Tests reveal cancer patient who died in PNG had Covid-19

12:05 pm on 20 July 2020

Papua New Guinea has confirmed its first Covid-19 related death as fears grow of community spread in the capital, Port Moresby.

Port Moresby General Hospital

Port Moresby General Hospital Photo: POM General Hospital

The National Control Centre said the 48 year old cancer patient from Central Province was also the sixth case in Port Moresby within the past five days, with community transmission now evident in the capital city.

The Post Courier reported the case was identified during routine swabbing of people who had died with respiratory symptoms at Port Moresby General Hospital.

On Friday the government announced the 16th confirmed case, a man who works at the Central Public Health Laboratory in Port Moresby.

The announcement confirmed a cluster outbreak at the lab.

The laboratory is located within the hospital premises and the government had launched an investigation into how the staff acquired the disease.

Prime Minister James Marape stressed people should not be complacent as this was a clear indication that Covid-19 was prevalent in the country and Port Moresby.

Mr Marape also said he has instructed that testing for the coronavirus be stepped up in the city.

Decisions on movement restrictions to and from Port Moresby are to be discussed, but the prime minister urged people not to travel around if not necessary.

The border PNG shares with Indonesia remained closed.