New travel rules in Papua New Guinea place emphasis on vaccination


Vaccination against COVID-19 will now be a requirement for many travellers, after stricter new rules were released in recent days in Papua New Guinea to tackle the more dangerous Delta strain of the virus. Here’s a summary of the new requirements.

People who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 have been added to the list of persons with ‘Valid Reasons for Domestic Travel’ in Papua New Guinea.

This is one of the new measurements established on 2 July by the Police Commissioner and Controller of the PNG COVID-19 National Pandemic Response, David Manning.

The six valid reasons for domestic travel are:

  1. Students returning to their usual place of residence or returning to their educational institution
  2. Persons returning to their place of residence
  3. Essential business travel
  4. Medical assistance and medivac
  5. Emergency transport, including but not limited to repatriation of deceased person
  6. A person who is vaccinated against COVID-19

Students and persons returning to their place of residence will be issued one-way tickets only.

People travelling domestically must also abide to strict hygiene and physical distancing measures, have their temperature checked at check-in and complete a National Department of Health Form.

Story continues after advertisment...

Each province may require domestic travellers to get COVID-19 tested on arrival. Travellers who refuse to get tested must quarantine for 14 days at a ‘suitable location’.

International travel

New rules also apply to international travellers.

Starting 2 July, as Air Niugini explains, all international travellers entering PNG must:

  1. Be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and provide a vaccination certificate at check-in
  2. Quarantine for 21 days on arrival in PNG at the individual’s expense
  3. All previous Controller approvals for a person to enter PNG as required under previous Measure 2 remain effective, but are now subject to the new Direction

All passengers must wear face masks, use hand sanitiser and comply with all other COVID-19 safety protocols. A previous measure which allowed vaccinated arrivals to home quarantine for just seven days has been revoked.

There are no changes to the requirements for international travellers leaving PNG because they will be subjected to the rules of the country they are visiting.


PNG Air has explained that, for domestic travel, ‘a person in considered vaccinated if they have received one dose [of one of the COVID vaccines available], even if to be fully vaccinated they would require two doses of a vaccine.’

‘I want to reassure the business community that there is no intention to stop commercial flights.’

The airline also clarified that unvaccinated people can still travel on PNG Air as long as they ‘fill out Air Passenger Travel Forms (APTF) at the Sales Office and the Health Declaration Form upon arrival at your destination.’

International passengers, however, must be fully vaccinated and provide a certificate.

Controller explains move

National Pandemic Response Controller, David Manning, said that the new measurements, which were made in consultation with the private sector, are aimed at trying to prevent the potential spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant in PNG.

He explained the new measures come at less cost than a wave of the Delta strain, which is more infectious than previous strains.

Manning reassured the business community:

‘I want to reassure the business community that there is no intention to stop commercial flights as these measures are aimed at reducing the risk that comes with incoming passenger arrivals.

‘Maintaining international flight connections is particularly important for our economic recovery.’

Government explains move

Prime Minister Marape said that the revised measures are not a way of restricting freedom.

‘It [the new domestic travel measure] is not designed to curtail freedom of movement as a fundamental right, but a strategy to minimise the spread of the virus. It is no different to the lockdown imposed in 2020 and in early 2021,’ Marape said.

‘Controlled movement of people is the only way we can lock down parts of the country and isolate the vulnerable provinces from the incursion of the virus through domestic travel. Our people’s lives are at risk and we must take responsibility.’

To increase the number of vaccinated people, PNG has opened its vaccination program to anyone 18 years and older.


  1. Oscar Gaiari says

    I would like to ask one question, If a person who is from that province going back to his province, is he going to be vaccinated before boarding the plane back to his province?

Leave a Reply