Adventist Aviation Services (AAS) in Papua New Guinea has ceased operations until at least June 1, 2020.
AAS Quality and Safety manager Colin Dunn said the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak had significantly impacted the operation.
“With the South Pacific Division banning all ex-pat travel, the Australian government calling all citizens home and shutting down most overseas travel, along with many airlines canceling or severely restricting flights, and Papua New Guinea banning all except specialized personnel who it needs to function from entering [the country], AAS can no longer operate,” Dunn said.
A skeleton staff continues to work in accounts and security and to provide basic care for the hangar and aircraft.
Dunn has asked for prayers for the staff impacted by the shutdown.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 outbreak continues to cause disruptions across the South Pacific Division (SPD), including at Fulton College, in Fiji, which commenced an extended mid-semester break on Wednesday, March 25, encouraging all students to return home if they were able.
The administration and staff at Fulton have been in constant contact with authorities in Higher Education, the Department of Education, the Trans-Pacific Union Mission, and local authorities in developing their response plan.
On campus, the staff continues to supervise approximately 170 students from across the Pacific, as well as students who cannot go home because of the Lautoka exclusion zone. This situation has been endorsed by the government, as each student has his or her own room. Access to the college is restricted to essential services, and visitors are granted entry only if they receive approval by college administration.
All residents on campus have been instructed on preventative measures that include proper hygiene, boosting immune systems, getting exercise, rehydrating, and applying anxiety-reducing practices, including prayer and maintaining their shared sense of community.
In Vanuatu, the country’s president, Obed Moses Tallis, declared a State of Emergency on March 26, which closed all churches. Members are now worshiping in their homes. The Vanuatu Mission office closed until April 14.
Also, on March 26, the South Queensland Conference Executive Committee announced the cancellation of its annual Big Camp for 2020. Although the event is not scheduled until September, the decision was made in light of the significant preparation time required by staff and volunteers, and current directives from federal and state representatives to actively prevent the spread of the virus.