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Govt Cover-up of details from 9th Reported COVID-19 Case in PNG, says O'Neill

The latest reported case of COVID-19 in PNG raises more questions than answers about the government’s handling of the pandemic threat, and if the Coronavirus has already spread throughout the country.

Leader of the People’s National Congress Party, Hon. Peter O’Neill, CMG, MP, said the lack of clear and honest communication about COVID-19 is further undermining the people’s confidence in the Marape-Stephen Government.

“Papua New Guineans can defeat such a virus threat as we have in the past, but not if our people are kept in the dark and do not know what we are dealing with,” Mr. O’Neill said.

“The timeline given by the Police Commissioner on this latest case does not stack up and indicates there has been a government coverup of the facts and, and this raises more questions about the reliability of PNG Government COVID-19 testing.

“The patient, who is a member of the Australian Defence Force, had symptoms more than two weeks ago, but tests were only made public by the Police Commissioner on June 20. However, the Australian Government in a news statement, revealed that the patient tested positive to COVID-19 on, Thursday, June 18.

“So why did the PNG Government wait two more days to announce the case and claim they only received the positive result on June 20?

“This is irresponsible and Marape has to answer as to why he hid from revealing this information, and if this was also the reason he cancelled his news conference on Thursday.

“Now is a time when we need leadership from the top, not for our leaders to hide.”

Mr. O’Neill said the government claimed the patient called the COVID-19 Hotline on June 9 and was also tested on that day at the ISOS facility, but again the government hid this information during a time of critical Parliamentary Debate.

“This means that all through the Parliament Debate on the State of Emergency, and the following indecision over the declaration of a Pandemic Emergency, James Marape was covering up this new COVID-19 case.

“They covered up the new infection because this government admitted that they still do not know how this man contracted Coronavirus, and if he infected other people.

“This is just like every other previous case of community transmission in PNG, the Government has no idea of where the patient contracted it, and if they infected other people.”

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