By Lulu Mark in Port Moresby
Governor Powes Parkop says there will be no lockdown in Papua New Guinea’s National Capital District (NCD) despite a second spike in covid-19 cases.
“We surely cannot afford to lock down NCD again because the economy of the country is in a precarious position,” he stressed firmly amid rumours being spread of a second lockdown, especially on social media.
“As the governor of our capital city, I am not going to entertain, discuss or even consider a second lockdown,” he said.
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“The covid-19 pandemic and the economic downturn are two equally compelling crises challenging the country. But the impact of an economic meltdown would be more severe than the impact of covid-19 in Papua New Guinea.”
He said he did not want to see more people getting unemployed or going into part-time employment.
“We are not going to and I will not support any plans or suggestions to further restrict or lock down the city that will severely affect the functioning, normalcy and ability of the businesses to be carried out daily.
“[The economy] has suffered severely since March 2020 and it’s just recovering.
‘We need economy to start growing’
“We need the economy to start growing again. We need to stimulate the economy.
“Many of our young people who (completed) school last year are seeking employment which we must create for them.
“Many who have been laid off or gone into part (time jobs) are trying to get into small-to-medium enterprises.
“A lockdown will surely strain the economy further and therefore sufferings for the people. I don’t want to imagine the consequences of an economic meltdown in our city and country.
“This is why I am adamant that there won’t be any restrictions or lockdown.
“All we have to do, and what I want to encourage, is for all of us to adhere to covid-19 prevention protocols so that everything will remain open and we proceed with reviving our country’s economy.”
RNZ Pacific reports that the deputy head of PNG’s National Pandemic Response to covid-19, Dr Paison Dakulala, died today.
PNG Police Commissioner David Manning, who is also the man leading the response, issued a statement this evening.
Lulu Mark is a reporter for The National. Asia Pacific Report republishes The National articles with permission.