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Quarantine is an important measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19 says the Controller of the PNG COVID-19 National Pandemic Response and Commissioner of Police David Manning.
In the wake of the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in PNG as well as the discovery of new COVID-19 variants in the world, Mr Manning has appealed to everyone to strictly adhere to the 14-day quarantine period the National Control Centre has placed on passengers travelling into the country.
Mr Manning has also advised that due to capacity issues home quarantine will now not be allowed, unless there are medical reasons for home quarantine.
The Controller said that Papua New Guinea’s quarantine measures in the COVID-19 response has so far found two people with the symptoms of COVID-19 since the outbreak began last year. One of these people was diagnosed in September last year while the other one was diagnosed in January this year.
“Quarantine is one of the important measures being employed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country and must be strictly observed,’’ he said.
He said currently there are countries reporting new variants which PNG does not have and quarantine is one way through which these variants can be prevented from entering the country.
“We have people coming from countries where new variants are now being reported so we need to protect our people against these new variants which are more transmissible than the first ones,’’ he said.
At this stage he said PNG is seeing an average of 30 to 60 people in quarantine a day and these are mostly travellers from other countries coming into PNG.
“We are doing well but we need to improve because right now the quality is not there. There are other reasons why this is so, but the biggest of this due to logistics and financial resources,’’ Mr Manning said.
There are currently three types of quarantine – home, approved company sites and hotels. Those in hotels and company sites pay for it themselves, while those in home quarantine are largely people with proven medical reasons.
There was initially a large group of people being put in home quarantine, but this has been stopped due to a number of reasons including abuse.
Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea has to-date reported a total of 970 positive cases of COVID-19 since the outbreak began, including nine new cases reported in the last 24 hours.
Of this, the majority have recovered while 10 died, the last of which was last week of a 54-year-old man who died at the Angau General Hospital in Lae.
Mr Manning said: “The pandemic is far from over. We have outbreaks now in West New Britain, Madang and Sandaun provinces so we have to be more vigilant and adhere to the new normal or niupela pasin to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in the country.
“The National Control Centre has minimal staff who cannot attend to all the outbreaks at once so everyone has a duty to ensure they are following the health protocols in place for the benefit of the country.”