Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Health system overpowered

This was the point that National Pandemic Controller, David Manning, and Secretary for Health, Dr Osborne Liko, wanted to get across to citizens at yesterday’s COVID-19 media briefing.

Dr Liko said in just seven days, the number of reported cases of COVID-19 soared at almost 50 percent between Saturday March 20th and Saturday March 27th, 2021.

“Within seven days we had 2,394 reported cases. The number of deaths increased to 49 in seven days,” said the Health Secretary.

COVID-19 patient passes in Lae

Of the recently announced three new cases, Morobe Provincial Health Authority CEO, Dr Kipas Binga, said one of them was ‘quite sick’ whilst the other two were asymptomatic.

Compounded with other medical conditions, his state worsened.

“It was not a straightforward COVID-19 case,” said Dr Binga.

COVID-19 and challenges to PNG’s aviation industry

Despite domestic routes being open for travel, both domestic and especially international travel to and from PNG has been significantly affected.

On 22 May 2020, the state-owned airline, Air Niugini, through its subsidiary Link PNG, submitted a proposal to the PNG consumer watchdog, the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC), to acquire about 40 percent of shares in its rival, PNG Air. These were shares held by the superannuation fund Nasfund, which had agreed to sell them to Link PNG.

NCD curfew lifted

This was among a number of changes which became effective as of October 3 when the Controller revoked the previous measures and reissued 12 new measures.

Effective October 3:

Dr Esorom apologises for naming wrong school

Dr Esorom said yesterday the student was in isolation at the Rita Flynn Isolation Centre however, he has retracted that statement.

He confirmed the student is from the Port Moresby International School while the teacher is from the St Joseph’s International Catholic College.

“I sincerely apologise for the wrong information naming Port Moresby Grammar School as having a student testing positive. I apologise also for causing stress and anxiety amongst students, teachers and parents.

Morobe COVID-19 update

The Morobe Provincial Health Authority has reported that over the past two weeks, all samples that have been sent for testing have returned negative. This means those tested do not have coronavirus.

“Although coronavirus has been detected in Morobe Province, it is important to remember that most people who contract the illness will only experience mild symptoms and they will get better,” stated the MPHA.

“Take care of our friends and families who catch coronavirus; they need our support.”

(A mobile health clinic at the Wampar LLG, Morobe Province)

No new cases reported on Aug 24

However, there are 1,552 samples for COVID-19 at the laboratories waiting to be tested and results to be made known.

NCD still records the highest number of confirmed cases.

Meanwhile, the National Department of Health is developing specific guidelines on how to manage COVID-19 in pregnant women. This follows the confirmation of a 25-year-old pregnant woman with COVID-19 on Sunday. She was one of the 3 cases reported on that day.

No COVID-19 vaccine trial approved: Minister

“I have fielded questions over the last couple of days about trials being carried out in Papua New Guinea,” said Health and HIV/AIDS Minister, Jelta Wong.

“Firstly, let me say that any trial that could potentially be rolled out in Papua New Guinea must first be tabled and scrutinised by the Medical Research Advisory Committee (MRAC) through the National Department of Health. 

Over 50 new COVID-19 cases announced

Out of these cases, 38 are from Western Province while the rest is from the National Capital District.

“The new cases are linked to community transmission in NCD and a cluster of cases at the Ok Tedi mine,” said Pandemic Response Controller, David Manning.

Of the total cases, 221 are from NCD, 85 from Western Province, 5 from Morobe, 1 from West Sepik, 1 from Southern Highlands, 1 from New Ireland, 5 from Central, 2 from East New Britain, 1 from Eastern Highlands and 1 from the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

Health authority confirms Lae’s new case

The Morobe Provincial Health Authority confirmed that the 53-year-old woman works for a government agency in Lae.

She returned from overseas travel to Lae on the 17th of July.

“The person has been contacted as has her employer,” said the PHA.

“The Morobe PHA rapid response team is currently providing support to the new case, screening her close contacts and commencing contact tracing and support.”

The woman is among the 26 new cases reported on Sunday, August 9th.