Monday 23 August 2021
Deputy Controller of the PNG COVID-19 National Pandemic Response Dr Esorom Daoni today confirmed that six people at the National Control Centre in Port Moresby have tested positive for COVID-19.
None of the six infected staff were vaccinated and there was no cross-infection to vaccinated staff who remain safe and COVID-19 free.
Dr Daoni said the six positive cases had placed other unvaccinated staff and family members at high risk of contracting COVID-19, so to reduce this risk action is being taken to ensure workplace health and safety.
“In order to better secure the safety of our workplace, community and their families, strict new measures are now coming into force at the National Control Centre.
“Everyone working at the NCC must have at least their first vaccine dose by August 31. Those not vaccinated will be required to take a COVID-19 test every three days in order to provide ongoing reassurance that they do not pose a risk to their fellow workers, particularly as we face the threat of a Delta variant spread.
“Anyone who fails to take a test when directed will not be allowed into the workplace, and their employment at the NCC will be discontinued. This is just common sense, either you are vaccinated or you are tested every three days.
“Freedom of choice on vaccinations is the right of every one of our people and that position is fully supported by the National Government. Prime Minister James Marape has made it very clear that freedom of choice on vaccines is a basic human right and this will be respected.
“Another human right is for our people to go to their workplaces and local shops without the risk of being infected by someone carrying COVID-19. Along these lines, the Prime Minister has also confirmed that employers have the right to enact measures that will protect workers from COVID-19 infection.
“Every employer has a duty of care for all staff, and we cannot have a situation where unvaccinated people risk spreading the virus to their workmates.
“This is also about respect for fellow workers and yourself. Because as we have seen at NCC with the six infected workers, they are now paying a high price themselves and anyone else they might have infected.”
Dr Daoni added that the positive cases are a reminder to all workplaces around the nation, where unvaccinated workers are placing themselves and other unvaccinated colleagues at risk every day.
Response measures were immediately enacted at the National Control Centre when the first two positive cases were identified,
“After the first two infected staff were discovered, all staff undertook testing and the NCC offices, including the COVID-19 Hotline, were shut down as deep cleaning took place. The remaining four staff who have since tested positive did not return to the building after their test samples were taken,” Dr Daoni said.
The Deputy Controller reinforced the message that the only way for people to be safe and to protect families, friends and workers is to be vaccinated.
He said, “When you are fully vaccinated you have a very low risk of contracting the virus, and if by a small chance you did, the symptoms are more like the common cold and are not deadly.
“People who have been vaccinated also have a very much reduced chance of spreading COVID-19 to their loved ones and friends. These are the facts, and it has been proven that vaccines save lives, so I encourage all workers to get their vaccines.
“Our people need to think about the impact on their families, and their fellow workers who suffer when their workplace has to shut down due to COVID-19.
“Get vaccinated so you can stay safe and well, so you can continue working, and together we will keep the economy moving forward.”
Dr Daoni has urged citizens to locate their nearest health centres to get vaccinated or call the National COVID-19 Hotline: 1-800-200 for assistance.
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