Screen NCD’s departing passengers: MPHA

The Morobe Provincial Health Authority calls for stringent measures to be put in place at Port Moresby’s departure lounge.

The CEO of the Morobe Provincial Health Authority, Dr Kipas Binga, appeals for monitoring and surveillance systems to be implemented at the Jackson’s International Airport for passengers who are leaving the city.

Dr Binga said it is now evident that those infected in outside provinces were previously in the nation’s capital.

Pastem it was just assumptions that Moresby might be infecting us,” he stated. “Now it’s no longer an assumption. It has already been documented.

“We have one case in Morobe that has come from Moresby, there’s now a reported case in West Sepik, Sandaun; it was a person who returned from Moresby and nau ol gat keis. Western Province tu wankain.”

Dr Binga suggested that a thermal imaging camera be placed at the departure lounge, similar to the one at arrivals. In this way, departing passengers can be screened and those with high temperatures can be prevented from travelling out.

“Another thing we can also think about is, every person who wishes to travel by air to other provinces must at least be a COVID-19 test negative seven days prior to them purchasing tickets to fly,” he stated. “We’re not going to stop COVID-19 – that we understand. But at least we can do something to slow that progression of this disease in the community because we just don’t know what the story will be like for Papua New Guinea. We’re just seeing the surface of the iceberg at this point in time.”

Of Morobe’s two active cases, the 37-year-old health department staff from NCD is scheduled to be released by the end of today as his recent swab result came back negative.

The 28-year-old male from Tent City, which is the province’s first local case with no travel history, is self-isolating at home and practicing all the infection prevention control measures.

The Morobe PHA collected samples from the man’s family, close contacts and work colleagues and is waiting for the results from the Goroka Institute of Medical Research laboratory.

Carmella Gware