Important Information on COVID-19
COVID-19 Preparedness & Response in PNG
On 7 January 2020, the Government of China identified a novel coronavirus from a cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown aetiology in Wuhan City, Hubei Province.
The virus has spread throughout China, and has also been identified in a growing number of countries around the world.
Most cases confirmed in other countries as of end of January 2020 have been linked to China through travel history, or close contact with a person with a history of travel to China.
The outbreak was declared a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020.
The situation continues to evolve rapidly in China and internationally, and further spread of the virus should be anticipated.
There are still many unknowns about the virus including the clinical spectrum of disease, its severity and transmissibility.
These factors are critical to enable evidence-informed risk assessments to be conducted, and to determine appropriate and proportional public health responses.
In the absence of this knowledge, countries are encouraged to leverage IHR core capacities and existing national influenza pandemic plans to prepare for multiple scenarios, from importation of cases, containment and mitigation.
The Government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) through the National Department of Health (NDOH) has developed a preparedness and response plan that outlines the strategic components for managing a public health response to COVID-19.
The plan considers priority actions to take in the event of community transmission. This plan is a live document that will be regularly updated based on the evolving situation and as more information is generated about the outbreak.
Risk Assessmeent For Papua New Guinea
As of 28 February 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) has increased the assessment of the risk of spread and risk of impact of COVID-19 to very high at the global level. (Note that the risk assessment is updated regularly based on new information.) The very high risk assessment applies to PNG. For preparedness and response planning purposes, the following factors were also considered in Papua New Guinea:
- PNG is geographically accessible by air, sea and land through its points of entry.
- PNG health system has limited capacity and resources to manage a potential large-scale response.
- Given the high profile nature of the outbreak and with the massive coverage in international and social media, the public risk perception is high. The PNG public is very concerned and has strong opinions on the health measures that need to be in place.
COVID-19 Preparedness Update