By MIRIAM ZARRIGA
THE number of Coronavirus (Covid-19) cases is expected to increase in March, according to a modeling by an epidemiological team, says Pandemic Response Controller David Manning.
He told The National that the plan to control the rate of infection was underway as “we get ready to go into the election period”.
“All gatherings of more than 100 persons ceased (from) Jan 14 to Feb 28 (when the common roll updating will be held),” Manning said.
“No approval will be given for any gatherings between those dates.
“We have so many sad examples from around the globe to learn from.”
Manning gave the example of India, which was in the middle of its election campaign period when the Delta variant emerged last year, killing around 400,000 people.
“We only have to refer to India to see what happens when we ignore (the rules),” he said.
Manning said prior approvals given for large gatherings had been revoked.
“These include social events such as clubbing/bar activities, dances, diners, parties, sporting competitions and religious activities such as church and fellowships,” Manning said.
Manning urged private and public bodies to liaise with the “Niupela Pasin” team to formulate standard operating procedures for Covid-19 workplace safety and operations.
He said while the severity of the Omicron variant was lower than Delta, “it spreads faster (with) more people getting sick, putting stress on health resources”.
“We have to do everything we can to ensure this variant does not spread like wildfire because Papua New Guinea does not have the capacity in its health system to respond effectively,” Manning said.
“Prevention is better than cure, and one way is to get yourself vaccinated.
“Statistics show that we have 229,459 people fully vaccinated.
“This shows that the vaccines are safe.”
By MIRIAM ZARRIGA