More deaths from Covid-19 in PNG as widespread transmission continues

2:31 pm on 14 May 2021

Papua New Guinea has recorded three new more deaths from Covid-19 as the total number of cases continues to rise.

PNG Angau hospital

PNG Angau hospital Photo: RNZ Pacific

The deaths were all reported in East New Britain province, taking PNG's overall death toll from the coronavirus to 133.

The latest update from the country's Pandemic Response Controller reported 245 more confirmed cases in 13 provinces, taking the total number in PNG to 13,242.

All 22 provinces including the Autonomous Region of Bougainville have reported cases.

East New Britain is reported to have confirmed 834 cases, the fourth highest number of any province, with the National Capital District still recording the highest number with 4,735.

However, with limited testing and delays in reporting of case numbers from various provinces, the real figure of those infected with Covid-19 in PNG is expected to be significantly higher.

Furthermore, some provinces have higher case numbers in their individual reports than those attributed to the same provinces in the Controller's updates.

Covid-19 restrictions eased

PNG's response controller, David Manning, said restrictions on churches, community organisations and businesses were being eased.

Church in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

Church in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

According to his office's media release late Thursday, he made the decision after church and business leaders committed to do everything they could to keep people safe.

Now congregations can be up to 100 if everyone is practising safe physical distancing.

Manning said next Monday certain hospitality businesses can open if they can ensure the safety of the public.

This will include restaurants, bottle shops and gambling venues, but Manning warns if the operators fail to protect their patrons they may be shut down again.

There are now 13,242 covid cases in PNG with 133 known to have died.