PNG’s Eastern Highlands Province goes into two-week lockdown to contain covid-19 surge


Papua New Guinea’s Eastern Highlands will go into a two-week lockdown starting today in response to the surge in COVID-19 cases, provincial controller John Gimiseve announced.

He said it is critical at this time to keep people in their districts with only selected shops in Goroka town allowed to operate between 8am and 2pm.

Eastern Highlands Governor Peter Numu said the lockdown will be imposed today and police will be out in full force.

Those caught breaching the Pandemic Act will be dealt with accordingly.

Gimiseve said road blocks will be set up to monitor and control the movement of people and traffic to allow essential travel to be maintained.

He said cargo trucks must apply for exemption passes in order to travel to the province or to other provinces.

“Grades 8, 10 and 12 will continue to go to school, the rest must stay at home,” imiseve said.

“Vaccination teams will continue to go to the districts and will continue in Goroka town. Businesses must avoid overcrowding in the work places.”

The lockdown comes as the province struggles to contain the surge in COVID-19 cases, especially the Delta variant.

Police will be strict to enforce curfew.

The COVID-19 surge is spreading fast across the province –– impacting the ailing and aging health workforce.

More than 60 patients with severe symptoms have been admitted in the last 48 hours –– leaving no more room at the isolation ward and emergency area.

While the hospital is trying its’ best to handle the increase in the number of cases daily, the management and its leadership is faced with three challenges –– manpower, oxygen shortage and no beds at the isolation centre.

A stressed chief executive officer, Dr Joseph Apa, confirmed that hospital staff need reinforcements to handle the increasing number of patients daily.