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.
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.