4th June 2020
Papua New Guinea has no capacity to deal with a Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak if citizens and residents are not vigilant or conscious at all times
Prime Minister , James Marape, MP, highlighted this at his press briefing on May 29, 2020, adding that currently , Papua New Guinea has under 500 doctors and under 3,000 nurses, and if COVID-19 is not contained and rose, then there’s a chance of it growing and spreading in the country.
“Our health system does not have the adequate capacity to manage an increased presence of COVID-19 in our country .
“For instance, those who will migrate from just being infected with COVID-19 into doctor care , the 20% or so who will migrate into doctor care in an intensive care unit (ICU), requires many beds.”
When highlighting the bed capacity in the intensive care unit, Mr Marape admitted, there are only 200 bed spaces available, and of the 200 beds, only 44 of them have oxygen ventilators attached to the beds.
“If we have a situation where, based on an increase rate of 1 infection to 3 or 2.5 persons , for instance, and the number grows exponentially, our health system doesn’t have the capacity to deal with an outbreak of a pandemic nature.”
Mr Marape noted the 67 days since the emergency operations began, and emphasised that “ complacency is not a choice for us here in our operations and our efforts to fight and keep COVID-19 out of our country.
“As far as our poor health capacity is concerned, the best we can do to be defensive, is that our defensive strategy must be applied and maintained, now as we have been in the past and going into the future,” he said.
Meanwhile, the initial operations commenced well before the state of emergency was formally sanctioned in March 2020.
“Earlier on in January , we shut down travelers coming back from China, when we knew in December, there was an outbreak taking place at the province in China, Wuhan.
“So we ‘ve taken our own steps to stopping COVID-19 right from day one but as I always say, our success thus far, I cannot receive credit for it, everyone of our citizen and resident have played a part . And all the credit belongs to God . Having said this, we must all, continue work, without being complacent.
“No complacency at work place, including social distancing , workplace distancing , no complacency in areas where travelling is taking place, people moving place to place try absolutely best to keep distance.”
Mr Marape continues to urge citizens to ,” wash your hands , find a mask, live healthily in a clean environment , if you have symptoms of cold and cough , hotline will remain as it has been. Ring the number 1800200, stay put in your place of residence and doctors will try to come to you, wherever they are.
“ And this is the sort of approach and way we will live for the balance of this year and into the future,” Mr Marape concluded.