PNG covid lockdown plans ‘not ready’ – strict protocols instead

Acting PM Soroi Eoe
PNG's acting PM Soroi Eoe ... “We are not locking down businesses, that’s our lifeline." Image: RNZ

By Gorethy Kenneth in Port Moresby

Papua New Guinea’s acting Prime Minister Soroi Eoe says the specific lockdown measures planned for the covid-19 spike in some provinces has not been released as stated this week because the Pandemic Control Centre was not ready.

This is because there of co-ordination needed to happen over the next seven days to allow for this.

The National Isolation Strategy and the government’s plan in relation to the covid-19 spike in the country will be released later.

Eoe assured business houses in the capital Port Moresby and across the nation that there would not be any lockdown, but strict protocols and measures would still be in place.

He said there would not be any nationwide lockdown — just in selected provinces — and that the measures to be announced would be “friendlier, but strict”.

Eoe said all reports circulating on social media were “fake news”, basically because they did not come from an official authority and that the government would officially announce its position.

Dispel social media reports
“I think the actual framework was already given yesterday, to dispel the notion that’s been propagated in social media that the government’s plan to bring in a state of emergency will shut down the operation of the government which is not true,” he said.

Eoe said the government would be selectively looking at three provinces that had an increase in covid-19 cases — Western Province, Eastern Highlands and West Sepik. It would also closely monitor Enga, Morobe and the National Capital District as announced on Wednesday.

“We are taking into consideration the views of the people, but at the same time, emphasising the seriousness of covid-19 … we need to vaccinate our population,” he said.

“We are not locking down businesses, that’s our lifeline — come on, we can’t survive without business, they are the ones that keep the economy going, that’s what this assurance is.”

Gorethy Kenneth is a PNG Post-Courier senior journalist.

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