First Case of COVID-19 reported in Lae

Wednesday  29 July 2020

The Chief Executive Officer of the  Morobe Provincial Health Authority , Dr Kipas Binga, has confirmed a  first case of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in Lae, Morobe Province.

 The case is,  a 37 year old male who  flew into Lae from Port Moresby on PX106 on Sunday 26 July.

The person attended a  two-day health workshop,  from Monday 27 July  to  Tuesday  28  July.

He was reported feeling unwell on Monday and was tested Tuesday afternoon. The result came back positive for COVID-19 at around 4.30pm as confirmed by GeneXpert testing.

Dr  Bing said the individual with COVID-19 only has mild symptoms that are improving and is being treated for his mild symptoms.

“As of this morning he has no symptoms and still remains in isolation. The other 74 workshop participants have been contacted and are in isolation awaiting screening.”

Meanwhile, no other workshop participants are displaying symptoms at this time. All workshop participants were wearing facemasks and using hand hygiene at the workshop including the COVID-19 case.

The management of the workshop venue, the Lae International Hotel and hotels in Lae where the workshop participants have been staying (Huon Gulf, Morobe Hotel, Value Inn and Lae Travelers Inn) have all been contacted and staff will be screened as appropriate by health authorities.

Dr Binga assured the management of the venue that  they are currently low risk because they did not spend long periods of time in the room with participants and all the participants were wearing facemasks.

The Morobe PHA Rapid Response Team has commenced tracing and testing. Morobe PHA has prepared an isolation facility at 11 mile. The people who attended the workshop are being isolated at the 11 Mile facility as per the Morobe PHA emergency response plan.

The list of passengers on PX106 is being collected to contract trace people on the Sunday flight.

“We ask the public to remain calm and to practice wearing a mask, handwashing, social distancing and covering your mouth when you cough.”

Dr Binga has urged every one to take note of the following measures:

  • Remember preventing coronavirus is everybody’s business:
  • Protect yourself, Protect your family, Protect your community
  • Wash your hands,
  • Wear a mask,
  • Keep a Good Physical Distance,
  •  Eat a balanced meal, Get children under 5 immunised
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