By Grace Auka-Salmang in Port Moresby
National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop has announced that there will not be a total lockdown of Port Moresby.
He said the decision was made after much deliberation with key stakeholders in the city and the national government.
“Instead we will focus on maintaining and upgrading the three-pronged approach we are currently pursuing to respond to the third wave of the covid-19 pandemic,” Parkop said.
- READ MORE: Port Moresby police unable to enforce the Pandemic Act 2020
- Other PNG covid crisis reports
NCD Metropolitan Superintendent Gideon Ikumu said it would also be a logistical nightmare for police to arrest people who breached the covid protocols because they did not have the facilities to lock up all those people.
He said city police would only encourage city residents to observe the new normal protocols of wearing facemasks, observing social distancing and other measures as part of their policing routines in the city.
Superintendent Ikumu said this as the City Hall announced on Monday that it would not enforce a complete lockdown as many people had expected, despite the rocketing number of deaths and covid-19 positive cases in the city since September.
“There is an absence of regulations to implement the specifics of the Pandemic Act 2020 and we cannot arrest someone for simply not wearing a mask as an example,” he said.
A regulation is the subsidiary legislation that defines the essence of an Act.
It also provides guidelines that show the way the Act needs to be implemented.
Superintendent Ikumu reiterated Governor Parkop’s appeal to city residents that to stop unnecessary deaths and to get “us to overcome the crisis at hand, it needs everyone to step up and do their part”.
“For those who are still reluctant or afraid of the vaccine for one reason or another, the “Nupla Pasin protocols and testing must be your foremost priority on a daily basis,” he said.
“We will do our best to encourage compliance but it is up to each and every person in the city to comply.”
According to the John Hopkins University global covid dashboard, Papua New Guinea has 27,895 confirmed cases of the virus and 335 deaths, but these figures are widely believed to be an underestimate.
Grace Auka-Salmang is a PNG Post-Courier reporter.