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Outrage as Australia walks away from refugee responsibilities

Australia announced last week that by the end of this year it will end its offshore detention arrangement with PNG.

The scheme was declared illegal by the PNG courts five years ago but 124 people, most of whom have been judged to be refugees, remain there.

The Coalition's Ian Rintoul said PNG has no capacity, or desire, to look after these people, or search for third countries to take them off their hands.

Westpac forced to continue to operate its banks in Fiji and Papua New Guinea

Westpac announced last year it was selling its majority shareholdings in Westpac Fiji and Westpac Bank PNG Ltd for up to $AU420 million dollars.

Its preferred buyer was Kina Securities but the PNG Consumer and Competition Commission, the ICCC, has denied authorisation for the sale to Kina Securities.

Westpac has today announced that it will continue to operate the Pacific businesses while it reviews the impact of the decision on Kina Securities.

     

PNG's Digicel Cup delayed amid player Covid-19 cases

The 2021 Digicel Cup Season was originally to begin last month but was delayed following a surge of coronavirus cases in the country.

It was then scheduled for kick-off this weekend but has been delayed a further three weeks despite officials having urged participants to adhere to strict Covid-19 protocols.

PNG's National Rugby League Competition Chair Adrian Chow says the new delay was due to members of one team being confirmed positive for Covid-19 during routine tests.

Australia to send Papua New Guinea vaccines as cases surge

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the doses would be sent immediately, along with other critical care equipment.

Papua New Guinea's fragile healthcare system is under huge strain.

Officially, there are 1,400 active cases in the country, but the true number is thought to be much higher.

Testing has been an issue for the island nation. As of 10 March, only 50,000 tests had been carried out in a country with a population of nine million.

Regional governments and public applaud the ‘I Am Digital’ campaign

Agreeing in unison on the initiative's timeliness, the respective governments and its people all see the urgent need to educate youths and individuals on online safety etiquettes.   

‘I Am Digital’ is a new social media online safety education campaign for Save the Children and Facebook, uniquely tailored for audiences in the Pacific Islands. The high-profile campaign is designed to help educate and empower Pacific Island teenagers and young people to have safer and more positive online experiences.

PNG covid case numbers edge towards 900

On Saturday authorities confirmed a 895th case in the Central province, a 37-year old male who is an employee of a mining company.

He was not showing symptoms of COVID-19 at the time of testing but swab samples returned positive as part of the routine travel screening for work.

Additionally, over the course of the weekend, PNG's Hunters rugby leage team announced that one of the members of their travelling party had tested positive for Covid-19

It means that their scheduled departuire to Australia yesterday has been delayed again.

PNG records seventh Covid-19 death

A 71-year old man from Central Province who lived in Moresby South was brought to the Port Moresby General Hospital on Friday, tested positive for Covid-19 and then died the same day.

He had been suffering from a fever, a cough and shortness of breath but also had hypertension and diabetes as exisiting underlying medical conditions.

The Pandemic Response Controller, David Manning, said the recent death reinforced the call to citizens to go to health facilities and get tested if they had symptoms.

PNG's coronavirus cases inch towards 400

One new case was confirmed in the National Capital District on Monday, at Port Moresby General Hospital, bringing the national total to 398.

The controller of the National Pandemic Response David Manning said there were too many people in the city not adhering to health protocols, despite the rising number of cases.

"The number of cases in NCD is now 254. This is a big increase and unless people adhere to the health measures in place, we are likely to see a continuing rise in cases in Covid-19,'' he said.

PNG registers fourth covid-related death

According to the newspaper The National, a 72-year-old man died this month in Port Moresby.

The National Control Centre incident manager Dr Esorom Doani said the man from Mortlock Island in Bougainville tested positive on 12 August and died two days later.

The man, who had a history of diabetes, was suffering from severe respiratory illness and was incubated and placed on ventilation before he died.

The confirmed number of Covid cases across the country has reached 361, with the coronavirus now in 11 provinces.

Eleven prisoners killed during mass jailbreak in PNG

At least 34 other prisoners remain on the run after the mass breakout from Buimo Prison in Lae on Friday.

PNG media are reporting that the breakout occurred when some inmates pretended to be sick and were escorted by others to the clinic.

The newspaper The National reported that inmates overpowered guards at the compound gate when it was opened to allow supposedly sick inmates to pass through.

PNG's Correctional Services Commissioner Stephen Pokanis confirmed the vast majority of those who escaped were detainees on remand.