Govt yet to pinpoint origin of COVID-19 transmission

The Government is yet to establish where the East New Britain woman contracted the coronavirus disease.

In a media briefing this afternoon, Police Minister Bryan Kramer said the 40-year-old developed flu-like symptoms on March 19th, where she received antibiotic treatment from the Nonga General Hospital.

“She was responding to the treatment and was therefore released,” stated Kramer. “And then she came back again after a few more days, on the 21st, had further symptoms. She admitted herself again, received antibiotics, responded to the antibiotics and then was discharged from the hospital back to her home.”

Kramer said during that period, she was identified as a person of interest due to the symptoms she was exhibiting, hence samples were taken and sent for testing.

“She was actually one of the persons who were carrying out COVID-19 awareness. So you will see on some pictures on social media of her wearing a facemask. Again, because she was doing awareness. So this wasn’t someone who was confirmed positive and was roaming around the community.

“There was also another photo of her circulating with a famous Irish singer, Ronan Keating. He visited in September 2019; it has no connection to that case.

“So at this stage we are unable to confirm where she could have possibly contracted COVID-19,” Kramer continued.

“A team was dispatched last night (April 6) and another team was dispatched today to run contact tracing.

“In the meantime, she is in somewhat good health. Other than dry cough, she has indicated that there is no symptom of fever. She is an asthmatic so obviously she visits the hospital from time to time to get medication.

“She is isolated at home and the team will go run further testing, isolate her, run tests on her family and every person that she has come into contact with.”

The ENB case is PNG’s first local transmission while the index patient – an individual affected with the first known case of an infectious disease (Merriam-Webster) – is yet to be confirmed.

Kramer says hopefully in the next couple of days in running contact tracing, they will be able to pinpoint the origin of the transmission.

Carmella Gware