Covid-19: Angry looters target Asian shops in PNG

2:24 pm on 6 April 2020

Looters targeted shops owned by Asians in Papua New Guinea's Lae on Friday, reportedly in retribution for the Covid-19 pandemic.

Lae city, Papua New Guinea.

Lae city, Papua New Guinea. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

The Post Courier newspaper reports that a group gathered in the morning to target the shops.

It's not clear how many were looted before police forced Asian-owned shops to close across the city.

Lae city councilor Peter Wagyu says people are frustrated by the government's two-month extension to the State of Emergency.

He said they blame Asians for the global pandemic.

Meanwhile, it's thought people in PNG have failed to understand the extension does not apply to the two-week nation-wide lock down, which ends today.

Police commissioner David Manning said while restrictions on international flights would continue, domestic flights for Port Moresby, Mt Hagen, Lae, Madang and Rabaul would resume tomorrow.

Public transport will also resume on Tuesday but with strict Covid-19 health and safety measures.

Passenger numbers on Public Motor Vehicles will be restricted to allow for physical distancing.

Twenty-five seat buses will only carry 15 passengers and 15 seaters will only take five.

Public motor vehicle, Papua New Guinea.

Public motor vehicle, Papua New Guinea. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

Meanwhile, PNG's Minister of Education Joseph Yopyyopy has confirmed that the closure of schools will extend to the 24th of April.

Mr Yopyyopy said public and private schools would provisionally resume for Term 2 on the 27th of April, subject to the status of the covid-19 situation in PNG.

He has urged all parents to advise their children to practice good personal hygiene measures, and to engage in "productive educational tasks whilst at home".

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