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Papua New Guinea

Crisis: Covid-19 surge in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is experiencing its worst wave from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The country’s Eastern Highlands Province is recording 9-15 deaths per day with the provincial hospital experiencing shortages in oxygen supplies.

Major hospitals in the country have been forced to scale down operations to focus on the surge in cases as many health workers are reported to also be infected.

Data from the Health Department indicate that cases have almost tripled, rising to about 600 in the week starting at September 20 from 255 a month earlier.

But this does not clearly portray the severity of case numbers as the country’s testing rate is low.

Hospitals are reporting shortages of beds in wards and spaces in morgues.

Papua New Guinea COVD19
Patients are treated at a makeshift Covid-19 hospital in Port Moresby on October 9, 2021. Source: AFP

Earlier this month, Port Moresby General Hospital chief executive officer Dr Paki Molumi said the hospital’s isolation facility was completely full.

“We have opened up another ward to accommodate the next lot of patients,” he said.

Western Highlands’ Mt Hagen General and Eastern Highlands’ Goroka General Hospital are facing similar situations.

Health authorities in PNG’s second largest city, Lae, have been forced to open a makeshift hospital and morgue in the city’s Sir Ignatius Kilage Stadium.

Vaccination is reportedly low and authorities are desperately urging people to get vaccinated.

Last week, PNG’s Pandemic Response Controller David Manning said 10 provinces were experiencing “a larger scale of the Covid-19 surge”.

Four provinces have been classified as high-risk: West Sepik, Western, Western Highlands and Eastern Highlands.

To date, about 190,000 out of about nine million people have been vaccinated.

2 Comments
  1. Abel Vetenge 7 months ago
    Reply

    Just a question. Those who died recorded as C19. Did they have been vaccinated before?

  2. Geoffrey Apakali 7 months ago
    Reply

    While the situation in other parts of the country may show decline in new corvid cases being registered the situation in Port Moresby will continue to get worse for many more months yet to come because the government is not doing anything at all other than telling people to get vaccinated and almost 90 percent of the city residents don’t want to be vaccinated. As a result the only feasible option available now is to conduct awareness on the new protocols but the success of that largely depends on available basic utilities like water, electricity and proper sewerage systems. More than 80% of the city population live in the squatters and settlements and they have no access to any source of running water nor electricity but it’s them who control the markets that keep the basic food chain in motion. It’s by this mode of contact that will continue to spread the virus even to those already vaccinated. Instead of spending too much on outcomes that will continue to be of no help, ensure running water to all corners of the city so that people may practice the new protocols by washing hands regularly and staying clean all the time. How can one observe the new protocols without water and electricity? People in the settlements who live under the dirtiest of conditions are the very people from whom we buy all our fresh food at the Gordon’s Market so what better way to spread the virus than them the settlement people? Lets be realistic and let our actions follow our words. As long as we do nothing in the settlements corvid 19 is here to stay. Provide water to all the settlements and then talk about washing hands regularly otherwise it’s hypocrisy at it’s best and the spread of corvid 19 will see no end.

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