PNG’s PM Marape tests positive for COVID-19 in Beijing, cancels France trip

James Marape

Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival in Beijing on Thursday for the opening of the Winter Games and will not be traveling to France this week for an Indo-Pacific summit, his office has said.

“Prime Minister Marape will now abort the French leg of this trip due to COVID-19 restrictions, having returned a positive test result upon arrival in Beijing last Thursday evening,” the prime minister’s office said in statement on its Facebook page.

The office added Marape was due to return to PNG on Sunday but would not disclose any further details about his condition.

According to a statement posted on the website of the PNG’s National Control Centre for COVID-19, Marape received his booster vaccination against the coronavirus on 24 January.

On Saturday, while in Beijing Marape held a virtual meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to discuss strengthening economic cooperation, Marape’s office said.

A joint statement published on China’s embassy in the United States after the meeting stated that the two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in trade, investment, energy, resources and infrastructure, among others.

His office has since said the visit was a success.

Marape was to travel from Beijing to the 9-11 February One Ocean Summit in the northwest of France on, held in the context of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, with the support of the United Nations.

Marape was also scheduled to meet France’s President Emmanuel Macron, Marape’s office said earlier in the week.