Coronavirus cases outside of China rising: WHO

The increasing number of coronavirus disease cases outside of China is an international disaster that cannot be ignored even in Papua New Guinea where there has not been any reported cases so far.

Statistics revealed during the weekly update to media by the World Health Organisation representative in PNG are alarming.

Dr. Luo Dapeng says PNG is at a high risk now because statistics have shown that the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outside of China is faster than within China in recent weeks.

“As of 10am Geneva time, on 1st of March, their office in China they report 79,968 cases of coronavirus 19 to WHO including 2,873 deaths. In the past 24 hours, China reported 579 cases.

“Outside of China there are now 7,169 cases in 58 countries and 104 deaths. Five new countries; Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Ireland, Monaco and Qatar have reported coronavirus 19 in past 24 hours. In last three consecutive days, the number of confirmed cases reported outside of China is more than those reported inside of China.”

The most common symptoms include fever, dry cough, shortness of breath and 80 percent of the patients experience mild disease, approximately 14 percent experience severe disease and 5 percent critically ill.

“WHO calls all member states to be ready. Here in Papua New Guinea specifically, we must be prepared, ready for first cases or worse scenario. We must ensure our isolation unit is ready for the confirmed cases here in Port Moresby as well as other major hospitals in the country. 

“We need to ensure macro oxygen, ventilators and other vital equipment.

“Our health workers must be trained. We must ensure equipment in place that we ensure to keep our health worker safe.”

(Dr. Luo Dapeng, right, with Acting Health Secretary, Dr. Paison Dakulala)

Frieda Kana