PM Marape extends condolence to people of China as PNG prepares for Coronavirus threat

The Prime Minister, Hon. James Marape, MP, extends his condolence and sympathy to the family and relatives of those who lost their lives to the Coronavirus (2019-nCov) in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

The Prime Minister extended his condolence and sympathy as Papua New Guinea authorities, led by the National Department of Health and in close collaboration with the World Health Organization mobilizes manpower of health professionals to enable mechanisms already put in place to manage such threats in the country.

The Prime Minister said the WHO has now declared the 2019-nCov as a global emergency and as Papua New Guinea’s geographical position puts it at a high risk area, the National Department of Health is keeping a close eye on the situation through situation reports they receive from the WHO twice, weekly.

All Nationalities wishing to travel to Papua New Guinea from Wuhan, Hebei Province will not be uplifted further notice and person(s) travelling in from affected countries are encouraged to get medical clearance before travelling to Papua New Guinea.

At this time, there is no reported case(s) in the country and the NDoH has now set screening stations at the airport for passengers arriving from countries that are affected by the virus, all vessels coming through the sea ports will be redirected to Port Moresby for screening before continuing to their destinations and screenings will also be done at our land border with Indonesia, Prime Minister Marape said.

“People who are travelling in from not only China, especially from Wuhan, the epic centre of the 2019-nCov, via other ports and other countries that have reported cases as well or are experiencing respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties are encouraged to call into the NDoH Help desk or screening station for further assistance or call the hotline (+675) 7196 0813.

The NDoH has a rapid response team on standby to take you to a hospital for thorough screening and treatment of the symptoms.

People who do not show symptoms at this time are encouraged self-isolate for 14 days and give your details to the team at the airport, seaports or border posts so that the rapid response team can do twice weekly checks on you during your 14 days of isolation.

If you have not given your details to the screening teams at the airport, sea ports and land border stations, call the NDoH hotline for assistance.

Should we have a severe case in the country, the rapid response team will be deployed to take the affected person to be quarantined and treated at the Port Moresby General Hospital.

The Prime Minister further added that the Government is also very much concerned about Papua New Guinea citizens either living, studying or working in affected countries around the world therefore the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have set up a help desk to assist families in Papua New Guinea find out what is happening on the ground.

He said the Department is maintaining contact with those who are in China through the PNG Embassy and the Embassy of China here in Port Moresby.

Prime Minister Marape said this is a totally new virus and as yet to reach PNG shores, the World Health Organization is working with medical research institutions all over the world to understand it and start to put in place measures to stop it spreading and taking lives, Papua New Guineans, residents and visitors are encourage to practice good hygiene and educate their children to practice it as well.

Frequently wash your hands after ablutions, before your eat, when your use your hand to cover your mouth to sneeze or cough and cover your mouth with a cloth or elbow when coughing or sneezing, he said.

The Prime Minister said because the virus is new, current measures in place by the NDoH and WHO will evolve as technical experts understand more about the virus.