Covid-19 claims 3 lives

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THE coronavirus (Covid-19) has claimed three lives in the last week of last month and an average of 37 positive infections were recorded in the same period, National Control Centre manager Dr Daoni Esorom says.
Dr Esorom said 449 cases were reported last month and with 49 new cases, including a death on Monday, the total number of Covid-19 cases in Papua New Guinea was 1,356 infections with 14 deaths.
He said more than one-third (34 per cent) of PNG’s total infections were reported last month, indicating a surge in infections nationwide.
“The surveillance team has been working hard to capture all new case data coming in from the provinces,” he said.
“Support from the data entry team at the Central Public Health Laboratory (CPHL) has been critical in timely analysis and reporting of cases.
“The surveillance team also worked closely with the National Capital District (NCD) health authority to provide technical support and assistance for the surge response in NCD, including facilitating increased screening and swabbing at health facilities and liaising with the authority to organise contact tracing for all new cases.
“This week, the surveillance team will continue to monitor the situation unfolding across the country and prepare data in a timely and accessible manner to brief key people in the response and keep stakeholders informed.
“Additional analyses, both planned and ad hoc will also be undertaken,” he added.
He said number of people quarantined rose to more than 750 last week after two chartered flights landed from India and Malaysia.
“The authority has started screening duties for the domestic terminal from Feb 22.
“Antigen Rapid Diagnostic Test (AgRDT) validation training has been completed and entry of data and analyses of test sensitivity and specificity is currently ongoing.
“The provincial sites that have been trained and are currently conducting AgRDT validation are: NCD, PMGH, Western, Morobe, East New Britain and Western Highlands,
“There have been 47,278 PCR tests and 6,157 Genexpert tests conducted in PNG since the start of the pandemic.
“The CPHL will a stakeholders meeting on the review and update of the national reference laboratory management strategic implementation plan for strengthening laboratory system (today),” he said.