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People's Daily Online

PNG endures largest surge of COVID-19 infections

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 13:08, March 09, 2021

SYDNEY, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Papua New Guinea (PNG) health authorities were scrambling to contain a surge of COVID-19 infections, with official case numbers nearly doubling in the past five weeks.

Official figures released Monday showed 87 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded the day before, taking the country's total cases to 1,670 and 16 known deaths.

The cases were reported across four provinces, with the highest number in the National Capital District (NCD) with 46 cases, on top of 12 in West Sepik, 20 in Morobe and nine in the Eastern Highlands.

PNG's total cases have almost doubled in the past five weeks which officials have described as alarming, however, no intention was revealed to implement a lockdown in the capital.

According to the Post Courier, NCD Governor Powes Parkop said that a lockdown was not desirable due to the fragile economic conditions, and he acknowledged his duty to protect people's health.

PNG's Pandemic Controller David Manning said the public needed to adhere to the official advice to help stop the spread of the virus including wearing face masks, social distancing and maintaining good hygiene, the Post Courier reported.

"At the beginning, we were saying this disease is only for other countries, but it is here now, spreading among us," Manning said.

Manning warned that new variants of the virus are spreading further around the world and appearing more transmissible.

"There is a danger of us having very high infection rates and not having the manpower and facilities to care for our people," he said.

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