Skip to main content
07 Apr 2020 | 11:15 PM UTC

Papua New Guinea: Bougainville government extends state of emergency until June

Authorities in Bougainville extend the state of emergency until mid-June due to the spread of COVID-19; follow all government directives



On Wednesday, April 8, the government of the autonomous region of Bougainville announced that the state of emergency which was introduced on Monday, March 23 to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) will be extended until the middle of June. The original state of emergency was due to elapse on Monday, April 13, and the government is yet to decide what impact the decision will have on the upcoming elections. There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Bougainville, however, samples of two suspected cases are being sent to Port Moresby for testing. On Sunday, April 5, authorities announced that 316 people had been tested since the declaration of the state of emergency with 301 of these being cleared and the remaining being labeled as of interest.

Prime Minister James Marape has announced that the nationwide state of emergency that came into effect on March 24 will be extended through June. Under the state of emergency, all domestic flights are suspended and a ban on international flights remains in place. Only approved cargo, medicine, and security personnel will be allowed to travel between provinces. Schools are closed and all non-essential workers are being asked to stay home.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay. To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.