Papua New Guinea’s new travel measures highlight importance of COVID-19 vaccination


Commissioner of Police and Controller of the Papua New Guinea COVID-19 National Pandemic Response, David Manning, has issued new measures that affect business travel and gatherings. Here’s what you need to know.


Just a few days after revealing 11 new measures to try to curve the spread of COVID-19 in PNG, Manning has issued new rules for domestic and international travel.

In a significant change, fully vaccinated travellers coming from non-high-risk countries can enter PNG without quarantine, provided they test negative for COVID-19. The move opens up the potential for more business travel, although not tourism as yet. The only high risk countries so far named are the Philippines and India.

International travel

International travel conditions now include the following:

  1. All international travellers must take a COVID test upon arrival. If the test is positive, the traveller must ‘complete 14-day isolation immediately’ and at their own cost.
  2. A pre-flight COVID test with negative result is mandatory for all passengers, despite their vaccination status. ‘Only Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) shall be accepted’.
  3. ‘No person is permitted to enter PNG on a tourist visa,’ unless they have an exemption in writing from the Controller.
  4. Persons who haven’t been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are not permitted to ‘board and aircraft bound for PNG or otherwise enter PNG’. This does not apply to people under the age of 18 and to PNG citizens or permanent residents.
  5. Travel exemptions obtained in accordance to these measures are valid for 60 days from the date of approval and can be used only once.
  6. Persons who test positive to COVID-19 on arrival must quarantine at their own cost. Details of the quarantine ‘shall be conducted on a case-by-case basis.’
  7. Citizens and permanent residents who haven’t been vaccinated or are not fully vaccinated, or who have been in a designated high-risk country must quarantine at a designated place and be monitored through an approved tracking device for the duration of the isolation period.
  8. Foreign staff who haven’t been vaccinated and are travelling on a diplomatic travel document or diplomatic passport must quarantine ‘at an appropriate residence for the period beginning on the day of arrival and ending at midnight on the twenty first day after arrival in PNG.’
  9. Persons who refuse to be tested for COVID-19 must quarantine for an additional 14 days.
  10. All passengers must present an e-Health declaration form barcode, proof of vaccination (not applicable for citizens or permanent residents) and the approved international air passenger travel form at check-in.

The new measures can be found here.

Domestic travel

All people travelling domestically must:

Story continues after advertisment...
  1. Have their temperature checked by the airline staff before boarding. People who register a temperature at 37.5 degrees Celsius or above will not be allowed to board the flight.
  2. No person may travel if they are symptomatic for COVID-19.
  3. All passengers must follow hygiene and physical distancing rules.
  4. All passengers must wear a face mask in the terminal and during the duration of the flight.
  5. All passengers have to complete a National Department of Health form that must be submitted to the Provincial Health Authority on arrival.
  6. Each province, at its discretion, may require arrivals to be tested for COVID-19.
  7. Those who refuse to be tested must quarantine for 14 days.
  8. People may not travel in or out of high-risk provinces, except for those who have a valid reason for travelling, such as seeking medical treatment.

As of 28 September, there are three high risk provinces in PNG: West Sepik, Eastern Highlands and Western Province.

Gatherings and masks

Nambawan Super

Nambawan Super staff.

The Controller has made mandatory the use of face mask in public spaces including business, markets, schools, public transport and aircrafts.

Gatherings or events of over 20 people have been banned from 30 September to 30 October. The restriction includes sporting competitions and religious activities. All approvals granted for events or gatherings between these dates are now revoked.

Public or private organisation wishing to host events or gathering of more than 20 people must request permission in writing, copying the Deputy Controller and attention to the Niupela Pasin team.

As of 27 September, there are 185,605 people vaccinated in PNG.


  1. Joel Wapele says

    Religious and church gathering should be allowed with strict mask and social distancing. We cannot stop worshipping God.

  2. Ange Amon says

    It is very disappointing that tourism is not included in the new measures, and that tourists are not allowed to enter the country, even if fully vaccinated. The world is keen to travel, and they are keen to visit PNG! The tourism industry, and by default other industries, have been suffering big time since the virus hit, probably more than other industries, and operators cannot keep their businesses alive for much longer. We own & operate a diving resort 20 minutes out of Kavieng, and we are one of a handful employers around these islands. We not only employ staff at the resort, but we purchase produce (seafood, veggies, fruit etc.), building materials and more, so lots of communities are affected.

    • Kilian Adani says

      Valid points Amon. Very frustrating

      • Ange Amon says

        Thanks Kilian. A good number of people don’t understand the trickle-on effect that tourism income has. Again, it’s not just the owner of the business, but everyone around them that make that tourism business work – the fishermen and women who bring locally, sustainably caught fresh fish to serve our guests; the folks at the market, where we buy garden produce to serve to our guests; the arts & crafts people, who sell souvenirs to our guests; the supermarket in Kavieng, where we buy further groceries, and the list goes on and on.
        And then we have the big companies:
        * Puma/Islands Petroleum – No guests for us means no divers, that means boats don’t go out, which means we buy way less fuel than we traditionally do when we have a full house. Puma/Islands Petroleum have a loss of income.
        * Banking – The vast majority of our guests pay by credit card. CC fee to the banks have dwindled big time.
        And again, the list goes on.

Leave a Reply