The Chief Migration Officer Stanis Hulahau has brushed aside rumours on social media that refugees, and non-refugees living in Port Moresby are spreading coronavirus in the country.
“Coronavirus does not discriminate, and people must understand that the virus is not spread by refugees or non-refugees.”
Mr Hulahau is concerned about misinformation posted on Facebook recently claiming that refugees and non-refugees residing in Port Moresby are spreading the virus.
“The baseless assumptions by an individual is disrespectful to our people and our efforts to provide a safe and healthy environment to people that owe protection.”
There are 90 refugees and 40 non-refugees under the Regional Resettlement Arrangement (RRA) currently residing in Port Moresby.
With a spike in Covid-19 cases in Port Moresby this month, the Australian Government has arranged a private hospital to carry out testing on all 130 men of which 58 tests were done last week.
“The Covid-19 test on refugees and non-refugees does not indicate that they are the main transmitters. However, it teaches us a lesson to get tested and protect our loved-ones from the virus.”
He added that if the test results returned positive, the person of interest would be relocated to a separate accommodation site for isolation and recovery.
Mr Hulahau further explained that non-refugees with negative status are held under immigration’s supervision while refugees are being managed by an external contractor whilst awaiting resettlement.
He added that non-refugees are not held at Bomana Immigration Centre (BIC) because of an external arrangement under the US Resettlement pathway and agreed to by UNHCR that allows all transferee under RRA to settle outside immigration detention.
The Australian Government is meeting the bills for all accommodation and medical expenses in Port Moresby.