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Australia will send medical specialist to Papua New Guinea to help the country respond to a growing COVID-19 outbreak.
Australia's Minister for the Pacific Alex Hawke says up to eight specialists will be deployed next week.
“Now that we have an outbreak of course the government is announcing we're sending an AUSMAT team to Papua New Guinea to help with the P-N-G government's response further due to this concerning rise in cases that we've seen in the last few weeks,” Hawke said.
After PNG asked for assistance, Australia arranged to send a team of medical and crisis response staff to the capital Port Moresby, Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Birmingham said.
The Australian team would help with laboratories, case management, infection control, triage and emergency management and public health, he added.
“The government is planning for a further deployment in consultation with the government of Papua New Guinea and subject to domestic considerations and results of the on ground assessment,” the statement said.
The Pacific nation, which had escaped the infection levels of its neighbours since the crisis escalated in March, has recorded an increase in new cases in the past week, according to data analysis firm Worldometer.
PNG currently has 62 confirmed cases, but government modelling suggest as more than 5000 people may have the virus.
Port Moresby has been placed under stage three restrictions for 14 days, after the country recorded its first suspected COVID-19 death Wednesday.
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