The Commissioner of Police and Controller of the PNG COVID-19 National Pandemic Response David Manning said calls for public protests over the recently released pandemic measures are unjustified.
Mr Manning said that certain individuals and interest groups with ulterior motives are making these calls over the social media but there is no basis because the domestic travel measures have not changed.
Mr Manning, “We simply included an additional category to Schedule 1 of Measure 3 which now enables those who have been vaccinated to travel when-ever and where-ever they wish domestically.
“Other travelers will need to fit one of the five categories for domestic travel. So in effect the measures for domestic air travel have not changed. People must know and understand that we are living in a global pandemic.
Close to 183 million people have been infected and almost four million people have died from COVID-19 globally. Therefore COVID 19 restrictions are a necessity.
We are returning to the “New Normal” or Niupela Pasin. The government is and continues to act responsibly. But before we can ever hope to return to normalcy certain things need to be accepted and self-imposed.
“We have made significant progress in bettering our Public health system, ensuring and encouraging compliance to the Niupela Pasin, and general adjustments to living with COVID 19 amongst us.
“From the outset our response has been guided by best practice and lessons learnt. Now is not the time to play politics, nor is it the time to push individual desires and agendas. Desperate and deluded conspiracy theorists and failed politicians need to be reminded that we are an easily impressionable people. And as such they need to be aware of the impact of their personal views and agendas. Do not prey on peoples’ naivety, nor ignorance, because it just exposes your desperation and single mindedness and self-serving agenda.
“For our nation to progress we must come to the realisation that we must put the nation first. By doing this we will be able to easily see what these unpatriotic self-serving individuals’ agendas are.
The people hold the power to change this country, not political bickering and attention seeking, and highly questionable morals and ethics of individuals and self-entitled groups.
“I ask the public to carefully examine those people and groups who are pushing the agenda for strike action or protest marches. Ask them what is their motive when there is no cause?
“I did not ask or apply for the Controller’s position. The Government in its wisdom appointed me to lead the PNG Government response to COVID-19. I took up the challenge because I have sworn an oath to protect and serve the people of PNG.
As the Controller I will do so to the best of my ability. I know, not everyone will be happy with the restrictions or the measures imposed, but the safety of the nation is of paramount importance, more so than the discomfort of one or two individuals or organisations.
“As a country God has blessed and protected us from COVID-19. You don’t need to look far to see the death and destruction COVID-19 has caused in other countries.
God also gave our leaders the wisdom to take swift decisive action when needed. We as a country have done exceptionally well and this is due largely to the quick and decisive action taken by the Marabe/Basil Government.
“When the first COVID-19 case was reported in March 2020 we immediately shut down our country and declared a national State of Emergency. We are the only country to have done so.
The measures and restrictions we put in place further reduced our exposure as a country. As of July 1, PNG’s cumulative COVID-19 total is 17,254 with 174 deaths.
“Whilst we acknowledge God’s hand in our lives we must also play our part as well. So I appeal to all Papua New Guineans to please work with us as the pandemic isn’t over yet.
We need to work together and collectively defeat this global health threat,” Mr Manning concluded.