We received the following on 25th March from our mission partners Charlene, Israel and Miles Neale working with MAF in Papua New Guinea (PNG):
“Things here were pretty normal until about a week ago. A 45-year old male travelling from Europe to PNG arrived in Morseby and travelled down to Lae. The next day he went to the hospital with signs of the virus. A test was done and it came back postive. This is now the first positive case here in PNG.
“As a result the PM has put a 14 day lock down on the country as of yesterday. No travel across provincial borders, no domestic flights and no international travellers are allowed to come into the country. All schools are closed as are markets and any large gatherings. It’s pretty strict with the army posted at borders to ensure no passenger vehicles cross over. However, it’s needed here as the health care system would not be able to cope with an outbreak. As you can imagine hospitals are few and far between and there are an estimated 20,000 people to one doctor.
“MAF are no longer flying, after the ban is lifted we may be able to do restricted operations where we can take medical and essential supplies, as well as continue with Medivacs but at the moment it’s all unknown. Some MAF staff have been evacuated to Australia so the team is almost down to half. For those of us that remain we have been placed on lock down in our compounds. Things are pretty quiet and there is an evacuation plan in place. However, as we do not have a passport for Reuben yet (and we wouldn’t be able to obtain one easily) we would not be willing to leave the country. (Ed: Reuben is a local child, just coming up to one year old, whom Charlene and Israel are in the process of adopting).
“Today the PM announced 21 days of fasting and prayer against the corona virus, so we are joining in with the rest of the nation. Please keep us in prayer durning this time. We are reminded in Joshua 1:9 to not be afraid: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
“So we continue to trust in God during uncertain times. Every blessing.”