Covid delta strain reaches PNG via cargo ship from Indonesia

Dr Daoni
PNG's Dr Esorom Daoni ... “Daru Hospital has lost three people to covid-19 in less than two weeks." Image: Loop PNG

By Godwin Eki in Port Moresby

Papua New Guinea has been hit with a positive delta variant case of covid-19 for the first time, Deputy Pandemic Controller Dr Esorom Daoni has confirmed.

Dr Daoni said the case was confirmed around 9am yesterday after lab results had been sent back to Port Moresby from Melbourne, Australia.

A 65-year-old Filipino, captain of the cargo ship Grand Tajima, contracted the delta variant after leaving Indonesia for Papua New Guinea on June 26.

“We are grateful that procedures were followed when the ship docked and we managed to keep all crew including the captain under quarantine and do testing. The result, a positive case of the delta variant,” Dr Daoni said.

“We also got the rest of the crew to be tested for covid-19 and tested positive. Six people tested positive, including the captain, who is the only person to have tested positive to the delta variant,” Dr Daoni said.

He said the man departed on board his ship from the Indonesian province of Kalimantan, heading for PNG, and became unwell while at sea. The ship arrived in Port Moresby on July 7.

“We are keeping everyone in isolation and closely monitoring them. The 65-year-old is currently at the Pacific International Hospital while the others who tested positive to covid-19 are also in isolation facilities,” said Dr Daoni.

Dr Daoni said that out of the 14 crew members, 6 were positive cases, one of whom is the ship’s captain, who was the only one confirmed positive case with the delta variant, while the other 5 tested positive to covid-19 — two seriously ill.

“We are now going to have to do what we can for the safety of the general public, and like we said throughout, citizens are encouraged to follow the covid-19 protocol,” he said.

“We know the delta variant is a serious case and we must start to take extra precautions.

As we know, the delta variant has really hit hard international countries where many have lost their lives. I am encouraging everyone to get their covid-19 shots and please look after yourselves,” said Dr Daoni.

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