By LULU MARK
THE Coronavirus (Covid-19) has claimed another four lives in Delta-hit Western and the number of admissions in Port Moresby General Hospital (PMGH) is also rising.
National Pandemic Response Deputy Controller Dr Daoni Esorom said in a statement yesterday: “There is a surge in Covid-19 cases in the country, including additional deaths reported in Western Province over the weekend.
“This is now Tabubil’s third surge since the outbreak two years ago and this time the hospital has recorded 176 cases as well as 12 deaths.”
PMGH chief executive officer Dr Paki Molumi told The National that 11 Covid-19 patients, including three yesterday, were admitted the past week.
Esorom lamented: “There are mass gatherings for the 46th Independence Day celebrations. We have observed that people are not adhering to Covid-19 public health protocols, like mask-wearing, hand sanitising and physical social distancing.
“Currently, we have a Delta-variant surge in the country. On top of the non-compliance to Covid-19 protocols, there is a high hesitancy for vaccination. I strongly urge people treat the situation seriously and adhere strictly to the protocols.
“We are expecting a very big surge in Delta cases, starting this month, and the mass gatherings with no adherence to Covid-19 protocols will help worsen public health concerns.
“Delta is a new Covid-19 variant which spreads faster and is also deadlier.”
Esorom said the Tabubil health facility also reported that the majority of patients were unvaccinated, including the deaths.
“Like many parts of Papua New Guinea, Western is facing huge issues, such as lack of capacity to test and care for the sick.
“At the moment, our testing has been very low despite the fact that we have been seeing increases in respiratory illnesses in June, July and August in many provinces, notable ones being Morobe, West New Britain, East New Britain and the National Capital District (NCD).,” he added.
Head of NCC Emergency Medical Team (EMT) Dr Gary Nou said this morning that his team was looking at how they could help Western, including deploying an international team.
However, he said, EMTs could only work with the teams on the ground to beef up the ongoing operation which was almost non-existent in Western.
“We can bring in equipment, but there are no nurses. We need nurses to look after the patients. Most of the people are seeking treatment late.
“It is also difficult to know the real situation in Western because testing is low and is mostly done in the Tabubil health facility,” he added.
PMGH emergency physician Dr Scotty Kendelyo, who is also the clinical cluster lead at NCC, also reported that PMGH was also experiencing a surge and its isolation ward was more than 50 per cent occupied, forcing the reopening of the Taurama Acquatic Centre for Covid-19.
By LULU MARK