12 Feb 2020

6000 screened for virus in PNG over three weeks

8:35 am on 12 February 2020

At least 6000 people have been screened for the coronavirus in Papua New Guinea over the past three weeks.

Acting Health Secretary, Paison Dakulala (Post Courier)

Acting Health Secretary, Paison Dakulala (Post Courier) Photo: Post Courier

The country's Acting Health Secretary, Paison Dakulala, sais the number did not include travellers from China.

Dr Dakulala told the Post Courier that 110 people were of interest because of their travel history, and that three people have had samples sent to a lab for testing.

He said funding and follow-up investigations would be required in those cases, with testing to be done at the PNG Institute of Medical Research.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Patrick Pruaitch said official records showed there were 355 Papua New Guineans living and working in China.

But that number only relates to those who have registered at the PNG embassy in Beijing.

Meanwhile, six Taiwanese nationals who were travelling to Vanuatu to attend a regional fisheries meeting have been sent to Australia by the country's Coronavirus Task Force.

The Vanuatu Daily Post reports the passengers had not shown evidence of being infected by the virus but the task force has made it clear it is banning all visitors from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau until further notice.

The decision is in line with caretaker Prime Minister Charlot Salwai's call from earlier this week that the task force take immediate action to safeguard the country from the coronavirus.

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