COVID-19 HEADING TOWARDS PANDEMIC DECLARATION

The Coronavirus (COVID- 19) is spreading rapidly to other countries with a total of 89,527 cases globally in 67 countries and 3, 056 deaths so far.

Following this report, the World Health Organization (WHO) on the 28th of February has increased the assessment risk of spread and the risk of impact of COVID -19 to very high at the global level which means PNG is at the very high risk.


WHO Representative in PNG Dr Luo Dapeng said PNG must be prepared and get ready for first case sceneries and prepare also for community transmission if the virus makes it’s way to PNG.

Acting Health Secretary for the National Department of Health Dr Paison Dakulala said some countries that have already been affected are pushing towards “Pandemic” declaration.

“The transmission has also affected other parts of the world and not only in China, which is why COVID-19 is regarded as very high risk globally and we are moving towards a pandemic declaration”

Dr Dakulala also reassured the public that we are able to deal with coronavirus if it is declared as pandemic, given PNG’s experience in 2009 when the HINI virus was declared pandemic by WHO.

He said NDOH and other partners were part of the response team that responded to HINI pandemic and that particular response mechanism is already in place.

“When the declaration does come or when pandemic declaration is made, we are already scaling up to see how well we deal with that particular declaration”

Meanwhile there are no cases of Coronavirus in PNG, however daily screening of passengers at the airport with further testing is going ahead.

As of 28 February, a total of 287 flights have been screened with 17,518 passengers passing through the screening process.

The Health team have identified 510 “Persons of Interest” and they are being monitored regularly by the Surveillance Team.

Eight passengers were investigated by the Rapid Response Team with seven samples collected and sent away for testing.

Five samples came back negative with two samples undergoing test.

PNGFM / ONEPNG

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