Australia’s support to Papua New Guinea to prepare for and respond to COVID-19 was boosted significantly today with the arrival of a Royal Australian Air Force C27-J plane carrying supplies and additional personnel from the Australian Defence Force.
Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner Caitlin Wilson was at the Port Moresby International Airport to formally receive the supplies and hand them over to Minister for Health and HIV, Jelta Wong MP, for the PNG Government distribution and use.
The shipment included 12,000 rapid test kits, which will contribute to the PNG Government’s understanding of COVID-19 transmission in PNG and help guide the public health response. The shipment also includes 380 more GeneXpert tests, the first batch of which arrived last week. Over 1000 cartridges have now been provided.
The flight also brought four Australian Defence Force personnel who, after completing 14 days of isolation, will contribute to the already substantial effort by Australia’s Defence Cooperation Program to support the Papua New Guinea Defence Force prepare for and mitigate any outbreak.
In handing over the equipment, Deputy High Commissioner Caitlin Wilson said; “This delivery marks a major additional contribution towards PNG’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. It has been made possible through strong cooperation and goodwill between the PNG and Australian defence forces, and our two governments.”
Receiving the supplies for PNG, Health Minister Jelta Wong said; “PNG acknowledges the important support Australia is providing towards our preparedness and response for COVID-19, and we are pleased to continue to work in partnership to tackle this crisis”.
The supplies are part of Australia’s wide-ranging package of support to the PNG Government to prepare for and respond to COVID-19, which already accounts for over PGK67 million reprioritised from existing commitments.
Feature Pic from (left to right): Deputy Head Australian Defence Staff, Lieutenant Colonel Murray Heron, Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS, Jelta Wong, Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner, Caitlin Wilson, State of Emergency Controller, David Manning and Deputy State of Emergency Controller, Dr Paison Dakulala.