Papua New Guinea turns back flight with Chinese workers

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Canberra: Papua New Guinea (PNG) prevented the arrival of a flight carrying Chinese workers here Friday. A Chinese company was bringing them here Friday. It said the Chinese mining company claimed to have immunised employees against COVID-19 in a vaccination trial, authorities informed Friday.

The Pacific nation’s pandemic response Controller David Manning banned COVID-19 vaccine testing or trials after Ramu NiCo Management (MCC) Ltd claimed to have vaccinated 48 Chinese employees. Manning also said he had sent back a flight carrying 180 Chinese workers Thursday as a precaution.

“In light of the lack of information of what these trials are and what possible risks or threat that it might cause our people if they were to come into the country, I had cancelled that flight yesterday just to ensure that we continue to act in the best interests of our people and our country,” Manning told reporters in the PNG capital, Port Moresby.

Manning said the National Department of Health had not approved any trials. “Any vaccines imported into PNG must be approved by NDoH and must go through vigorous vaccine trials, protocols and procedures,” he said. “They they must be pre-qualified by the World Health Organisation (WHO),” added Manning.

A document on company letterhead entitled ‘Vaccination Statement’ said 48 Chinese employees ‘have been vaccinated with SARS-COV-2 vaccine’ August 10.

The statement was sent to the Papua New Guinea Health Department and advised that the vaccine could cause false-positive test results in those who received it, The Australian newspaper reported.

Manning has written to Chinese Ambassador Xue Bing seeking ‘immediate clarification of the Chinese government’s position regarding the vaccination statement’.

Ramu is operated by Metallurgical Corp. of China, a subsidiary of state-owned China Metallurgical Group Corp.

Phone calls to Ramu’s office in the Papua New Guinea city of Madang and to the parent company’s Beijing headquarters weren’t answered.

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