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HomeCOVID-19Papua New Guinea’s pandemic leadership is an inspiration to us all.

Papua New Guinea’s pandemic leadership is an inspiration to us all.


WHEN I find myself arguing with pro-mandate Australians in social media comment sections (tragic, I know) I get the impression that they desperately want the last couple of years they’ve squandered to have been worthwhile.

Australia’s official Covid-19 death rate happens to be low by international standards, which makes it easier for the Dan Andrews fanboys to delude themselves that the sick cruelty they inflicted on their fellow citizens was justified.

For a recap, this cruelty includes but is not limited to: 

  • Prolonged mass house arrest
  • Vaccine passports;
  • Vaccine injuries and deaths in individuals (often young and not at serious risk from Covid) who were coerced into getting it;
  • The four newborn babies in South Australia who died after domestic Covid-19 travel restrictions prevented them from being transferred for specialist life-saving emergency treatment in Victoria;
  • In Western Australia, the prevention of unvaccinated parents from visiting their sick children in hospital.

If I were Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, I would not want to admit that I pointlessly stole two years of quality life from my citizens and presided over state policies that killed people.

‘Australians have made many sacrifices during this pandemic . . . together we have achieved one of the lowest death rates in the world,’ he says.

Achieved? Everywhere in the Oceania region has a low death rate by global standards. When will Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape be praised for his inspirational leadership? PNG is Australia’s immediate neighbour (and the only other country on Earth with kangaroos), yet has a lower Covid-19 death rate than does Oz.

Could that be because of the success of PNG’s vaccination rollout? Did they herd the sheep through the gate, so to speak?

Vaccination rate for Australia (at least one dose): 85 per cent

Vaccination rate for PNG (at least one dose): 3.4 per cent

Since we are allowed to compare Sweden only with its neighbours, it’s only fair that the same rules must apply to everyone. I assume vaccine passports aren’t really a thing in PNG. But they seem to be coping without them.

Covid-19 deaths per million for Australia: 193

Covid-19 deaths per million for PNG: 69

Most countries in Europe have relatively high death rates, though the few nations that had extremely low death rates (Norway and Finland) did not have the strictest measures. Lockdown-rejecting Sweden’s death rate is firmly in Europe’s lower half. 

At present, the UK is the least restricted country in Europe, possibly in the developed world, and has been since July 2021, yet our (questionably recorded) Covid-19 death rate is only the 22nd highest in Europe, currently slightly lower than that of Italy, which has vaccine passports, vaccine mandates and compulsory surgical masks.

What would Australia’s death rate be were it somehow squeezed into the North Atlantic or continental Europe? We cannot know.

This appeared on the Harry Dougherty Blog on February 24, 2022, and is republished by kind permission. 

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Harry Dougherty
Harry Dougherty
Harry Dougherty is a journalist and writer.

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