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Papua New Guinea Thanks New Zealand

The New Zealand Government has been thanked and commended for stepping in quickly to assist evacuate the 17 PNG students trapped in the epicenter of the Coronavirus in Wuhan, China.
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Patrick Pruaitch in a statement yesterday said the PNG Government is very grateful for this assistance not only to PNG students but those from other Pacific Island countries as well.
Mr. Pruaitch said this act of kindness demonstrates New Zealand's commitment and close ties to the people of the Pacific, including PNG.
He also thanked Australia and other bilateral partners who offered support and assistance through formal diplomatic channels, adding that their humanitarian gestures are appreciated during this global health emergency.
The minister also took the time to commend DFAIT Headquarters and, both diplomatic staff, Mr. Vincent Sumale and Ms. Farapo Korere and families at the PNG Embassy in Beijing (Kundu Beijing), for remaining steadfast and committed throughout the evacuation planning stages.
He said it required all hands-on deck given the international time difference, deadlines, and various security, health and sovereignty clearances needed from Chinese Authorities, both here in Port Moresby and Beijing, to make the evacuation possible.
There were numerous rounds of discussions and communication between all stakeholders – Our Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Kundu Beijing, the PNG Student Representatives in Wuhan, the New Zealand High Commission, Australian High Commission, Kundu Wellington, Kundu Canberra, Department of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology (DHERST), the National Department of Health (NDoH) and the PNG Immigration and Citizenship Authority – to ensure that all passengers submitted correct information and clearances on time.
These included passport and contact details and the validity of Chinese visas.
Pruaitch also thank Fr Jan Czuba, Acting Secretary for DHERST and his staff who met this week with Secretary Age of DFAIT and her staff and confirmed funding arrangements by DHERST for the students in Wuhan. 
DHERST provided funding support swiftly on the evening of Monday 03 February, to the students, through Kundu Beijing.
This funding support covered the travel costs of the students from the University to the airport for evacuation, support for emergency hygiene kits, food and other miscellaneous costs to keep the students going until they reach New Zealand.
Additionally, the minister said, Fr Jan, has confirmed that DHERST will be bearing the cost of bringing back the 17 students from New Zealand to PNG after the 14-days quarantine period.
Minister Patrick Pruaitch clarifies that his department staff is working only on official information and reports from the PNG Embassy in Beijing, who continue to liaise with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The department is also liaising with the Chinese Embassy in Port Moresby on what the Chinese Government is doing to contain the coronavirus.
Meantime, for families and relatives of PNG citizens affected by travel bans and other coronavirus outbreak precautionary measures, please contact the Department’s Help Desk Team on the details below. (Note these details were also issued by my Department last week.)
1.Email Address: Help Desk DFAIT
2.Phone Number: (+675) 301 4131 / (+675) 310 4115
3.Contact Persons: Mr. Morea Veratau - Chief of State Protocol
Ms. Winnie Herry-Ugava – Director, Consular Affairs
4.Location: Protocol Division, Department of Foreign Affairs
and International Trade
Ground Floor, Tower B, Central Government Office, Waigani, Port Moresby.
NBC News
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