AS Papua New Guinea grapples with the spread of COVID-19, Queensland Health today announces extra measures to protect Torres Strait Islander residents. This is based on an assessment of the increased risk of people coming over from Papua New Guinea into the remote region.
In a media conference this afternoon, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk reported a large numbers of cases of COVID-19 in Papua New Guinea. These are of immediate concern to Torres Strait residents. She affirms that the Queensland government wants to ensure Torres Strait residents are protected as a priority.
Queensland government is therefore working with the Commonwealth government, the Queensland Department of Health, Elders, and Councils, as well as local Member Cynthia Lui to fast-track vaccination in these remote communities.
Queensland’s Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young also reports one new case of COVID-19 for Queensland overnight, another arrival from the Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea. This is an addition to another seven cases in Queensland yesterday, five of whom were also returned workers from Ok Tedi.
Dr Young reports that the Ok Tedi mine management has responded cooperatively to the issue within their mine. They have suspended current charter flights for the Australian FIFO workers back into Queensland. They are also working on-site to improve handling of the health situation.
Additional patrols will be introduced to further protect the spread of the COVID-19 infection from Papua New Guinea into Far North Queensland.