Australia launches a range of action to address PNG coronavirus outbreak

Australia is taking drastic action to assist Papua New Guinea with a major outbreak of coronavirus there, which now threatens Far North Queensland communities.

Around 50 per cent of the population is believed to have been infected, with much of the spread occurring over the last month.

The outbreak began to take a toll on Queensland Health last week as more and more infected travellers returned to north Cairns.


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Prime Minister Scott Morrison has now announced a range of measures to both help Papua New Guinea, and to limit Queensland and Australia’s risk.

Queenslanders. Queenslanders, particularly in North Queensland, are most at risk from this. We’ve been very conscious of that, and these measures are decided very much with them in mind.

From midnight tonight, passenger flights from PNG into Cairns will be suspended for at least a fortnight,  charter flights will also be suspended except for medevac and critical flights.

Passenger caps will be limited in flights from Port Moresby into Brisbane, while all outbound travel exemptions from Australia to Papua New Guinea will be suspended except for essential and critical workers including humanitarian and medevac work.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says this does not include FIFO work.

You FI or you FO. If you’re there, you stay. If you’re here, you stay. We cannot risk people going into those areas and back to Australia,” he said. 

Australia is also looking to change our 96-hour pre-departure screening down to 24-hour pre-departure screening.

We’re also gifting PNG a heap of essential PPE equipment to help them manage the treatment of infections. That includes 1 million surgical masks, 100,000 gowns, 100,000 goggles, 100,000 pairs of gloves, 100,000 bottles of sanitiser, 20,000 face shields and 200 non-invasive ventilators. 

“With the support of the PNG government, we’re making a formal request to AstraZeneca and the European authorities to access 1 million doses of our contracted supplies of AstraZeneca not for Australia, but for PNG, a developing country in desperate need of these vaccines. We’ve contracted them. 

“We’ve paid for them and we want to see those vaccines come here so we can support our nearest neighbour, PNG, to deal with their urgent needs in our region,” the Prime Minister said.

In the meantime, we’re sending 8,000 of our own vaccine doses to get frontline health workers protected immediately.

The Prime Minister admits this poses a significant challenge to Australia, but it is critical that we help contain the spread as much as we can.
“Since the beginning of this pandemic, we’ve provided well over $60 million in assistance to PNG to respond to this crisis.
“They’re our family. They’re our friends. They’re our neighbours. They’re our partners. They have always stood with us and we will always stand with them. 
“This is in Australia’s interests and it is in our region’s interests and it’s incumbent on us as Australians both to secure the health of our own citizens but equally our PNG family who are so dear to us,” Mr Morrison said.

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Why don’t they ask China for help?
They are selling off their assets to them, see if they will assist!
We already provide billions $ in support, where has that money gone.