PNG initiates localized lockdown following 9th COVID-19 case

Source: Xinhua| 2020-06-24 15:37:33|Editor: huaxia

SYDNEY, June 24 (Xinhua) -- Parts of Papua New Guinea's (PNG) capital of Port Moresby were placed in lockdown and military personnel is undergoing mass testing, after an Australian soldier became the country's ninth confirmed COVID-19 case, local newspaper The National reported on Wednesday.

Areas the infected soldier visited prior to testing positive on Saturday were placed in lockdown, including the Murray Barracks and parts of the Australian High Commission in the Capital of Port Moresby, as well as a village in Central Province where the soldier had recently gone fishing.

Mass testing was also underway among Papua New Guinea Defense Force (PNGDF) personnel including high-ranking military officers, and containment measures were to be imposed on other military bases within PNG.

Prime Minister James Marape said the targeted lockdowns were imposed due to legislation approved by the parliament last week, to help manage the COVID-19 response.

"This is one of the benefits of the National Pandemic Act 2020 recently passed in Parliament," Marape said.

"Instead of (having to order) a state of emergency and locking down the city...the controller has the powers to go in and lock down the hotspot or the area where the case had been to, you can refer to it as a localised lockdown."

The Australian Defence Force soldier tested positive to the virus on Saturday, 58 days after the eighth case was recorded in the Eastern Highlands, according to The National. Enditem