The Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, has announced that 125 samples taken on Thursday, 16 April 2020, have returned negative of the 2019 coronavirus disease or COVID-19.
The 125 samples collected, included one sample from Manus Province, three from Gulf and 121 samples from the National Capital District.
An additional 12 samples taken from East New Britain have also returned negative.
“Samples from the NCD include samples from myself, the Minister for Health & HIV/AIDS Hon. Jelta Wong, Minister for Police Hon. Bryan Kramer, the State of Emergency (SOE) Controller and Police Commissioner David Manning and the Deputy SOE Controller Acting Secretary for the National Department of Health Dr. Paison Dakulala.
“Over 300 samples collected on Friday including results of five members of the family of the first NCD case will be sent to Brisbane today for testing,” Mr Marape said.
The Prime Minister is appealing to the residents of NCD and the people of Papua New Guinea to remain calm and stay at home to allow the Joint Agency Task Force (JATF) to continue with contact tracing.
He commended the SOE Controller for initiating the immediate lockdown of the Morauta House to start contact tracing of more than 300 staff who work on a rotational basis at the National Operations Centre.
“Samples have also been collected from the family of the NCD patient and sent down to Brisbane for testing, with other samples of persons of interest who work at the Morauta House.
The Prime Minister is urging all Papua New Guineans to seriously practice the following prevention health messages:
- Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and clean water;
- Cough or sneeze into your flexed elbow;
- Do not touch your mouth, nose and eyes;
- Practise physical distancing of 1.5 meters;
- Do not go to crowded places; and
- If you do not have a good reason to go out or move around, kindy stay at home.
He reiterated the Minister for Health’s message that the virus does not move, people move the virus when they move.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister has called on every citizen for their understanding and cooperation during the State of Emergency.
“Developed countries with better medical facilities have been devasted by the coronavirus and Papua New Guinea cannot let that happen in the country.
“PNG’s health system cannot cope should we experience an outbreak. That is why the Controller of the State of Emergency has issued various directives aimed at stopping the spread of Coronavirus or COVID-19.
“It is in PNG. That is a fact. We now need to stop it from spreading,” Mr Marape said.
He adds, “We are not taking any chances on trusting the people with practicing the health messages so in some instances, the following Orders have been issued:
- Limit the number of passengers on all public transport;
- Prohibition of all travel in and out of border provinces and provinces with confirmed COVID-19 cases; and
- Only cargo and medical personnel are allowed access.
The Prime Minister added that as the SOE goes on, the Controller upon advice from the medical team will be issuing additional orders deemed necessary to assist the fight against COVID-19.