Coronavirus: PNG Opposition calls for state of emergency

12:30 pm on 17 March 2020

Papua New Guinea's Opposition is calling for the government to declare a state of emergency so the country can deal with the threat of coronavirus.

Vanimo MP Belden Namah

Vanimo MP Belden Namah Photo: RNZ / Alex Smith

Opposition leader Belden Namah said Parliament should be recalled and a supplementary Budget introduced to combat the economic impact of the virus.

The Post Courier reports him saying he would introduce a two billion kina stimulus package.

That comes a day after Prime Minister James Marape announced a suite of measures, including a 14-day quarantine and medical clearances for all incoming travellers from countries affected by coronavirus.

There is an announced 60-day ban on cruise ships and on overseas travel by public servants.

Mr Marape told the nation that while PNG has no reported cases of the virus, the risk of the virus reaching the country remains high.

Meanwhile, the company running the Ok Tedi gold and copper mine has placed nine of its workers in quarantine.

The company said two of its foreign contractors, who came to PNG more than a week ago, had reported to Tabubil hospital with flu-like symptoms.

Samples from the two have been sent to the PNG Medical Institute of Research in Goroka, the only facility in the country able to test for Covid-19.

As a precaution, the contractors have been quarantined in their houses along with seven other people with whom they had close contact.

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