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Papua New Guinea’s Coronavirus Cases Increase

The coronavirus crisis is increasing in Papua New Guinea’s as the Indo-Pacific nation waits in earnest for vaccines to arrive. The nation reported 1,786 nee coronavirus cases in one week and 13 deaths.

Another report by the weekly joint report said that the island-nation reported 5,349 total cases and 49 deaths. It is the eighth consecutive week of increases. Papua New Guinea’s is a forested nation with Fewer than 9 million people that lies about 160 km north of Australia at their closest point. Prime Minister James Marape said that there is uncontrolled community transmission. Kate Schuetze, a Pacific Researcher at Amnesty International said that the nation has very poor health indicators.

Medecins sans Frontieres said that the health system is at the risk of collapsing as health facilities managing COVID-19 are close to capacity and almost too stretched to provide regular basic healthcare. MSF provides medical humanitarian assistance to countries that are in crisis. It said that much health-care staff tested positive for Covid-19, forcing them to quarantine at home. Health facilities managing the outbreak are close to full capacity, resulting in longer waiting times.

According to the report from WHO and the health department, only 7,061 Covid tests were conducted which means 25.29% of those tests returned positive. Large-scale testing remains low across most of the country and there’s a shortage of test kits. It also suggests the actual number of infections across the country may be significantly higher than what is being formally reported. As isolation wards filled up in hospitals, PNG turned a sports complex into a temporary field hospital for Covid-19 patients.

MSF said that it is supporting local health services in Papua New Guinea’s by providing staff and cartridges to analyze samples of polymerase chain reaction tests that are widely used to detect the coronavirus. Almost 40% of the people getting tested at one of the health facilities have Covid-19.

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