Cigna International Health Insurance

Papua New Guinea Travel Warning

Issued by U.S. Department of State

Apr 09, 2019

Exercise increased caution in Papua New Guinea due to crime, civil unrest, a polio outbreak, the aftermath of an earthquake, and kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Reconsider Travel to:

  • Areas near the Panguna mine in Bougainville due to civil unrest.
  • The Highlands region due to the long-term effects of an earthquake in February 2018, and civil unrest.

Violent crime, such as gang-rape, carjacking, home invasions, kidnappings, and armed robberies, is common. Tensions between communal or clan groups may result in violence at any time without warning. Police presence is limited outside of the capital Port Moresby, and police may be unable to assist due to limited resources.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a Level 2 Travel Notice for Papua New Guinea regarding the recent outbreak of vaccine derived poliovirus in the Morobe Province. The CDC has additional information and advice on the outbreak. Travelers who have received all the routine childhood polio vaccinations as well as a single booster dose of polio vaccine as an adult have essentially no risk of infection with this vaccine derived polio that is circulating in Papua New Guinea. Malaria, tuberculosis, zika, HIV and other infectious diseases are also present.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside of Port Moresby due to limited transportation infrastructure, and U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization before traveling to areas of concern, including Bougainville.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Papua New Guinea:

  • Visit the CDC Travelers Health Page.
  • Avoid using local taxis or buses, known as public motor vehicles or PMVs.
  • Travel with guides from a reputable tour company, particularly if you plan to hike.
  • Avoid walking or driving at night.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Papua New Guinea.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Areas Near the Panguna Mine - Level 3: Reconsider Travel

The Autonomous Government of Bougainville has designated areas near the mine as “no go zones" due to the risk of violence and civil unrest. Bougainville police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside of Port Moresby due to limited transportation infrastructure, and U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization before traveling to areas of concern, including Bougainville.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

The Highlands Region - Level 3: Reconsider Travel

An earthquake has damaged infrastructure and disrupted local services. There is a risk of tribal violence in the region.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside of Port Moresby due to limited transportation infrastructure, and U.S. government employees must obtain special authorization before traveling to areas of concern, including Bougainville.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to the Risk Indicators.

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