Government announces new Covid-19 case in PNG

Saturday 20, June 2020

The Government has confirmed a ninth case of Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) in Papua New Guinea, after almost two months of no case.

The Controller of the National Control Centre, David Manning and Deputy Controller, Dr Paison Dakulala, when announcing this  during the press briefing today, said the   country’s new case   is  a 44 year old  foreign resident  of Port Moresby whose test  returned positive on June 18, 2020.

“Let me confirm to you all that we did, through a series of tests of the last 48 hours, have a new Covid-19 case. Let me assure the country that we are doing our utmost best to ensure that we manage this case and respond appropriately and responsibly to managing this,” Mr Manning said

He said, “Today marks Day 4 of the continued efforts under the National Pandemic Act 2020 from the National Control Centre, and we continue our efforts in the country’s defence against Covid-19.

“But yes we do have a case, it does not, again should not give us a cause to be driven to a state of panic,” Mr Manning said.

Meanwhile, when giving a full account of the case,  Dr Dakulala  said    the case underwent   three tests, using both GeneXpert  and the PCR or  polymerase chain reaction, and all have returned positive, with the   third   confirmed  result from the Queensland  Health Authority Laboratory.

“Our latest case  has not travelled out of  Papua New Guinea,  and has been in country since  January. He called the toll free  number, 1800 200, on June  9 to report  his symptoms.”

The Rapid Response Team (RRT) immediately placed him on the surveillance and monitored his condition.

After a week, the case did not show signs of improvement  and experienced  heightened flu-like symptoms, including fever , cough and sore throat.

Dr Dakulala however says  the patient is  recovering  and had  followed all the correct advice of self-isolation, since feeling unwell on  June 5.

Early investigations suggest  that the case acquired the infection in Port Moresby, but the health teams are considering  all possible scenarios  based on the contact tracing.

Dr Dakulala said since the identification  of the case  the rapid response team has  initiated contact tracing , identifying places he may have  been and people  he had interacted with.

“So far  we have identified 29 contacts  and have placed eight   individuals in quarantine. There are more contacts that we are trying to reach  at present .

“The identification of this case  highlights  that the risk of  covid-19  remains very high in Papua New Guinea,” Dr Dakulala said.

In the meantime, preparations  are underway to  repatriate him  back to his  country as soon as all his quarantined processes are completed and pending advice from the medical team.

Dr Dakulala urged  every Papua New Guinean to contact the toll free number , 1800 200 when developing any forms of symptoms in order to seek advice and assistance.

“This case also  reminds us all that the threat remains  and we must  continue  to be vigilant.”

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