Marape confirms five new cases of coronavirus – three near Papua

PNG Prime Minister James Marape addressing a business discussion in Port Moresby in January 2020. Image: PNG PM Media Unit

Pacific Media Centre

Papua New Guinea Prime Minister James Marape has confirmed that there are now five new cases of coronavirus in the country, three in the province bordering Papua, reports EMTV News.

This takes the total to seven people who have now been infected with the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Briefly, the seven people who have contracted the disease are all well, the Prime Minister said in a statement today.

“This includes the, first imported case, a male adult Australian mine employee who is now in Australia who [has] recovered. And the second local in the East New Britain province,” the statement said.

Details of the five new cases are as follows:

  • A 12-year-old male from Western Province.
  • A 30-year-old male from Western Province.
  • An adult female in Western Province whose age is unknown.
  • A 42-year-old female from National Capital District (NCD) – Port Moresby.
  • A 37-year-old male from East New Britain.

Western Province borders the Indonesian-ruled Melanesian province of Papua.

“All those cases were consistently positive after repeated tests,” the statement said.

“All of these people are well and under observation and in quarantine .

Patients under observation
“For the East New Britain cases, both patients are under observation and are being monitored by the East New Britain Provincial Health Authority.

“One thousand Universal Transport Medium (kits for transporting samples) and swabs for sample collection have reached Daru and 200 to Kiunga. Twenty-two cartons of assorted PPEs have been deployed to Western Province as of yesterday.

“The Rapid Response Teams are already on the ground in the Western Province and initiating the contact tracing.

“The recent case in the NCD is a member of the Joint Agency Task Force who was tested positive and since been isolated and quarantined. We have begun contact tracing as well.

“In the NCD, there are 500,000 PPEs available and 3100 UTMs. These are sufficient for the NCD.

“In the East New Britain province, 500 swabs and UTMs have been deployed with an additional 1000 on its way. 47 cartons of PPE has already been deployed to the province as well.

“For Western and East New Britain Provinces, we are emphasising on home quarantine. For this I must thank the community and their leaders for supporting the government in ensuring that this quarantine adhered to.

“As has been the norm in our previous cases we have locked down the Joint Agency Task Force National Operations Centre to carry out testing of all our staff as part of the standard operating procedures.

“To the people of PNG I urge you all to remain calm. Stop worrying and start seriously practising the health messages we have been advocating. If you faithfully observe these instructions you will protect yourself and your family and stop the spread of Covid-19.”

The prevention health messages include:

  1. Wash your hands
  2. Cover your mouth with our elbow when coughing
  3. Do not touch you mouth, nose and eyes
  4. Practise social distancing
  5. Don’t go to crowded places; and
  6. If you have no reason to move around, please stay home.
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