3 Nov 2021

Bougainville close to lockdown after Covid-19 surge

5:06 pm on 3 November 2021

Papua New Guinea's autonomous region of Bougainville could be heading for lockdown with a significant rise in community transmission of Covid-19.

Shoreline at Tinputz, Bougainville.

People resting on the shoreline at Tinputz, Bougainville. Photo: RNZ Pacific / Johnny Blades

Regional pandemic controller Clement Totavun said there had been an alarming rise in cases, and four deaths at Buka hospital at the weekend.

Nine cases were detected on Monday and more on Tuesday, in hospitals in Buka, Arawa and Buin.

Buka General Hospital chief executive Dr Tommy Wotsia said "about two thirds [of cases] are locally transmitted, so it means the virus is moving and spreading in our communities."

This puts communities at risk, Wotsia said, and the risk will continue to rise daily if people don't strictly follow the measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus.

Buka hospital is scaling down routine and non-urgent case services, specialist visits, elective operations and large groups are no longer allowed to visit, Wotsia said.

Buka Town Council acting manager Fidelis Semoso reiterated his appeal for the public to follow the measures put in place by the Controller.

Dr Totavun said the were awaiting further advice before deciding on a lockdown.

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