Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: PNG to extend state of emergency for two months from April 6. Movement, transport restrictions, business disruptions to continue.

This alert affects Papua New Guinea

This alert began 03 Apr 2020 16:16 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Preventive restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Heightened security, transport and business disruptions, enhanced health screenings; possible quarantine

Summary
Officials in Papua New Guinea plan to extend the ongoing state of emergency for two months from April 6 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country. Under the state of emergency, the government has instructed businesses to implement safe work practices and to allow nonessential staff to remain at home through at least June 5. Nevertheless, from April 6, the government will allow domestic flight services to resume, albeit with enhanced security and health screenings at airports. Officials have shut down public ground transport in the country and plan to continue suspending inter-provincial travel through at least June 5.

Stricter measures have been implemented at the provincial and local level. Lae has closed entertainment venues, liquor stores, and some public markets, and halted street vendors and unnecessary movement, as of April 3. Similar measures are possible in Port Moresby, Mount Hagen, and Madang, among others, in the coming days. Attempted looting primarily targeting businesses run by foreigners from East Asia was reported in Lae April 3. Similar incidents may occur in cities throughout the country in the coming days.

International Travel Restrictions
Authorities only allow Papua New Guinean passport holders and permanent residents into the country. Controls on international flights will continue through at least April 5. Only some select flights from Singapore (SIN), Brisbane (BNE), and Cairns (CNS) are authorized. Officials have intensified health screenings for inbound passengers. Staff at Jacksons International Airport (POM) and other ports of entry are using thermal scanners to monitor patients for possible symptoms. Immigration and customs officials also require health declarations and travel history information before allowing passengers into the country. Officials may deny entry, require self-quarantine, or quarantine arriving passengers that they suspect of having COVID-19, depending on the severity of the symptoms.

The government has closed the land border with Indonesia. Officials have banned cruise ships and passenger yachts with more than 15 people. Authorities have closed most ports throughout the country; any international passengers and vessels seeking quarantine clearance must arrive at Port Moresby's Motukea Port, Lae Port, Port of Madang, and Rabaul Port.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Prepare to discuss and provide evidence for recent travel history. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers. Plan for possible ground shipping and travel delays; seek alternative routes and shipping methods for time-sensitive cargo.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
National Airports Corporation: www.nac.com.pg

PNG Ports Corporation: www.pngports.com.pg