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O'Neill tells Marape-Steven Govt to reveal the truth on COVID-19 Spread in PNG

After months of denial, James Marape has finally admitted that there is community spread
of COVID-19 taking place in our country.
Former PNG prime minister and Leader of the People’s National Congress Party, Hon. Peter O’Neill, CMG, MP, said  around the world almost every country in a similar socio-economic position to our own has  seen terrible loss of life, but all Marape can say is that God is protecting us.
“With the tenth COVID-19 case now declared, and reports that there are dozens more
positive results awaiting secondary testing in Queensland, this government must get
serious and deal with the COVID-19 outbreak,” Mr. O’Neill said.
“If this government does nothing, our country stands on the brink of the largest loss of life
caused by a disaster in our history.
“In a bipartisan spirit, PNC offers to work with the Government to provide input on the best
way to manage this crisis in the context of our unique situation in Papua New Guinea.
“Our people expect Leaders to put aside differences when we are faced with a crisis, and
work together so we can save lives.”
Mr. O’Neill said in moving forward, the best way to prevent the loss of thousands of lives
is through prevention, and this means testing on a massive scale, which must be
supported by contact tracing using technology that is available in PNG.
“To properly manage this pending crisis, we need to reach out to Australia to help
undertake the level of testing that is required, and to deploy trained officers to strengthen
our contact tracing capacity.
“In relation to testing, while only a few thousand have been undertaken in PNG, Australia
has conducted over two million tests. Our system has failed, and regardless that we are
a developing country, there is no excuse for such low levels of testing, and we now have
to seek help.
“Tests conducted by Governor Bird in East Sepik Province have already found that 5 per
cent of the tested population retuning positive results to antibodies, and now Marape is
admitting similar results in other locations
Peter O’Neill said it is clear that community transmission is taking place, and working
together with the Opposition, the Government must get on top of that aspect of the crisis.
“Our capacity for contact tracing has also not proven successful, with not a single
confirmed case of community transmission detected.
“Papua New Guinea has to immediately reach out to Australia and seek support to deploy
personnel and other resources from civilian and military agencies to work with our people
to trace possible infections.
“As part if this, the Government should ask Australia to consider possible ways for the
immediate sharing of their very successful COVIDsafe mobile phone application, or similar
platforms that will work in our country.
“PNG has a very high uptake of mobile phones across our country, and I know all
telecommunications companies will work with the government to make the use of this
contact tracing app free of charge to our people.”
Mr. O’Neill said these recommendations are the start, and there is a lot more work that
needs to be done after the government releases information on the apparent spread of
COVID-19 in PNG, and everyone must leave their egos at the door.
“There is no room for saving face, now is the time to be honest with ourselves and if that
means we seek the help from our family next door in Australia then so be it.
“There is no person in Australia who would begrudge our request for help to stop this
pending disaster, to save lives of our people and to prevent the spread of Coronavirus on
their country’s immediate doorstep.
“Papua New Guineans and Australians have a shared history of sacrifice, through wars
and disasters, and now we ask must ask for their help.”


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