PM extends sympathy to affected Chinese families

Prime Minister James Marape has extended his condolence and sympathy to the family and relatives of those who lost their lives to the novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

The Prime Minister extended his condolence and sympathy as Papua New Guinea authorities, led by the National Department of Health and in close collaboration with the World Health Organization, mobilise manpower of health professionals to enable the surveillance of the risk in PNG.

The Prime Minister said the WHO has now declared the 2019-nCov as a global emergency and as Papua New Guinea’s geographical position puts it at a high risk area, the National Department of Health is keeping a close eye on the situation through situation reports they receive from the WHO twice on a weekly basis.

“All nationalities wishing to travel to Papua New Guinea from Wuhan, Hubei Province, will not be uplifted until further notice and person(s) travelling in from affected countries are encouraged to get medical clearance before travelling to Papua New Guinea.

“At this time, there is no reported case(s) in the country and the NDoH has now set screening stations at the airport for passengers arriving from countries that are affected by the virus.

“All vessels coming through the sea ports will be redirected to Port Moresby for screening before continuing to their destinations and screenings will also be done at our land border with Indonesia,” Prime Minister Marape said.

“People who are travelling in from not only China, especially from Wuhan, the epicentre of the 2019-nCov, and via other ports and from other countries that have reported cases, are urged to call into the screening stations for assistance.

“If you are experiencing respiratory symptoms, fever, cough and shortness of breath, call into the NDoH help desk or screening station for further assistance or call the hotline (+675) 7196 0813.

“The NDoH has a rapid response team on standby to take you to a hospital for thorough screening and treatment of the symptoms.

“People who do not show symptoms at this time are encouraged to self-isolate for 14 days and give your details to the team at the airport, seaports or border posts so that the rapid response team can do twice weekly checks on you during your 14 days of isolation.

“If you have not given your details to the screening teams at the airport, sea ports and land border stations, call the NDoH hotline for assistance.

“Should we have a severe case in the country, the rapid response team will be deployed to take the affected person to be quarantined and treated at the Port Moresby General Hospital.”

The Prime Minister further added that the Government is also very much concerned about Papua New Guinea citizens either living, studying or working in affected countries around the world therefore the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have set up a help desk to assist families in Papua New Guinea find out what is happening on the ground.

He said the Department is maintaining contact with those who are in China through the PNG Embassy and the Embassy of China here in Port Moresby.

Prime Minister Marape said the World Health Organization is working with medical research institutions all over the world to understand 2019-nCoV and start to put in place measures to stop it spreading and taking lives. In the meantime, Papua New Guineans, residents and visitors are encouraged to practice good hygiene and educate their children to practice it as well.

“Frequently wash your hands after ablutions, before you eat and cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing,” he said.

The Prime Minister said because the virus is new, current measures in place by the NDoH and WHO will evolve as technical experts understand more about the virus.

(The health desk at the international terminal building at Jackson’s International Airport)

Press release