-Courier.

The Indonesians assured Nujukunj that the second batch of 100 PNG citizens will be repatriated to PNG later this month.

Nukundj on Wednesday accepted an invitation from the Indonesian Embassy in Port Moresby to meet with Ambassador Andriana Sutandy.

Discussions surrounded the areas of strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two nations in the areas of visas and border protection along the PNG-Indonesian borders, border infrastructure development within the covid-19 period and cooperation between the two nations after covid-19.

The meeting was a followup to earlier discussions between Prime Minister James Marape and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Indonesia has more than 66,000 cases of covid-19, including more than 2000 in West Papua.

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