Fight against Covid-19 not over

Editorial

FIGURES released from the National Control Centre over the last three months show an increase in the number of coronavirus (Covid-19) cases.
Papua New Guinea reported 59 new cases last Friday, increasing the country’s total cases to 1,029 from 970 on Thursday.
On Sunday, PNG reported eight new cases increasing the country’s total cases to 1,056.
Globally, the total confirmed cases of the Covid-19 has reached 110,609,979, including 225,201 new cases reported.
The death toll is 2,452,510 of which 6,502 were reported in the last 24 hours as of Sunday.
Alarm bells should have been ringing with news of a new wave of the Covid-19 in the world the past months.
The fight to contain the Covid-19 pandemic is global.
All nations are working together on this. It was for everyone’s benefit that safety measures were put in place – from social distances to getting into crowded areas and the simplest reminder of personal hygiene.
The message of practicing hand hygiene (wash your hands regularly with soap and water), respiratory hygiene (cover your cough) and social distancing are PNG’s Covid-19 protocol, unfortunately they are not being practised.
Because PNG has not seen many terminal cases, complacency crept in with the no-care attitude.
Let’s be honest, a lot of our people don’t have much education and are gullible to whatever information is spread.
Two glaring areas of concern that popped up when PNG went into lockdown last year due to the outbreak.
The first is the need to disseminate accurate information. When there is no information flowing, people will be susceptible to rumours and that does not help anyone.
What our people needed then and right now is accurate, consistent and regular information.
How we communicate about the Covid-19 is critical in supporting people to take effective action to help combat the disease and to avoid fuelling fear and stigma.
Use simple language and avoid clinical terms.
The way we communicate can affect the attitude of others.
Another is the failing health facilities and system.
PNG does not have the capacity to deal with this virus if there is an outbreak.
The country has less than 500 doctors and less than 3,000 nurses for a population well above 8 million.
What many did not understand was, the Government’s preventive measures put in place to control and prevent any further spreading of the virus.
The enforcing of those measures should never have been relaxed.
Today, with the spike, we are going back into the reactive mode. We have reported the virus will not move unless people move it.
When we stop moving, the virus stops moving.
For rapidly growing urban centres where crowds of people are interacting daily, the need for personal hygiene and regard for other people’s health are disregarded.
It is for everyone’s benefit that these measures were being put in place – from social distancing to getting into crowded areas and the simplest reminder of personal hygiene.
The spread can be slowed, public health professionals say, if people practice social distancing by avoiding public spaces and generally limiting their movement.
For now, we need to slow down the spread so that not many people will go to the hospital at the same time.

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