No lockdown yet for Port Moresby, as health and city authorities plan to address the increase in Covid-19 cases and deaths through an effective medical response and vaccination drive, an official says.
They will also be pushing hard to have people observe the public health safety rules (Niupla Pasin).
National Capital District Governor Powes Parkop, who had been consulting senior doctors, police and business leaders since the weekend on the grim Covid-19 situation, said there would be no lockdown, as envisaged.
However, Deputy National Pandemic Response Controller Dr Daoni Esorom said Controller David Manning could still order a lockdown if the Covid-19 situation got worse.
“After consultation with stakeholders, including the police, we have decided not to have a lockdown, after taking into consideration the impact (on) businesses, transport and schools,” Parkop said.
He said a lockdown would be hard to enforce anyway.
“It’s not possible to enforce the lockdown in full,” he said.
Parkop added that a lockdown would have “serious repercussions on those who relied on day-to-day sales to sustain themselves”.
“Our social and economic situation is very fragile and delicate. Equally fragile and delicate is the health system,” he said.
“The economy has slowed down, unemployment is high, businesses are fragile and teetering on collapsing.” He made the announcement flanked by city manager Bernard Kipit, Dr Esorom, and NCD Provincial Health Authority (NCD PHA) chief executive officer Dr Steven Yennie.
Parkop said they would give the Port Moresby General Hospital a two-month budget of K2.6 million(US$740,000).
“We have also asked the St John Ambulance to give us a budget for two months (to increase beds to 100),” he said.
“The NCD PHA will submit a budget for vaccination, testing and surveillance (to us) for funding.”
There will be a ban on public gatherings of more than 20 people for the next two months. And more vaccination and testing sites will be opened up in Port Moresby.
Dr Esorom said the most important thing was to stop the transmission. “It is a must. We need to cut the transmission,” he said.
“As long as you have people moving, and we have a lot of people moving in NCD, the virus will continue to spread.
“So it you don’t have work in the city, please stay home.
“The PMGH is overflowing with sick and dead people. We need to stop people getting sick. We need to stop filling up the morgue.”
“We need to vaccinate ourselves.
“There is no other way – there is no treatment for the Covid-19,” he said.
Meanwhile, PNG Opposition leader Belden Namah says Papua New Guinea will not be able to achieve herd immunity within a short time-frame.
“Most people will not get the Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine given the (limited) resources available, capacity and terrain of PNG,” he said in a statement.
“The Government must establish evidence-based and science-based responses to this pandemic.
“The Government must not lead our people down an impossible road.
“I strongly maintain the vaccination must be voluntary and not compulsory.
“Our peoples’ rights and freedoms must be respected at all cost.
“The right to life is an absolute right. We are born with it.
“The Prime Minister (James Marape) says his policy is voluntary but gives in to work place safety pressures from the private sector.
“What does he support?
“If the Government wants a ‘no jab, no job’ policy then I call upon all Government and private sector work places to shut down for a month so that the policy is carried out properly.
“I make this call fully aware that the Government has done next to nothing to assist or prepare our people in two years into this pandemic and with more than K6.7 billion(US$1.9 million) borrowings.
Namah urged the public to strictly adhere to the Niupla Pasin.
SOURCE: THE NATIONAL/PACNEWS