papua new guinea

Australia to end offshore processing in Papua New Guinea

The federal government is ending offshore processing in Papua New Guinea for asylum seekers detained after trying to reach Australia by boat.

The arrangement was set up in 2013 under the then-Labor government and authorised regional processing in PNG.

Under a timeline announced on Wednesday, processing in PNG will permanently end on 31 December.

As of July this year, there were 124 asylum seekers in PNG, of whom 88 have been found to be refugees.

16 dead, some left permanently blind after drinking stolen methanol in PNG

The Chief Executive at Kainantu Rural Hospital, Dr Enename Susuke said some of them are now permanently blind.

“We had more than 240 intoxicated persons, that's last week to the beginning of this week...including children under the age of 12, 13. Females and males as well,” Dr Susuke said.

He said all patients have now been released but some have been left with temporary and permanent blindness.

“After giving them antidotes to methanol...we've managed to clear the vision for those of them who were having visual issues,” Dr Susuke said.

Several key PNG hospitals full with COVID patients

Three medical staff from Western province's Daru Hospital died due to COVID in the past fortnight.

The deputy controller of the pandemic response, Dr Daoni Esorom, said these people were all still in their prime age, but that's what COVID-19 does.

He said the deaths are most likely due to the Delta variant because it spreads fast and is deadlier for those with co-morbidities and the elderly.

Dr Esorom reiterated calls for people throughout PNG to adhere to the "Niupela Pasin" or "New Normal" by following good hygiene and distancing measures.

Deadly signs of Delta spread in PNG border province

Eight people are reported by health authorities to have died from COVID in Western Province in the past week.

The National Pandemic Response deputy controller Dr Daoni Esorom said the deaths were highly likely to be Delta-variant-related.

Western is one of PNG's most remote provinces and one of two that share a border with Indonesia's West Papua region. The porous border is difficult to secure, and many traditional border crossers travel back and forth.

PNG hits out at India over broken agreement and unauthorised arrivals

PNG's National Pandemic Response Controller and Police Commissioner, David Manning, alleges India's High Commission in Port Moresby deliberately participated in a deception that resulted in the unauthorised arrivals.

Manning said India broke an agreement on how many passengers were approved for the repatriation flight.

According to him, the proposed repatriation flight from India had been rejected four times due to the risk of Covid-infected arrivals from India

Surge in PNG COVID cases

That compares to five new cases and one death in the previous 24 hours.

Morobe province recorded the largest numbers of new cases with 49.

The death toll in PNG remains at 192.


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PNG church leaders drafted in vaccination campaign

Official figures show around 60,000 people in PNG have had their first dose of a vaccine, and just 1900 have had both.

A recent survey by PNG’s health department, found that just 39 per cent of people - excluding health workers - were willing to take a COVID-19 vaccine.

Church officials and leaders are now being drafted in to the fight online conspiracy theories and encourage vaccinations.

Dr Alphonse Aime is the Head of the Communications department at the Divine Word University and says more needs to be done to counter the anti-vaccination messages.

Pacific 7s teams learn draw for final Olympic qualifier

10 men's and 12 women's team will contest the Final Repechage event in Monaco on 19-20 June, where one men's and two women's teams will seal the final spots in the main draw.

The men's draw is split into two pools of five, with World Series core teams Samoa and Ireland in Pool A, alongside Tonga, Zimbabwe and Mexico.

Top seeds France are headline Pool B, alongside Hong Kong, Chile, Uganda and Jamaica.

The women's draw is made up of three pools of four teams, with Samoa, Russia, Argentina and Mexico in Pool A.

PNG epidemic underlines need for vaccine equity: WHO

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Friday told a briefing focused on Papua New Guinea and the western Pacific region about the WHO's concern of the potential for a much larger epidemic in PNG.

Globally cases and deaths were "continuing to increase at worrying rates", he said.

"The number of new cases per week has nearly doubled over the past two months. This is approaching the highest rate of infection that we have seen so far during the pandemic."

Countries which had been experiencing steep increases in infections in the past few months included PNG, Tedros noted.

Covid-19 cases in PNG more than 8,000

The country’s Covid-19 related death toll remains at 68.

Seven provinces recorded new Covid-19 cases on Friday April 9 including the National Capital District, Simbu, Western, Central, the Autonomous Region of Bougainville, and Eastern Highlands.

Meanwhile PNG born rugby champion and UNICEF ambassador Will Genia is urging Papua New Guineans to take Covid-19 seriously and dispel the misinformation and misunderstanding around the vaccine.

Speaking on the Pacific podcast Vosa, Genia said combatting misinformation is key.