Health Alert: Significant Increase in COVID-19 Cases in Papua New Guinea (March 10, 2021)

Location: Papua New Guinea

Event: Significant Increase in COVID-19 Cases in Papua New Guinea

U.S. citizens are advised that Papua New Guinea (PNG) is currently experiencing its most significant increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic.

As of March 10th, health authorities have identified COVID-19 cases in 18 of the country’s 22 provinces and large-scale outbreaks have been documented in the National Capital District, West Sepik, Madang, Morobe, and Western provinces, as well as the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. While testing rates across the country remain low, test positivity has increased significantly in many areas and local health system capacity is strained.

Up-to-date information on the national situation can be found at the PNG government’s COVID-19 information portal (please note that the page may take time to load). The portal publishes COVID-19 case counts and weekly situation reports. The most recent National Pandemic Measures—including on domestic and international travel, mask and social distancing requirements, and restrictions on large gatherings—can also be found at the portal. Please see the left-hand side of the page for the National Pandemic Measures, the Department of Health’s Situation Reports, and the Niupela Pasin guidelines.

Beginning March 10th, all domestic air travelers must have a valid reason for travel. Approved reasons for travel include return to one’s habitual place of residence, essential business travel, medical care and assistance, and emergency transport. Implementation of these domestic travel measures is expected to be done by air service providers.

U.S. citizens and their organizations are urged to adhere to all applicable local, provincial, and national requirements, and to follow guidance provided by provincial and national health authorities in order to limit their own exposure to COVID-19 and to protect other community members.

The Embassy regularly updates its own COVID-19 information on our website, including the status of consular services and a summary of international transportation options and requirements. Please note that the Embassy does not provide health and medical services to private U.S. citizens and cannot make travel arrangements.

Actions to Take:

  • Follow the direction of local, provincial, and national government and health authorities
  • Monitor local media and the PNG government’s COVID-19 portal for up-to-date information on the national situation
  • Monitor the Embassy’s COVID-19 information page for updates on travel-related testing requirements, a summary of exit and entry requirements and transportation options, and the status of consular services
  • Consult the CDC website for the up-to-date information
  • Consult the Department of State’s COVID-19 crisis page for the latest information on international travel and for a listing of other U.S. Embassies COVID-19 information pages

Travel Between PNG and the United States:

  • Before making arrangements, review Air Niugini’s travel advice and the “Transportation Options” section of the Embassy’s COVID-19 information page; questions should be directed to Air Niugini and/or other airlines as appropriate
  • Pay close attention to transit rules in third countries, including maximum transit times and ticketing requirements
  • Work directly with the relevant airlines or with a reputable travel agent who is familiar with PNG, Air Niugini, and Air Niugini’s partner airlines, as well transit requirements in Brisbane, Singapore, or Hong Kong, as applicable
  • If you transit Singapore or Hong Kong, ensure that you have a single/consolidated itinerary/ticket and that you and your baggage can be checked through from Port Moresby to your post-Singapore or post-Hong Kong destination; this may require that the tickets be booked fully as codeshares with the respective partner airline rather than with Air Niugini
  • If you transit Brisbane for more than eight hours, obtain a Subclass 771 transit visa
  • If you transit Auckland, obtain a New Zealand Electronic Travel Authorization
  • Obtain a negative result from a COVID-19 viral test administered within three calendar days of your first international departure—or travel with documentation from a licensed health care provider of having recovered from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel
  • For purpose of travel, test results or documentation from a health care provider should include the traveler’s full name (as it appears in their passport), date of birth, and passport number
  • Consult the CDC’s Frequently Asked Questions about U.S. COVID-19 testing requirements
  • Arrive to the airport early in case there are issues with your itinerary that need to be resolved

Assistance:

U.S. Embassy Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Phone number: +675 308 2100
Email address: ConsularPortMoresby@state.gov
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/usembassyportmoresby/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/usembassypom?lang=en

U.S. State Department – Consular Affairs
+1 888 407 4747 or +1 202 501 4444
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