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23 May 2020 | 05:06 AM UTC

Papua New Guinea: Authorities resume commercial flights from Bougainville May 18 /update 8

Papua New Guinea News Alert

Authorities allow the resumption of commercial flights from Bougainville on May 18; confirm travel itineraries

TIMEFRAME expected from 5/23/2020, 12:00 AM until 6/2/2020, 11:59 PM (Pacific/Port_Moresby). COUNTRY/REGION Papua New Guinea, Bougainville Island

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Authorities in Bougainville permitted the resumption of commercial flights via Buka Airport (BUA) as of Monday, May 18, following an earlier ban due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Passengers are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival as a precautionary measure. Meanwhile, an ongoing nationwide state of emergency imposed on Tuesday, March 24, remains in place until Monday, June 1.

Papua New Guinea allowed schools to reopen as of Monday, May 4, following a five-week suspension of classes due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. The wearing of facemasks by teachers and students will be mandatory, as well as frequent handwashing. However, school attendance is not compulsory, allowing parents to not take their children to school if they do not believe it is safe.

The curfews in the National Capital District and Central province were lifted on May 4. Businesses including hotels and restaurants are permitted to operate, in addition to pharmacies, banks, supermarkets, and wholesalers. The public has been urged to continue to observe social distancing measures and a ban on public gatherings remains in place. Public transport has resumed operations, albeit with limits on passenger numbers. However, all nonessential workers are to continue staying home.

As of Saturday, May 23, there are eight COVID-19 cases across Papua New Guinea, and no associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.


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