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COVID-19 Cases Spike in Tabubil, PNG has now 160 confirmed cases

The mining town of  Tabubil in Western Province has recorded 7 new confirmed cases today. 

These 7 cases are all from the OK Tedi Mining Limited and they are all new cases in Tabubil. OK Tedi has suspended all its operations until further notice. This now brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in the country to 160 with over 100 active cases and two deaths so far.

The OK Tedi Mine released the following statement on the suspension of operations at the mine. 

Ok Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) advises that it has recorded seven positive COVID-19 cases in the last day. These are the first positive cases recorded in Tabubil.

This has occurred despite Ok Tedi implementing a shutdown of all charter flights in and out of Tabubil on Tuesday 28 July 2020. This action was taken in response to the escalation of positive cases in Port Moresby, and with intent of protecting our workforce, our community and our operation.

The source of transmission is a person who travelled from Port Moresby to Kiunga on Friday 31 July 2020 on a commercial airline. Unfortunately, one of the positive cases in Tabubil is an employee who inadvertently caught the virus from a close contact of the Kiunga traveller.

The employee is currently working in our operations, travelling to and from work on buses. It is likely that more people have been infected, giving rise to an unacceptable risk of accelerated transmission within the Ok Tedi workforce.

Consequently, the Company has taken the decision to immediately suspend operations for at least 14 days to limit further transmission and allow contact tracing, isolation and testing procedures to be implemented.

If effective, we plan to recommence our operations with some confidence that transmission of the virus has been contained. A key consideration in the decision is the duty of care we have to our workforce.

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