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COVID-19 Cases in PNG Surge to 39

Papua New Guinea DEPUTY Controller of the COVID-19 National Pandemic Response Dr Paison Dakulala has appealed to everyone to take seriously all health measures against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as PNG’s cases increases to 39.

Dr Dakulala who is also acting Health Secretary made the call while announcing seven new cases of COVID-19 confirmed within the last 24 hours in the National Capital District. Out of the seven, four are health workers.

“We cannot afford to play around. The cases are being reported every day now. The new cases were confirmed at midday today and they are now all at the Rita Flynn isolation facility,” said Dr Dakulala.

Of the seven new cases, four are considered mild while only one had difficulties in breathing so was put on oxygen but is now improving. All are Papua New Guineans except for an expatriate employed with a government organisation.

Dr Dakulala said one of the cases is a staff with the National Department of Health so the NDoH headquarters at Aopi Building is going through a decontamination process. The building will be open on Wednesday.

“Rita Flynn has a 72-bed capacity. When we reach the capacity, we may have to consider other possibilities, including home quarantine,’’ said Dr Dakulala.

He said the majority of the 24 cases currently being monitored at Rita Flynn facility are mild cases.

Dr Dakulala said that quarantine and contact tracing measures have been initiated and contacts of positive cases are being advised to be home quarantined and not to move around for the duration of the 14 days. They have been advised to call the hotline 1800200 should they experience any symptoms of COVID-19 such as fevers or body aches or flu.

“If they are feeling unwell they only have to call the hotline and we will send response teams to their residence to assist. Please comply with all COVID-19 health protocols.Stay at home. Do not move around. Help us to stop the spread,” Dr Dakulala said.

As of today, PNG has tested a total of 9,885 people for COVID-19 since the response began in January. Of this figure, 39 tested positive and more new cases are expected as tests are being scaled up not just in NCD, but throughout the country.

Furthermore, there are currently 535 tests pending results – 300 of these samples are at a laboratory in Brisbane and the other 235 are in Singapore.

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