MELBOURNE, July 27 (Reuters) - Papua New Guinea halted entry
for travellers from Monday, except those arriving by air, as it
tightens curbs against coronavirus infections that have more
than doubled over the past week.
The Pacific nation, which had escaped the infection levels
of its neighbours since the crisis escalated in March, has
recorded fresh cases every day for the past week, says data
analysis firm World Healthometer.
It had 23 new virus cases on Sunday, up from just eight
infections 10 days ago.
"These now bring the total to 62 confirmed cases of COVID-19
patients in the country, an increase of 49 in just 10 days," Dr
Paison Dakulala, deputy chief of the National Pandemic Response
team, said in a statement.
In response, authorities tightened regulations, from border
measures to quarantine and ordered the use of masks indoors in
the capital, the head of emergency services said.
"Traditional border crossing arrangements are hereby
suspended," David Manning, who is also the police chief, said in
a statement distributed on Monday but dated July 23.
PNG has banned such border travel for those from Australia,
Indonesia, the federated states of Micronesia and the Solomon
Inbound passengers must show evidence of a negative virus
test in the seven days prior to boarding an aeroplane and must
isolate themselves for 14 days on arrival.
Energy firms Exxon Mobil and Oil Search
said the outbreak had not affected operations and they had
donated safety equipment and personal protective gear.
Australian gold producer Newcrest Mining, one of
about a dozen organisations authorised to perform virus tests,
added that it had not recorded any cases among staff and had
also donated medical safety gear.
(Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus:
open https://tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.)
(Reporting by Melanie Burton and Sonali Paul; Editing by