PNG cabinet approves K280m for Covid-19 expenses

Prime Minister James Marape said the funding will go to all sectors of the Covid-19 operations, but especially frontliners especially medical workers, police, and defence personnel.

Some of the funding is to be used to help PNG citizens who are stranded overseas to return to the country.

Mr Marape also said that 23.2 tonnes of medical gear, including personal protective equipment, were being flown in from China and were due to soon arrive in Port Moresby.

PNG confirms new Covid-19 cases

There are now seven confirmed coronavirus cases in PNG.

One of the new cases had been confirmed by the Emergency Controller, Police Commissioner David Manning, yesterday.

Prime Minister, James Marape said the seven people who have contracted the disease are all well.

"This includes the, first imported case, a male adult Australian mine employee who is now in Australia who have recovered. And the second local in the East New Britain Province."

He said all the new cases were consistently positive after repeated tests.

PNG opens Covid-19 centre

The facility had been made possible by the PNG Sports Foundation.

Called the National Response Centralised Facility and run by Dr Gary Nou, it will serve Gul, Central and the National Capital District, but also be on standby for other PNG provinces.

The Post Courier newspaper reported the hospital had 76 beds, and was staffed with 13 doctors, 20 nursing officers and 20 community health workers.

PNG has two confirmed cases of Covid-19 but the country's ability to test for the virus was limited.


Israel-Pacific Leaders Summit becomes an established Forum

“These Summit’s will be open to all Pacific Island Countries as it will further strengthen the cooperation with the State of Israel in disaster preparedness through the exchange of knowledge, experience, state of art technology, and courses offered in Israel by Israeli experts. This will also enable Israel as per President Rueven Rivlin’s, affirmation that we will continue and strengthen support for humanitarian assistance in cases of emergency and during disasters,” Israel’s Ambassador to the Pacific Islands, Ambassador Tibor Schlosser said.

PNG parliament passes whistle blowers bill

Every MP in the house on Tuesday voted in support of the 2020 Whistle Blowers Bill.

The Bill, introduced by Justice Minister and Attorney-General Davis Steven, aims to provide protection for those in the public sector to report corrupt practices.

Mr Steven told the house the bill is just one of various steps the government is taking to tackle the country's corruption problem.

A bill to establish an Independent Commission Against Corruption was also tabled in parliament on Tuesday.

It has to go to a parliamentary committee before being voted on by MPs.

Tonga, PNG 7s on track to reach World Series qualifier

Tonga ended on a winning note in Viña del Mar after beating Zimbabwe 19-14 in the playoff for fifth place, have earlier come from behind to defeat Uganda by the same scoreline.

Meanwhile PNG finished in a share of seventh place, having lost 26-19 to Zimbabwe in the previous round.

Both teams were knocked out of title contention in the quarter finals, with PNG outclassed 29-0 by Germany and Tonga overwhelmed 28-7 by host's Chile in the first knockout round.

PNG to feature in women's Sevens Challenger Series

The standalone event will be held in Stellenbosch, South Africa on 28 and 29 March and see teams from all six World Rugby regions competing to win a core spot on the Women's World Series in 2021.

The challenger series is designed to boost rugby sevens' development across the globe and will evolve to feature more tournaments as it grows and develops in future years.

"World Rugby is heavily committed to growing the women's game," said World Rugby chair Sir Bill Beaumont.

Two killed in jail break at Lae prison in PNG

The Post Courier reports that 16 prisoners escaped from Buimo jail in PNG's second city of Lae.

The prisoners made a dash for freedom during the morning visiting hour at the facility.

A 17th prisoner who tried to escape was shot dead by a prison guard.

A separate guard was killed, although details around the correctional services officer's death are not known.

The acting Lae Metropolitan Police Commander, Chris Kunyanban, has issued a warning to the Lae public about the escapees.

Pacific's largest fresh produce market opens in PNG

The New Zealand-funded project, in partnership with PNG's National Capital District Commission, is two stories high and will host 1500 vendors, and include a café, playground, food court, and parking area.

The redevelopment of 'Gordons Market' was launched last week by National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop and New Zealand's High Commissioner to PNG, Philip Taula.

Cancer danger highlighted on 'No Betel Nut Day'

Business4Health uses its business links to raise concerns about critical health issues in the PNG community.

And the oral cancers arising from betel nut use are a major focus for it.

Business4Health principal Ann Clarke said changing attitudes to betel nut use in PNG communities was going to be tough. 

The challenge was similar to those faced by anti-smoking campaigners, she said.

"And if you think of it in that context it will take time but it also takes better education, better understanding of people's health," Ms Clarke said.