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 optimistic circumstances 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 employees, 250 of these got here again optimistic, in accordance with Queensland well being officers.
James Marape, prime minister, warned that the nation’s official complete of two,269 Covid-19 circumstances, together with 26 deaths, was an undercount because it was primarily based on those that confirmed up for testing.
Solely 54,410 of PNG’s 9m individuals have been examined, stated police Chief Superintendent Dominic Kakas, the nation’s Covid-19 job power spokesman.
“Neighborhood transmission has taken place. It has damaged free. We have to include it from additional spreading,” Marape stated.
“If we don’t [take a] proactive response to this, our well being system might be clogged and we would not have the ability to maintain the outbreak that’s happening proper now.”
He stated well being authorities had been taking a look at “metropolis by metropolis or metropolis and city, province by province, stopping individuals from transferring out and in”.
The nation’s maritime borders with Australia and the Solomon Islands have been closed.
Marape urged individuals to stay of their districts and villages. He stated the police and navy would guarantee individuals and public transport observe public well being measures.
There are issues of a surge in circumstances after mass gatherings had 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 had been monitoring the virus’s progress. Scott Morrison, Australian prime minister, stated vaccines had been being rushed to PNG to inoculate frontline well being employees.
“I’m very involved in regards to 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 international locations. “They’re at the moment vaccinating in Saibai Island, one of many islands within the Torres Strait very near the PNG mainland,” Kelly stated.