PNG has recorded its highest number of new positive COVID-19 cases in a day when 39 news cases were detected yesterday bringing the total to 153.
Of the 39, two tested positive in Western Province, One in West Sepik and 36 in the nation’s capital. The new cases in Western and West Sepik both came from passengers who traveled from Port Moresby.
The National Command Center in a statement last night stated that the West Sepik Provincial Health Authority confirmed that an adult male who had returned last fortnight from a training in Port Moresby was sick and tested positive in Vanimo.
The two new positive cases in Western Province were detected in Tabubil after tests were conducted there last night using Gene Expert machines. Contact tracing for these cases indicates that infection could have been transmitted through close contact with an individual who had returned from Port Moresby last weekend on a commercial flight to Kiunga. The individual in Kiunga has been isolated and is awaiting testing.
Meanwhile, in a statement from Oktedi Mine, OTML CEO Musje Werror says OTML had tried to protect its staff and had shut down all charter flights from Port Moresby.
Werror further stated that the employee who tested positive works in the operations and had traveled to and from work on buses making the risk of more people being infected high, and so operation at the mine will be suspended 14 days while contact tracing, isolation, and testing procedures are implemented.
In Port Moresby 36 new cases were recorded as of yesterday adding onto the imminent fact that the nation’s capital has widespread community transmission raising the question of why the National Command Center allowed flights to continue as normal even though certain restrictions were put in place.
EMTV News understands commercial flight operators Air Niugini and PNG Air had been advised to operate normally with the assurance of putting in place wearing of masks and social distancing.
We have requested numerous times for comments from the National Command Center to comment on the slack travel restrictions in place that has now allowed 3 provinces to confirm positive COVID-19 cases.