Northern told to comply

Oro Provincial Administrator, Trevor Magei, has raised concerns that the people of Northern are turning a blind eye on COVID-19 protocols.

This concern was raised during a recent awareness drive conducted by the Northern Provincial Health Authority (NPHA).

Early this week, Northern reported its first three cases.

The province was one of two provinces that had zero cases until recently.

Magei said: “No one is immune to this virus and I am appealing to the people of Northern to take heed by complying to the protocols because ignorance is the main killer and not the virus itself.

“Further to this, we have a weak health system and I cannot guarantee anyone’s safety.”

Northern has flights from Port Moresby on a daily basis and the province’s coastal borders were open and unchecked, allowing travelers and traders, especially betelnut buyers from neighbouring provinces, to come in on a daily basis as well.

“Our sister provinces of Morobe, Milne Bay, Central and NCD have registered cases and the movement of people coming in from those provinces increases the risks of this virus to a much higher level.

“Community transmission is very high in our country because of our lifestyle,” he said.

“I also ask the people to come to the hospital for voluntary testing and these test results can determine our status.

“It is free and I encourage all to come.

“I also call on those that have flu like symptoms to get tested as well.

“Stigma and discrimination are issues we cannot avoid, however this virus has no boundaries and people of all classes must come forward for testing,” Magei urged.

Photo by: Popondetta General Hospital

Salome Vincent