On 19 March 2020, authorities announced that penal institutions have been placed in quarantine. New prisoners are tested upon their entry and visits are suspended until further notice. Prisons were then placed in isolation from 24 March 2020 onwards and detainees or staff members that have Covid-19 symptoms will be placed in isolation and suspected cases transferred to a regional hospital.
Reports indicate that about 220 immigration detainees that were formerly held on Manus Island are now in Port Moresby. The Australian Refugee Council has stated that refugees and asylum seekers should be moved from Papua New Guinea and Nauru. A Sri Lankan refugee in Papua New Guinea stated that the coronavirus had “dramatically increased anxiety among the refugees” and that “many people have health problems after seven years of medical neglect. They will be particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus”.
- M. Finkeo, M. “CS: New Prisoners Not Going to Jail Without Medical Clearance,” The National, 20 March 2020, www.thenational.com.pg/cs-new-prisoners-not-going-to-jail-without-medical-clearance/
- Papua New Guinea Correctional Service, https://www.facebook.com/Papua-New-Guinea-Correctional-Service-867583000003972/
- B. R. Drawbridge, “Covid-19: Calls for Evacuation of Refugees from Nauru, PNG,” RNZ, 2 April 2020, www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/413230/covid-19-calls-for-evacuation-of-refugees-from-nauru-png
- Global Detention Project, Immigration Detention in Papua New Guinea, www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/asia-pacific/papua-new-guinea