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Incoming international passengers will now be required to wear a Global Positioning System (GPS ankle bracelet) upon arrival in Papua New Guinea for the duration of the quarantine period.
The direction became effective as of Tuesday, commencing with an Air Niugini charter flight (PX9089) carrying 152 foreign workers who arrived in Port Moresby.
The Controller of the National Pandemic Response, David Manning, issued this directive on Monday for the compulsory GPS tracking ankle bracelets.
PNG has struggled to control outbreaks in the capital, Port Moresby and Western Province and charter flights carrying foreign workers run the risk of spreading the virus across the country.
As a condition of entry in Papua New Guinea and to effectively monitor designated charter flights that coordinate the arrival of large numbers of foreign workers into PNG at one time, incoming passengers will be required to be fitted with a GPS tracking ankle bracelet (upon arrival) for the designated quarantine period.
“The cost shall be borne by the relevant passengers/companies for the period of quarantine,” Manning said.
All international arrivals must present a negative test and quarantine for between seven and 14 days at government direction. The move to electronically monitor foreign entrants into PNG comes weeks after PNG prohibited a charter flight of Chinese nationals from entering the country after the Chinese government said its mine workers set to fly in had been “vaccinated” against the virus. There is no recognised vaccine for coronavirus.
By global standards the number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in PNG remains low at 575 infections and seven deaths.
But a spike in cases in Western Province, with 11 new cases in a day, all in people aged under 21 and without symptoms, has prompted fresh warnings from authorities about the risks of an unrestrained outbreak.
PNG’s actual infection rate is believed to be far higher than the reported figure, because of low testing rates, particularly in remote areas. In all, just 26,000 tests have been conducted across the country.
Meanwhile, ten new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases were reported today from Eastern Highlands Province, bringing the total confirmed cases in the province to 11 and PNG's overall total to 575.
The National Capital District still has the highest number of cases with 334, followed by Western Province with 202 cases.
Seven of the new cases in the Eastern Highlands are women, and three are men. The youngest is a 3-year-old girl whilst the oldest is a 76-year-old man, all from the Goroka district. All 10 cases are asymptomatic contacts of previously identified COVID-19 cases.
To date, 26,620 people have been tested for coronavirus in PNG. Additional 42 samples are pending laboratory results.
There are 537 people who have recovered from COVID-19 while 31 are active cases in isolation. The country’s death toll from COVID-19 remains at seven.
There are 13 provinces in the country that have confirmed COVID-19 cases.
SOURCE: POST COURIER/PNG GOVT/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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