Prime Minister Marape confirms new COVID-19 case in Port Moresby

Friday 24 July 2020

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape, today confirmed  one more new case of  the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in Port Moresby,  bringing the total to 32 .

Prime Minister, James Marape

He is encouraging anyone with flu-like symptoms to report to Rita Flynn and get tested  to identify  whether it is COVID-19 or not.

He said  day 38 of the  Niupela Pasin, has seen the world  reached 15, 641, 083 (15 million) confirmed cases and 635, 633 deaths.

In Papua New Guinea, out of the 32 patients,  20 are active cases and   being monitored currently.

Case 28  is a  close contact of case 17 (deceased) who died of Breast Cancer. The 35 year old female who was in isolation in a single room at Ward 2A  was  transferred to Rita Flynn today.

Mr Marape says  Case 29, resides in close proximity  to case 17 and was presented to  Port Moresby General Hospital Emergency Department  with  cough and  a sore throat.

His results returned positive on  GeneXpert and has been   transferred to Rita Flynn and is currently being monitored.

Case 30  on the other hand, is a staff  of Port Moresby General Hospital, who had fever and headaches and tested positive on GeneXpert.

Case 31 was a patient at the Accident and Emergency  ward who   experienced shortness of breath and his result returned positive  on GeneXpert.

Meantime,  investigations are currently underway  on Case 32  who is now in isolation .

Mr Marape said Port Moresby General Hospital is picking up cases  from undertaking  tests  on staff, patients and guardians.

“These cases indicate community spread and more cases  are expected. Be reminded that you can be still be symptomatic (show no symptoms) but have the virus.”

Meanwhile, the 14 Cases (# 18-32) announced this week have all been in isolation at Rita Flynn.

Mr Marape further clarified that Case 20 is a teenager and a close contact of Case 13, who is a staff at   the  Central Public  Health Laboratory (CPHL), while  Case 21, also a  teenager,  is a close contact of  Case 16 (CPHL Staff), while  Cases #22-27, are  all household contacts of Case 18 (Medical Officer)

Mr Marape added that Contact tracing of recent cases #13 – 32 is ongoing and so far 116 contacts have been identified, of which  96 are in quarantine and  being monitored while  20 are currently being followed up.

The Health Team is presently in contact with those respective education institutions of those school aged confirmed cases, however schools will  continue to operate    while contact tracing for confirmed cases continues.

Mr Marape urged students and teachers to practice  health preventative measures, such as    wearing  masks and using  soap and water to wash hands.

He added that  ,as of today (24 July), 9, 885 persons have been tested, of which 32 have confirmed positive . There were 8, 975 samples  tested; of the total; 8, 945 turned out negative while 592 are pending results.

“As of today, 292 samples are in Singapore to be tested while 300 have been packaged and will be sent to Brisbane tomorrow. The Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL) is on lockdown.

“It is now clear that there is  community transmission   in Port Moresby. This is obvious through the number of contact tracing of the recent confirmed cases, I therefore, once again remind you all to be vigilant as COVID-19 is real.”

Prime Minister has further clarified that Port Moresby City  would not be on lockdown but would  be divided into different zones , where military, police and health personnel will be deployed to  various parts of the city to enforce strict health measures.

“ It is now a community transmission and the Government is now working towards containing the spread of COVID-19.

“We want to contain the spread in Port Moresby City and that means monitoring the movement of people into the City especially from Gulf and Central provinces”

The  Governors of both  Central and Gulf provinces have  been consulted   in  ensuring  the borders are being strictly  manned.

Prime Minister has again appealed to all Papua New Guineans not to be complacent or too relaxed., and to be  responsible  for their  families , communities  and country, by practicing the following:

  • Wear face masks at all times in public places;
  • Wash your hands with soap and water (Practice personal hygiene);
  • Maintain Physical/ Social Distancing (stay at least 1-2 meters way from others);
  • Sneeze into your elbow; and
  • Do not touch your face, eyes and nose.
  • Please isolate yourself by staying at home, if you have nothing to do in other places.
  • Call 1-800-200 if you are feeling unwell.
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