By Marjorie Finkeo in Port Moresby
Thirty Papua New Guinea Defence Force soldiers are working with other security personnel and the NCD covid-19 team to carry out a two-week awareness campaign in urban communities in the capital Port Moresby.
PNGDF commander Major-General Gilbert Toropo told the PNG Post-Courier that the 30 officers from the military police unit at Murray Barracks and Taurama Barracks would assist other security frontliners to boost their capacity.
“It is the NCD Governor Powes Parkop’s initiative to do awareness in Port Moresby communities and he needs manpower to assist NCDC health staff on the awareness programme, and because we have the capacity, he submitted a request for manpower,” Major-General Toropo said.
He said his soldiers would be working closely with police and NCDC staff to move into settlements, bus stops, PMV buses and informal market areas conducting awareness on covid-19 for the next two weeks.
He said the awareness team would ensure that the public observed proper protocols of social distancing, wearing masks and giving advice.
“Our people are so complacent they think this is like a joke and they cannot protect themselves. That is why they are not taking measures seriously and Governor Parkop’s initiative to carry out awareness is the best we can do,” he said.
Toropo said that if citizens would listen and follow instructions, “we will stop spreading covid-19”.
He said that after the awareness campaign, penalties would be imposed on individuals, business houses, PMV bus owners and taxi drivers breaching the National Pandemic Act.
Papua New Guinea is suffering from a spike in covid-19 infections with 5184 cases and 45 deaths, including a parliamentarian.
Marjorie Finkeo is a PNG Post-Courier reporter.