Mt Hagen in 2 week lockdown to contain Covid-19 infections

Mt Hagen is set to go into lockdown for two weeks to contain the growing spread of Covid-19 infections in the region.

New measures include a ban on church services and public gatherings as well as limits on businesses and school students.

The latest spike in cases is raising questions over whether Papua New Guinea's national elections next year, should still go ahead.

But political observers warn that any postponement to polling would set a dangerous precedent for PNG.

Divine Word University political scientist Dr Joe Ketan said some countries have cited public health as a reason to postpone an election.

"This would be a very dangerous precedent for this country during an election, which will involve suspending the constitution within someone else in place to run the government on a temporary basis," he said.

Dr Orovu Sepoe, an independent consultant and governance specialist agrees.

"COVID pandemic is one threat but integrity of our elections is another threat that we face as a country," he said.

Health experts warn that if elections go ahead - then the country needs to vaccinate the highest possible number of people.

Dr Paki Molumi from Port Moresby General Hospital said safe guards must be put in place.

"The government of the day must look at those two stages of the election very carefully and put in measures to safeguard you know, public health, for polling, for voting, and counting stages of the electoral process," he said.