Papua New Guinea halts transport from Asian countries as of Jan. 30 due to 2019 novel coronavirus fears. Border with Indonesia closed.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 30 Jan 2020 07:05 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Feb 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: International travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Heightened security, transport disruptions, enhanced security screenings, immigration delays; possible quarantine

Summary
Papua New Guinean authorities have indefinitely halted transport from Asian countries to prevent the spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) to the country. As of Jan. 30, officials have stopped flights from China, Singapore, and other countries to Port Moresby's Jacksons International Airport (POM). The measure does not appear to affect flights from Australia, which accounts for the majority of international flight volume. Authorities also closed the country's sole land border with Indonesia, Jan. 29. Officials have not announced any timeline for when the precautionary measures will end.

Heightened security will almost certainly continue at points of entry to the country. If prolonged, the border closure is likely to cause shipping and travel delays. Protests over the travel ban cannot be ruled out and could lead to clashes between demonstrators and security personnel if they occur.

Background and Analysis
The virus originated in China and began spreading across Asia in December 2019. While multiple countries in the region have announced confirmed 2019-nCoV cases, Papua New Guinea has not confirmed any 2019-nCoV activity in the country as of Jan. 30. However, the country's weak medical infrastructure is ill-equipped to deal with any infectious outbreak, so officials likely decided to shut down nonessential travel as a precaution.

Advice
Contact your travel provider if scheduled to visit Papua New Guinea in the coming weeks. Plan for shipping and travel delays; seek alternative routes and shipping methods for time-sensitive cargo. Avoid any demonstrations that may materialize due to the potential for clashes. Heed all official instructions.