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PNG COVID-19 Controller Further Extends the grace period for West New Britain stranded travellers

 The PNG COVID-19 National Pandemic Controller, Mr David Manning, is extending the grace period of five days from the 07th of January to the 11th of January 2021 to allow for stranded passengers holding onto confirmed bookings for the entire restricted period in Measure 13 to travel out of and into the province.

Mr Manning said the extension will be coordinated closely by the commercial airlines and all airline operators with the Health officials at the COVID-19 National Control Centre for convenience.

Mr Manning said, “The extension will also allow for Health officials to organize themselves in the West New Britain Province to set up the antigen rapid tests. The Travel Restrictions outlined in Measure 13 for West New Britain remains effective with no new bookings during the entire duration prescribed in the Measure.”

The following clarifications are hereby provided:

• Passengers holding onto existing tickets for the entire restricted period are to coordinate with the airlines on their travel during the grace period window;

• For any other flights beyond the grace period including emergency medical flights, the requirements in Measure 13 will apply;

• The COVID -19 Test will be using the RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen tests;

• Once the Antigen Rapid testing is set up at the airport, the Health officials will communicate with the airlines who will advise passengers accordingly on their movements to the airport for pre-checking with requirements which will include testing, and obtaining their results before boarding;

• Passengers travelling to WNB are not required to be tested before boarding at Jacksons airport, but are required to fully adhere to the Niupela Pasin measures when they arrive in the West New Britain Province. 

Persons who have been found to be positive will not be allowed to travel. 

Mr Manning said health and medical teams are being deployed to the West New Britain Province to assist the province organize themselves on the ground. 

“COVID -19 is real and it is our responsibility to ensure the country is safe. Therefore the restrictions will remain and we will strengthen our efforts to manage the situation in the province for the good of its residents and the country. 

“I will continue to strongly urge people to follow the health protocols in place and also for people not to travel unnecessarily into and out of the province and especially using the road network between the West New Britain and East New Britain provinces and by sea,” Mr Manning said.

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