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.”