Papua New Guinea revises restrictions to prevent all passengers from mainland China as of Feb. 18 due to COVID-19 fears. Border reopened.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 18 Feb 2020 07:47 GMT and is scheduled to expire 09 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Summary
Papua New Guinean authorities have revised travel restrictions for passengers to the country as of Feb. 18 due to concerns about the spread of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Officials have banned all passengers that traveled in or transited mainland China since Jan. 31; the measure applies to foreign nationals and Papua New Guinean citizens and permanent residents. Passengers attempting to enter the country will have to spend 14 days in a third country before arrival.

Government officials previously stopped travel from many Asian countries to halt the spread of the virus, which has not affected Papua New Guinea as of Feb. 18. Officials initially stopped flights from China, Singapore, and other countries to Port Moresby's Jacksons International Airport (POM). It is unclear if the measure is still in place, but national carrier Air Niugini (PX) and other airlines have drastically reduced direct flights. The restriction is not impacting flights from Australia, which accounts for most international flight volume to the country. Authorities reportedly reopened the country's sole land border with Indonesia as of Feb. 12 after officials enhanced security and health screenings; intermittent closures remain possible.

Advice
Heed all official instructions. Confirm travel plans if scheduled to visit Papua New Guinea in the coming weeks. Consider delaying travel if exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they could invite more scrutiny and, possibly, return to your destination. Plan for possible ground shipping and travel delays; seek alternative routes and shipping methods for time-sensitive cargo.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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