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05 mai 2020 | 05h11 UTC

Papua New Guinea: Authorities reopen schools as of May 4 /update 7

Papua New Guinea Alerte de sécurité

Papua New Guinea reopens schools on May 4; follow government directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 5/5/2020, 12h00 until 5/6/2020, 11h59 (Pacific/Port_Moresby). COUNTRY/REGION Papua New Guinea

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Event

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. The government has said that school attendance is not compulsory, allowing parents to not take their children to school if they do not believe it is safe for them to return to school.

The curfew in the capital Port Moresby was also lifted on Monday. In addition to the National Capital District, the curfew in Central province will also be lifted. Businesses including hotels and restaurants are now 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, schools remain closed and all nonessential workers are to continue staying home.

Entry restrictions remain in place and all individuals entering the country, including nationals and permanent residents, must have official authorization from the Emergency Controller, Police Commissioner, in order to enter the country. Authorized travelers and individuals arriving in-country will have to quarantine in Port Moresby; nationals and permanent residents, including returning students, will be required to quarantine at a designated facility at the government's expense. Foreign travelers and citizens arriving by air will be required to quarantine at a designated hotel at their own cost.

Furthermore, border crossing, both overland and by sea, has been temporarily suspended between PNG and Indonesia, Australia, the Federal State of Micronesia and the Solomon Islands. Both military and naval personnel have been deployed to various locations to enforce these measures, including Wutung, Bewani/Schotiao and Green River in Sanduan province, and the seas in Western province.

Reports indicate that the restrictions on inter-province travel within the country, which were enforced in the initial state of emergency introduced on March 24, have eased slightly amid the new measures imposed. Domestic flight operations in several provinces are resuming, though all passengers need to complete an Air Passenger Travel Approval form and must continue to display social distancing and follow the recommended hygiene guidelines. A ban on international flights also remains in place.

As of May 4, authorities have confirmed eight cases of COVID-19 in the country and no associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.

Context

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.

Advice

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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