Over 5,000 testing cartridges received

Over 5,000 GeneXpert SARS-CoV-2 cartridges were handed to the PNG Government recently by the U.S. Ambassador to PNG, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, Erin McKee.

Through its COVID-19 Response, implemented by FHI 360, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide the GeneXpert cartridges to health facilities in Port Moresby to assist with COVID-19 patient identification and nationwide testing data.

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the PNG government has only tested 131,712 citizens, roughly one percent of the estimated population of nine million, since the pandemic began.

Despite low testing rates, epidemiological monitoring based on available surveillance data indicates that widespread community transmission is likely occurring across PNG.

While reiterating the U.S. government’s commitment to support PNG’s fight against COVID-19, Ambassador McKee also encouraged citizens to get vaccinated to protect themselves from the disease.

“The U.S. government continues to support the Department of Health’s vaccine deployment efforts across the country to address vaccine hesitancy, increase demand, and ensure no dose of this critical vaccine is wasted.

“I encourage all Papua New Guineans to get the vaccine to protect yourself, your family and your wantok,” Ambassador McKee said.

To date, the U.S. government, through USAID, has provided $35 million in direct COVID-19 relief and recovery assistance to the Pacific Islands region, including PNG.

Press release