The federal government of Papua New Guinea mentioned on Tuesday it might prohibit motion with out imposing a full lockdown, as coronavirus infections within the Pacific nation soared.
PNG on Tuesday recorded 82 constructive instances from 91 assessments processed in a day, main the Australian state of Queensland to droop constitution flights from the OK Tedi copper and gold mine, one of many nation’s largest employers.
Of the latest 500 swabs taken from PNG residents by Australian well being staff, 250 of these got here again constructive, in response to Queensland well being officers.
James Marape, prime minister, warned that the nation’s official complete of two,269 Covid-19 instances, together with 26 deaths, was an undercount because it was based mostly on those that confirmed up for testing.
Solely 54,410 of PNG’s 9m folks have been examined, mentioned police Chief Superintendent Dominic Kakas, the nation’s Covid-19 job drive spokesman.
“Group transmission has taken place. It has damaged free. We have to comprise it from additional spreading,” Marape mentioned.
“If we don’t [take a] proactive response to this, our well being system can be clogged and we would not be capable to maintain the outbreak that’s happening proper now.”
He mentioned well being authorities had been “metropolis by metropolis or metropolis and city, province by province, stopping folks from shifting out and in”.
The nation’s maritime borders with Australia and the Solomon Islands have been closed.
Marape urged folks to stay of their districts and villages. He mentioned the police and navy would guarantee folks and public transport comply with public well being measures.
There are considerations of a surge in instances after mass gatherings had been held on the weekend to commemorate Sir Michael Somare, PNG’s first prime minister, who died final month.
Officers in Australia, which ran PNG affairs till independence in 1975, mentioned they had been monitoring the virus’s progress. Scott Morrison, Australian prime minister, mentioned vaccines had been being rushed to PNG to inoculate frontline well being staff.
“I’m very involved in regards to the state of affairs in PNG and we’re watching that very intently and actively,” Dr Paul Kelly, Australia’s chief medical officer, mentioned on Tuesday.
He mentioned vaccination has begun within the Torres Strait, which separates the 2 nations. “They’re presently vaccinating in Saibai Island, one of many islands within the Torres Strait very near the PNG mainland,” Kelly mentioned.