As we have continued to monitor the pandemic COVID-19, we would like to provide an update regarding our international outreaches and rural patrols.
The pandemic COVID-19 is a situation that requires a strong, coordinated approach from all stakeholders. YWAM MS takes our role in that response seriously.
We have taken note of pandemic escalation in recent days and also of announcements from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Papua New Guinea Prime Minister Hon. James Marape’s press release of Sunday 15 March related to international travel.
Papua New Guinea Engagement
PNG is in alert stage, and as at latest report, has not recorded any cases of COVID-19. Whilst this is an excellent position, we take our responsibility seriously to play our part in a continued vigilant and coordinated response to the pandemic. To participate in our shared goal of a healthy Papua New Guinea, we recognise that our best focus right now is to collaborate with efforts to ensure health security for PNG.
From global observations, we understand the low risk of undetected viral transmission from cities to remote rural areas. We are engaging in daily expert consultation and, at this point in time, have temporarily suspended deploying outreach teams to remote areas until 17 May 2020. We will continue to monitor the situation and respond accordingly as related to future plans.
The MV YWAM PNG is currently docked in Port Moresby after providing over 1.7 million training and medical services. Standard precautions remain in place (as per WHO shipping guidelines) along with preparedness plans for personnel aboard covering a range of scenarios.
While we are saddened by the delay of the patrol work we greatly enjoy, we are confident in this decision, and look forward to continuing our operations during this delay through continued activities such as strengthening partner relationships, field planning, and monitoring and evaluation. We are also moving ahead with scheduled maintenance planned for later in the year, led by a team of in-country personnel, so that we are well positioned to resume operations at the appropriate time.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has now advised all Australians to reconsider their international travel plans and Australia now requires a mandatory 14 days isolation for all international travellers to Australia.
In light of these announcements, and the complexities associated with international travel at this moment, we will focus our previously scheduled international outreach teams toward activities in Australia. Serving the needs of Australia has always been part of our priorities and we are encouraged about the opportunity at this time.
As the context is constantly shifting and being reevaluated, we will continue our regular monitoring and decision making.
Our commitment to our students and to the region continues to remain strong. We are looking forward to continuing to work together to build healthy lives, communities and nations.