Papua New Guinea announces new COVID-19 restrictions for national and international travel


Amidst an increase in COVID-19 cases, the Police Commissioner and Controller of the Papua New Guinea National Pandemic Response, David Manning, has announced changes to national and international travel.

The new measures affect social and business travel and came into effect on 15 September. Manning said the new measures have been drawn taking into consideration the continuous threat of COVID-19 whilst at the same time ensuring continuity and normalcy in all facets of life.

Some of the key measures affecting international travel are:

  • The quarantine periods are now seven days for incoming travellers who are fully vaccinated; and 14 days quarantine for partially vaccinated individuals.
  • Children under 18 years of age travelling with parents (or a guardian) will be quarantined for the same period as the parent or guardian. Unaccompanied minors will be assessed on a case-by case basis.
  • PNG citizens and permanent residents who haven’t been vaccinated must quarantine for 21 days on arrival. Foreign nationals who are not vaccinated will not be allowed entry into PNG.
  • Approvals to arrive in PNG will be valid for 60 days instead of 90 days.
  • Approvals to enter PNG will not be provided to people travelling ‘for the purpose of holidaying, vacationing or a similar activity.’
  • People travelling to PNG must have a valid COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to their original port of departure.
  • All people arriving in PNG must be tested upon arrival and while in quarantine. The cost of the test may be passed onto the individual by the quarantine facility. 
  • Individuals who refuse to be tested will need to quarantine for an additional 14 days.

Additionally, all charter flights must have the Controller’s written approval, in addition to the normal approvals.

Regarding domestic flights, policies are as follows:

  • No person may travel if they are symptomatic.
  • Travellers need to abide to the hygiene and physical distancing restrictions issued by the Controller.
  • Passengers must complete a National Department of Health form.
  • All domestic passengers need to have their temperature checked by the airline staff before boarding. People who register 37.5 degrees of above will not be allowed to fly.

A copy of the statement can be found here.

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Pandemic Controller David Manning. Credit: Joint Agency Task Force

Most PNG provinces have been classified as ‘medium risk’ due to concerns around the spread of COVID-19. Western Province and West Sepik (Sandaun) Province, however, were classified as ‘high-risk’ on 14 September.

He stated that in medium risk provinces, gatherings of up to 100 people are allowed. In high-risk provinces a ban has been placed on gatherings of more than 20 people

The nationwide ban on the sale of alcohol on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays remains in place.

Although there have been rumours about a possible lockdown next month, this hasn’t been confirmed.

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