More Covid-19 testing to go ahead in PNG

6:53 am on 7 May 2020

More community testing for Covid-19 will be carried out in Papua New Guinea starting this week.

The state of emergency controller David Manning said testing would start in the provinces where the country's eight confirmed cases of the virus were discovered before continuing across the rest of the country.

Health workers practice donning personal protective equipment (PPE).

Health workers practice donning personal protective equipment (PPE). Photo: United Nations

Mr Manning said the testing would be run alongside a research study being conducted by the Department of Health Laboratory and Testing Unit and the Institute of Medical Research.

"I urge all people to come forward for a test if they have symptoms. This will help your country and protect your family," Mr Manning said.

The head of the testing unit, Evelyn Lavu, said testing had so far been slow in PNG because of a shortage of testing kits, but the recent arrival of new equipment for test-analysis had boosted capacity.

"A lot more testing is planned for PNG at about 3,000. So, with this figure we'll have more understanding of the virus in PNG."

"The anti-body test in total will be looking at 12,000 - 2,000 in each province which are high priority provinces which have reported cases," Dr Lavu said.

Meanwhile David Manning commended officers of the Department of Health and members of the Covid-19 Joint Agency Taskforce for their commitment to the Government response to the pandemic.

But he warned that the hard work was not over and urged the public to continue to follow the advice of health experts, observe social distancing and stay home as much as possible.

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