Healthcare. Papua New Guinea press review
In Papua New Guinea, the 8th case of COVID-19 has been reported in a woman from the Eastern Highlands Province. As said State of Emergency Controller David Manning, the 45-year-old woman was admitted at the Asaro Health Centre after developing a fever and complained of body aches and shortness of breath. On April 17, her samples were collected and sent to the PNG Institute of Medical Research in Goroka. Her test result which came back on Tuesday showed that she was positive. The Asaro Health Centre is currently locked down for disinfection. Staff have been advised to home-quarantine themselves.
Speaking about measures to counter the spread of COVID-19, the following measures have been taken in Papua New Guinea:
– Public motor vehicles will start operating on the 25th of April. Taxis should carry a maximum of three passengers at any one time. Hon. James Marape also announces about a number of recommendations that will go before Cabinet of Ministers.
– Domestic flights are to resume but only to provinces where there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19. Air Niugini is currently operating regular flights to all destinations throughout PNG except for the border ports of Daru, Kiunga, Tabubil , Vanimo, Wewak, Buka, Kieta and also Tokua/Rabaul. Air Niugini is operating only limited flights to these eight airports based on the Controller’s approval to assist with the repatriation of residents and movement of freight.
– All ships may berth and unload cargoes only. No passenger is allowed to disembark and no one is allowed to board. At all times personal protection equipment (PPE) must be worn by crew members and port workers.
Prime Minister Hon. James Marape has announced that the 125 samples taken on 16th April 2020, have returned negative of COVID-19: « The 125 samples collected included 1 sample from the Manus Province, 3 samples from Gulf and 121 samples from the National Capital District […] Samples from the NCD includes samples from myself, the Minister for Health & HIV/AIDS Hon. Jelta Wong, Minister for Police Hon. Bryan Kramer, the State of Emergency (SoE) Controller and Police Commissioner David Manning and the Deputy SoE Controller Acting Secretary for the National Department of Health Dr. Paison Dakulala» – said Mr. Marape. Prime Minister also urged all Papua New Guineans to continue or start seriously practicing the following prevention health messages: practice hygiene, don’t go to crowded places, stay at home, practice physical distancing of 1.5 meters and so on.
The COVID-19 checkpoint at Kassam Pass section of the Highlands Highway that borders Morobe and Eastern Highlands was launched. The main purpose of checkpoint was to monitor the vehicles including cargo and people coming into the Highlands from neighbouring Madang and Morobe during the state of emergency. Eastern Highlands police personnel and health workers from the Provincial Health Authority (PHA) will be stationed at the checkpoint to conduct medical checks on passengers and drivers.
Provincial administrator Robert Kaiyun says that a platoon of PNG Defence Force soldiers are going through testing after returning from border villages where three confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported in Western Province. Apart from the soldiers, there had been 152 samples collected so far in the province from those who had close contact with the three positives cases: a 12-year-old, a man and a woman. «All these samples were sent to Brisbane, Australia on Tuesday», said Mr. Kaiyun.
Due to fear of COVID-19 infecting, 52 people from three villages along the border of Indonesia and the Telefomin district in West Sepik have left their homes and are seeking refuge at Okisai village at Frieda River in the Telefomin local level government, which is more remote from the borders.