PM acknowledges God’s hand in COVID-19 Response

Wednesday 17 June 2020

SCIENTISTS have been baffled by how the coronavirus disease 2019 had gone in this country, says Prime Minister James Marape.

He was speaking last night at the closing of the State of Emergency and a thank you event at the Morauta Haus.

Mr Marape said scientifically, one infected person was to infect several others, and therefore when the first case was reported in Lae stringent measures were taken to ensure all his 16 contacts were traced and tested but they all tested negative.

“The second case was established. Today, we are trying to map out where it came from. There are faint correlations, but there still remains a mystery as to where she got COVID-19 from.

“Then the third case, fourth case, fifth case, sixth case and seventh case. Eighty-five days on, the number remains static on eight for almost two months,’’ said Mr Marape.

“I saw the hand of God in all these eight cases, hence I can’t claim credit for this. Let me thank all pastors, all church faithfuls, who fasted and prayed for PNG not to be ravaged by the devastation coronavirus can cause as it is causing in many established countries globally.’’

Upon the declaration of SoE on COVID-19 85 days ago, a whole-of-government and society approach was established under the National Operation Centre that brought together partners, including churches, non-government organisations, UN agencies, development and bilateral partners who were acknowledged for their contribution in the response.

The churches got together as the Body of Christ and held a 21-day fast and prayer. They have continued to come and pray at the NOC.

Being updated daily with briefs in the past 85 days on how the pandemic was going, Mr Marape had a good insight of the response, including the conditions of the eight COVID-19 patients.

He said two of them were qualified to be in the five percent of the global cases , meaning they would become very sick and need intensive care, but this has not happened.

“Despite them having underlying conditions, their own natural immune system fought off COVID-19, for natural immunity is a natural defence mechanism built by God himself,’’ said Mr Marape.

In thanking everyone for their part in the response, he also thanked the citizens for cooperating with the SoE orders that were given to ensure this country stopped the spread of Coronavirus in the country.

He said statistics globally compels us not to be complacent. At the same time, the country’s health system does not cater for an outbreak.

PNG, he said, has 5000 hospital beds, of which 200 are in the Intensive Care Unit, and of this 200 only 44 of them have oxygen ventilators. A country like Indonesia has 33,000 cases of COVID-19 which is far beyond what PNG could cater for.

“Our actions in the last 85 days was not unnecessary but necessary based on the danger and threat that stared us in our face. Based on the fact that our capacity was still not there.’’

He added that it would be “totally reckless on our part if we are not sensitive to the need to have some control measures”, and the National Pandemic Act, put together by Papua New Guineans, is to protect the citizens, many of them do not have access to good healthcare and are unable to protect themselves from this virus.

“The country can be rest assured. We are not trying to be dictatorial or harsh or oppressive. Coronavirus 19 global prevalence compels us to act responsibly in this manner,’’ said Mr Marape.

Prime Minister James Marape, cutting a cake during the farewell -and-thankyou ceremony at Morauta Haus on Tuesday evening, 16 June 2020

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