COVID-19 in Papua New Guinea: information, expert commentary and media

At the time of writing (1/5/2020), there are currently 8 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) in four provinces in PNG.  So far we have not seen evidence of a rapid spread of this very contagious virus across the country. Testing levels are low and it is unlikely that the country will be spared from the pandemic.  When the virus begins to spread within PNG, it will be difficult to contain given the poor health infrastructure in the country and the limited capacity of the state. Its spread and impact will highlight the capacity of households to respond and adapt their livelihood and farming systems to the pandemic and how social and economic inequalities within communities structure levels of vulnerability. Those living in high density informal settlements within the major towns and cities seem particularly vulnerable.

Health workers going on patrol in New Ireland

Over the next few months, in an attempt to keep people informed on the spread of COVID 19 in PNG and its impacts, we will provide links to websites and articles that provide useful and relevant information. The content and views expressed in these articles are those of the authors, and not those of the Pacific Livelihoods Research Group. 


WHO. (2020). COVID-19 preparedness & response in Papua New Guinea.

PNG National Operation Centre for COVID-19. (2020). Official COVID-19 website.

The link below is for the ANU’s Development Policy Centre’s coverage of COVID-19 in the Pacific, and contains numerous blogs on the subject.

ANU. (2020). COVID-19 and the Pacific.

ANU. (2020, July 10). Pacific security: A guide to resources available from ANU library related to Pacific security.

Eriksson, H., Ride, A., Notere Boso, D., Sukulu, M., Batalofo, M., Siota, F. & Gomese, C. (2020, July 7). Changes and adaptations in village food systems in Solomon Islands: A rapid appraisal during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ewart, R. (2020, June 23). Antibody test results in PNG raise concerns about true COVID-19 case numbers.

Kopel, E. (2020, June 12). The impact of COVID-19 on livelihoods in Papua New Guinea.

Maclellan, N. (2020, June 11). Smart harvest: Pacific islanders are responding to disruptions to food security with cultural solidarity and new technology.

Sanderson, T., Chapman, G., Walker, D. & Horne, P. (2020, May 18). Food systems security, resilience and emerging risks in the Indo-Pacific in the context of COVID-19: a rapid assessment.

Kabuni, M. (2020, May). COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Papua New Guinea: the state of emergency cannot fix years of negligence.

Goro, J. (2020, May). The impact of coronavirus pandemic on access to public transport in Papua New Guinea.

Hukula, F. (2020, May). The potential impact of COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable groups.

Kopel, E. (2020, May). The impact of COVID-19 on livelihoods in the informal economy in Papua New Guinea.

Henderson, K., & Kakinuma Hassan, A. (2020, May 5). Responding to COVID-19 in PNG: NGOs and health workers.

ABC Saturday Extra. (2020, May 2). PNG and coronavirus.

Fainu, K. (2020, April 30). We were behind the eight ball: Papua New Guinea’s health minister on COVID-19.

Phillips, G., & Cox, M. (2020, April 28). COVID-19 and emergency care in the Pacific.

Clarke, M. (2020, April 28). Coronavirus could see Papua New Guinea, Indonesia become failed states. ABC.

Bourke, M., & Kanua, M. (2020, April 21). Potential response to COVID-19 in PNG: support for food production.

Minnegal, M., & Dwyer, P.  (2020, April 16). God, health and COVID-19 in remote Papua New Guinea.

Fainu, K. (2020, April 11). ‘We have nothing’: Papua New Guinea’s broken health system braces for COVID-19.

Forsyth, M., & Peake, G. (2020, April 8).  Thinking collectively, acting individually: governance in a time of COVID-19.

Maclellan, N. (2020, March 25).  “God will protect us, but he still wants us to wash our hands!”

Allen, B. (2020).  Coronavirus COVID-19 in Papua New Guinea.

Health clinic in remote Western Province, PNG. 1.
Health clinic in remote Western Province, PNG. 2.
Health clinic in remote Western Province, PNG. 3.
Health clinic in remote Western Province, PNG. 4.
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