The federal government of Papua New Guinea stated on Tuesday it will limit motion with out imposing a full lockdown, as coronavirus infections within the Pacific nation soared.
PNG on Tuesday recorded 82 constructive instances from 91 assessments processed in a day, main the Australian state of Queensland to droop constitution flights from the OK Tedi copper and gold mine, one of many nation’s largest employers.
Of the latest 500 swabs taken from PNG residents by Australian well being staff, 250 of these got here again constructive, in line with Queensland well being officers.
James Marape, prime minister, warned that the nation’s official whole of two,269 Covid-19 instances, together with 26 deaths, was an undercount because it was based mostly on those that confirmed up for testing.
Solely 54,410 of PNG’s 9m folks have been examined, stated police Chief Superintendent Dominic Kakas, the nation’s Covid-19 job drive spokesman.
“Neighborhood transmission has taken place. It has damaged free. We have to comprise it from additional spreading,” Marape stated.
“If we don’t [take a] proactive response to this, our well being system can be clogged and we’d not be capable of maintain the outbreak that’s going down proper now.”
He stated well being authorities have been taking a look at “metropolis by metropolis or metropolis and city, province by province, stopping folks from transferring out and in”.
The nation’s maritime borders with Australia and the Solomon Islands have been closed.
Marape urged folks to stay of their districts and villages. He stated the police and navy would guarantee folks and public transport observe public well being measures.
There are considerations of a surge in instances after mass gatherings have been held on the weekend to commemorate Sir Michael Somare, PNG’s first prime minister, who died final month.
Officers in Australia, which ran PNG affairs till independence in 1975, stated they have been monitoring the virus’s progress. Scott Morrison, Australian prime minister, stated vaccines have been being rushed to PNG to inoculate frontline well being staff.
“I’m very involved concerning the scenario in PNG and we’re watching that very carefully and actively,” Dr Paul Kelly, Australia’s chief medical officer, stated on Tuesday.
He stated vaccination has begun within the Torres Strait, which separates the 2 nations. “They’re at the moment vaccinating in Saibai Island, one of many islands within the Torres Strait very near the PNG mainland,” Kelly stated.