PNG’s Pruaitch urges focus on Papua border as covid deaths escalate

PNG police
PNG police at the Papuan border. Image: PNG Post-Courier

By Isaac Nicholas in Port Moresby

Thirty eight deaths in the covid-19 pandemic reported across the Papua New Guinea border in the Indonesian-ruled Papuan capital of Jayapura has prompted a call to focus more resources on West Sepik.

Papua New Guinea’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Patrick Pruaitch made the appeal appeal to the national government.

The Post-Courier newspaper was reliably informed that a promised K2 million to assist the border Covid-19 awareness had not reached the province since the first lockdown.

READ MORE: Covid-19 ‘widespread’ in PNG capital

Pruaitch, who was in Vanimo for the provincial executive council meeting on Monday, called on the provincial leaders of West Sepik for a collaborative effort to contain the coronavirus and on providing information on how to live with the pandemic.

“Sandaun must lead the way to be a model province for the country. We not only share border but we are the last border province must lead the way,” he said.

23 deaths across border
“The national government must put more attention to the border provinces, we need resources.

“I hear that there is a death in Port Moresby but last weekend, 23 deaths were reported across the border in Jayapura, West Papua.

“If these deaths happened on our side, the country will be confused and a lot more people will die. Sandaun must provide leadership.

“We have seven border posts in the province, the national government will move in to monitor the borders.

“This disease will not spread without the movement of people. The disease moves when people move.”

Isaac Nicholas is a PNG reporter.

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