14 Oct 2021

Pandemic pushing PNG's health system to its limit, Health Minister

5:55 am on 14 October 2021

Papua New Guinea's Health Minister, Jelta Wong, said the pandemic is pushing the country's health system to the limit.

He told the National newspaper people had become their own worst enemies, with complacent thinking that the virus was not going to take root in PNG.

Only about two percent of the population had received the vaccine and Wong blamed social media for the hesitancy.

He has admitted the government's response was slow but said it's pleasing to see the numbers now getting vaccinated.

He said this is vital to stop the surge.

Papua New Guinea's Health Minister Jelta Wong

Papua New Guinea's Health Minister Jelta Wong Photo: EMTV

Wong said people were now witnessing what was happening in Goroka, Eastern Highlands which should change how they viewed the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Eastern Highlands Governor Peter Numu said the health situation there is "scary", with 42 people, including a two-month-old, killed by Covid-19 in the past four weeks.

He said "healthy people with no underlying issues are collapsing."

He told the paper ward councillors and presidents have painted a grim picture of the covid situation in rural areas.

New lockdown measures are now in force in Eastern Highlands as the population of 700,000 scurries to protect itself.

Provincial Police Commander Superintendent Michael Welly said they were making sure that everyone complied with the lockdown restrictions.

"I appeal to every individual to cooperate in every way possible to eradicate the Covid-19 in the province," he said.

Eastern Highlands provincial administrator/controller John Gimisive said for the next 14 days, the curfew would be from 2pm to 8am.

Gimisive said vehicles passing through the province should have access passes to be allowed through.

He said night clubs, gaming sites and liquor outlets must be closed during the curfew.

Meanwhile at Port Moresby General Hospital, two more Covid-19 deaths were recorded.

Hospital chief executive officer Dr Paki Molumi said 145 people were admitted - 114 at the hospital and 31 at the Nightingale Taurama Aquatic Centre.

He said five of them were critically ill, 30 severely ill and 70 were moderate cases.

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