As we monitor and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will continue to provide updates here regarding our international outreaches and rural patrols.
This pandemic requires a strong, coordinated approach from all stakeholders. YWAM MS takes our role in that response seriously.
We are monitoring the situation continuously and taking note of announcements ongoing including from both Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape, and Australia’s Prime Minister, Hon. Scott Morrison, as well as the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Papua New Guinea Engagement
As at writing, PNG is in the containment phase of its COVID-19 response, with one confirmed case. YWAM MS remains committed to a vigilant and coordinated response. 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.
Prime Minister Marape has announced strong restrictions on both international and domestic travel for PNG. This includes coastal shipping movements between provinces. As previously announced, we 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 rural outreach movements.
At this time, MV YWAM PNG is en route to Australia, complying with all relevant international and Australian regulations. Once docked, we intend to proceed as best as possible with maintenance tasks that had been scheduled for later in the year. This is to ensure we are as pre-prepared as we can be once return to large scale, rural outreach is appropriate.
Our staff team repatriated from PNG, continue to work remotely from our headquarters in Townsville. We are working around the clock on a range of essential priorities such as partner coordination, adjusted field planning, our part to play in COVID-19 response now, preparation for a range of future scenarios and ongoing monitoring and evaluation, to name a few areas. We are grateful to our many partners as we continue to stand together and keep working at this challenging time.
YWAM MS is deeply committed to serving remote communities in Papua New Guinea and are resolute that we will do all we can today, and in the coming days, so that we are well positioned to resume our full suite of field-based operations in remote rural areas at the appropriate time.