Adventist Aviation Services (AAS) in Papua New Guinea has ceased operations until at least June 1.
AAS Quality and Safety manager Pastor Colin Dunn said the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak had significantly impacted the operation.
“With the South Pacific Division banning all expat travel, the Australian government calling all citizens home and shutting down most overseas travel, along with many airlines cancelling or severely restricting flights, and PNG banning all except specialised personnel who it needs to function from entering [the country], AAS can no longer operate,” he said.
A skeleton staff continues to work in accounts, security and to provide basic care for the hangar and aircraft.
Pastor Dunn has asked for prayers for the staff impacted by the shutdown.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 outbreak continues to cause disruptions across the Division, including at Fulton College (Fiji), which commenced an extended mid-semester break on Wednesday, March 25, encouraging all students who were able to, to return home.
The administration and staff at Fulton have been in constant contact with authorities in Higher Education, the Department of Education, Trans Pacific Union Mission leadership and other local authorities in developing their response plan.
On campus, the staff continue to supervise approximately 170 students from across the Pacific, as well as students who cannot go home due to the Lautoka exclusion zone. This situation has been endorsed by the government as each student has their own room. Access to the college is restricted to essential services and visitors will only be granted entry if they receive approval by college administration.
All residents on campus have been instructed on preventative measures that include 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 has closed all churches. Members are now worshipping in their homes. The Vanuatu Mission office is 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 all staff and volunteers, and current directives from federal and state representatives to actively prevent the spread of the virus.