PNG authorities in Port Moresby yet to rule out lockdown

4:42 pm on 27 July 2020

Papua New Guinea's Pandemic Response Controller David Manning says the option of a total lockdown in the capital hasn't been ruled out.

Papua New Guinea police commissioner David Manning

David Manning, Police Commissioner and Covid Response Controller Photo: Supplied

Health officials were urging the public to take health measures more seriously after confirming 23 cases of Covid-19 in Port Moresby on Sunday.

The highest number of cases in a single day that PNG had yet recorded took the country's total number of confirmed infections to date to 62.

Manning reinforced a number of public restrictions and measures for citizens to follow.

These included wearing of masks in all public spaces, as well as social distancing and washing of hands.

"In terms of lockdowns, whilst that's not completely off the table, at this point in time we would rather focus our efforts into ensuring that we deliver awareness programmes to our communities, we empower them through that knowledge and to defend themselves against Covid-19."

Meanwhile, EMTV reported that the staff at Port Moresby General Hospital were fearful about the Covid-19 outbreak in the capital.

A number of the new confirmed cases come from staff at the facility, including workers in the laboratory which handled Covid-19 testing.

Amid growing concern, some doctors and nurses were reportedly refusing to attend to patients until they were tested for the coronavirus.

There were also concerns about access to Personal Protection Equipment.

Last week the acting Health Secretary, Paison Dakulala, gave an assurance that there was adequate Personal Protection Equipment for health workers around the country to respond to Covid-19 cases.

Downtown Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Downtown Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades