K45.33M APPROVED, K10 MILLION RELEASED FOR COVID-19 PREPAREDNESS
By Tom KILAVI – YUMI FM News
Sunday 01st March 2020
The National Executive Council has approved K45.33m for the country to prepare and respond to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
The Deputy Prime Minister Davies Steven announced this saying the Govt have in place an Emergency Response Plan that resulted in the immediate release of K10 million of the approved K45.33 million.
DPM Davies says the K10m will be released in the coming days so that all resources and capacity that are required to take care of any confirmed cases are procured and in place.
The Government stands ready to tackle coronavirus in the event that it does enter PNG shores. Deputy Prime Minister Steven said Govt is prepared to take care of those who become infected, and prevent the virus from spreading.
He said NEC has established a COVID-19 Ministerial Committee chaired by the Minister for Health Jelta Wong, whose role is to oversee the emergency preparedness and response of the Government to this outbreak.
The Government’s emergency plans in tackling the COVID-19 includes both in the National and Provincial level.
He said Govt has reactivated the National Emergency Operations Centre at the National Department of Health (NDOH) that had been established during the earthquake
disaster and polio outbreak in 2018 to begin the emergency preparedness and response planning.
“The Emergency Response Plan guides the response. So far, border control and quarantine, surveillance and rapid response team, emergency ambulance, and isolation ward are in place. The quarantine facility will be operational in two to three weeks time”, he said
“We have been screening travelers from countries affected by the COVID-19. So far, more than 287 flights, and more 17,500 inbound travelers have been screened”
“Out of the 17,500 travelers screened, 7 were classified as persons of interest, and samples collected from them were tested at the Institute of Medical Research in Goroka, Eastern Highlands Province”
“All tests were negative for COVID-19”, Deputy PM Steven said.
Prime Minister James Marape further said the Government is working closely with the Chinese Government through the Embassy in Beijing to ensure that students who are still in China are well looked after.
“At the moment they are safe, they are confined, if need be, we can send a plane to lift them off”
“We are managing it very closely, advising parents and citizens, the children in China are looked after well”, PM Marape said.
However, Deputy Prime Minister Davies Steven said the Govt is planning to bring the students home but a plan needs to be put in place to do this with the help of the Government of China.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Steven also urged people to first seek accurate information from authorities such as the National Department of Health and the World Health Organization.
He again urged people to practice hygiene amid concerns on the coronavirus.
“People must practice hand hygiene (wash your hands regularly with soap and water), respiratory hygiene (cover your cough), and food safety (cook food well before eating) as a prevention measure for oneself as well as your family members and your community.”
He also said that people have been urged so stay away from mass gatherings like in Schools and churches as an effective measure that requires strong community support.
The Acting Health Secretary Dr Paison Dakulala also shared similar sentiments in urging people to deal with their own personal hygiene.
“Please don’t be a hero, go on and deal with your personal hygiene now seriously while we don’t have any cases”, he said.
(Picture credited to YUMI FM)