Monday, July 27th, Papua New Guinean President, James Marape, ordered the lockdown of the capital city of Port Moresby (Asian Age). The lockdown came after the small nation’s first COVID-19 death and a rapid spike in confirmed cases (Asian Age). Within a day, Marape announced the discovery of twenty-three new positive cases (Asian Age). Before last week Papua New Guinea only had eleven COVID cases; however, the current total stands at sixty-two (Solomon Times). Marape went on to state that without drastic action, the numbers will grow out of control (Asian Age).
Papua New Guinea requested assistance from the World Health Organization in issuing new guidelines for international and domestic travel, burials, customs, and testing (Solomon Times). These guidelines saw a ban on large gatherings, the closure of venues such as nightclubs, and social distancing requirements to be mandatory in markets (Solomon Times). Following Marape’s announcement, masks are mandatory in Port Moresby (Solomon Times). As one of the poorest nations in the Pacific, Papua New Guinea is severely under sourced and vulnerable to epidemics (Asian Age). Experts fear that in this nation where polio is still endemic, the COVID-19 pandemic will be catastrophic for the country (Asian Age).