THE Australian Government has provided an additional K1.7million to support the Government of Papua New Guinea prepare for and respond to Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The funding support will boost the PNG Government’s existing commitment of K45million for COVID-19 response.

“The health and safety of all Papua New Guineans is our number one priority. Australia has been an important supporter in helping Papua New Guinea respond to health emergencies,” said  Minister for Health and HIV/AIDS, Jelta Wong.

“This support will help to ensure Papua New Guinea’s health system is better prepared to fight Coronavirus and protect the community.

The PNG Government and the World Health Organization, alongside the country’s leading medical experts, are working around the clock to ensure we have the right tools, information and resources to keep Papua New Guineans safe.”

Earlier this month Australia provided Personal Protective Equipment for frontline health workers in the COVID-19 response.

International experience has shown that preparation – at national, community and individual levels – is vital to slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends people familiarise themselves with basic protective measures against the COVID-19.

This includes frequent washing of hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub and maintaining social distancing to prevent infection from coughs and sneezes.

People should avoid touching their face, eyes and mouth, and ensure that they and those around them cover their coughs and sneezes.

Papua New Guineans are advised to keep up to date with the latest, official information from the PNG Government.

Australia is a committed partner to PNG, working to strengthen the health system to prevent, detect and respond to health security threats quickly and effectively.

The Australian Government funding is overseen by WHO and aligns with the PNG Government’s reprioritisation of resources towards COVID-19 emergency preparedness.