25 Mar 2020

PNG police turn back travellers who left quaratine early

11:24 am on 25 March 2020

An aircraft carrying 13 passengers in Papua New Guinea was directed to return to Port Moresby by the Covid-19 Joint Task Force for breaching quarantine protocols.

The Task Force commander, Police Commissioner David Manning, said the plane arrived in Daru in PNG's Western province whereupon it was sent back to the national capital.

The passengers, all PNG nationals, had recently returned from Singapore.

Police Commissioner, David Manning.

Police Commissioner, David Manning. Photo: PNG police

Mr Manning said police acted swiftly to send back the 13 passengers from Daru, to ensure they adhere to the required 14-day quarantine period which was to end on Friday 27 March.

He said they had stayed in quarantine for only 10 days after returning from Singapore and decided to travel out of Port Moresby to Daru without completing the quarantine checks.

The passengers are now isolated in Port Moresby under the watch of health officials, police said.

"The standard requirement for all passengers travelling into the country regardless of the nationalities must go through the 14 days quarantine process and protocols before going back to the society," the commissioner explained.

"However, they by-passed the Covid-19 quarantine measures under the State of Emergency."

"On arrival at the Daru airport, the aeroplane was directed to return to Port Moresby with all passenger on board by police and health officials in Daru."

"They are now isolated in Port Moresby and a team of specialists will be investigating this matter to establish the facts before we take necessary actions," Mr Manning said

"This incident now gives us a level of confidence on the coordinating mechanisms that are in place to combat Covid-19."