Spate of PNG covid-19 cases include national pandemic chief

SOE Controller David Manning
PNG's National Pandemic Controller David Manning ... "don't be afraid" of covid-19. Image: EMTV News

By RNZ News

Papua New Guinea’s covid-19 cases have jumped to more than 1000, including the National Pandemic Controller and members of his family.

Eight new covid-19 cases were reported in the country over the weekend taking the country’s number of infections to 1056.

The latest cases were reported in East New Britain, Madang and in the National Capital District.

Ages ranged from an infant of five months old to a 43-year-old woman.

The eight new infections follow 59 positive results reported on Friday.

Ten cases out of the total have resulted in fatalities while 200 people are currently in isolation.

Seventeen provinces, including the Autonomous Region of Bougainville (AROB,) have reported covid cases.

Pandemic controller has covid-19
PNG’s Pandemic Response Controller David Manning is one of those people who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Two members of Manning’s family have also tested positive and are in isolation.

Manning said his covid results were confirmed over the weekend.

He said given the nature of his job and with the high level of exposure to the infection it was bound to happen sooner or later.

Manning said he had always been impressing upon citizens the need for covid-19 tests so that they could know their status and protect their family.

“I have been telling people to be tested for covid-19 and as the Controller I had to take the test. I am glad I did, so I am now taking measures to protect my family.

“I urge everyone to go to your nearest health centre and get tested. It is by knowing your status you can then take steps to protect your loved ones, especially the most vulnerable including the old and those with existing medical conditions,” Manning said.

Covid ‘not a death sentence’
He told the public not to be be afraid, saying although covid-19 was five times worse than getting the normal flu, testing positive for the coronavirus was not a death sentence.

“Statistics have indicated most people have recovered from covid-19.”

Meanwhile, Manning expressed serious concerns about the low number of covid-19 tests being done in PNG.

“Our covid-19 response is more than 12 months in place but we have only tested about 50,000 people. This is roughly 0.5 percent of the PNG population.

“I want to see more tests being done around the country so that we can have a fair idea of where the pandemic is in PNG and take measures to mitigate and contain it.”

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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