PNG's Western Province sees Covid-19 spike

10:10 am on 26 August 2020

Papua New Guinea has 18 new cases of Covid-19, all in Western Province.

The total number of cases in the country stands at 419.

The death toll remains at four, all from the National Capital District.

The 18 new cases bring the Western Province's total confirmed cases to 143.

OK Tedi mine

OK Tedi mine Photo: Ok Tedi Mine CMCA Review

One hundred and forty are from the Ok Tedi Mine gold and copper which has been shut down due to the pandemic.

The mine township of Tabubil is currently under lockdown.

The Office of the National Pandemic Response Controller said the mine brought significant foreign exchange into the country and its closure was affecting the country's economy in a big way.

The mine had targeted 14 September as a reopening date.

Controller David Manning said he was pleased with the stringent measures the mine had put in place to stop the spread of the virus within Western Province and beyond.

The National Capital District still contains the majority of Covid cases with a total of 257.

The majority of the cases had been discharged.

Currently eight cases are admitted at the Rita Flynn Isolation facility while there are six patients at the Port Moresby General Hospital.

Meanwhile Indonesia, of which PNG shares a porous land border, had reported 1,877 new cases this week, bringing the total confirmed cases there to at least 155,412.

The Controller's Office said its two provinces, and Western Province's closest neighbours - Papua and West Papua, had together reported a total of 93 cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total confirmed cases for the two provinces to 4,309.

The death toll in the two provinces is 52, including nine new deaths.

Indonesian military guard the border with Papua New Guinea

Indonesian military guard the border with Papua New Guinea Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades