PNG capital city in lockdown as COVID-19 cases spike

Source: Xinhua| 2020-07-28 10:52:12|Editor: huaxia

SYDNEY, July 28 (Xinhua) -- The capital of Papua New Guinea (PNG), Port Moresby has been placed in a 14-day lockdown as of Tuesday, with only essential businesses to operate to help stop rapidly rising COVID-19 cases.

On Sunday the country recorded the largest daily increase of 23 new infections, taking the national total to 62.

Prime Minister James Marape announced that the lockdown would also include a curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., mandatory wearing of face masks in public places, and limits of 15 people on public gatherings.

Schools will be closed for the 14-day period, and public transport services will stop operating excluding taxis, while nightclubs will remain closed.

Domestic flights out of Port Moresby will also be suspended for 14 days, while international flights will be limited to the Australian cities of Brisbane and Cairns and only operated by local carriers.

Testing will also be scaled up and targeted, which Marape said, based on expert modelling will likely reveal significantly more cases already in the community.

"We have conducted close to 10,000 tests, including 535 in the last 24 hours which have revealed 23 confirmed cases in the nation's capital city," Marape said.

"Based on current numbers, we can expect to see a double in the number of cases every two to three days."

Marape urged PNG citizens to remain calm and cooperate as the country is facing it's most imminent threat of widespread outbreak since the pandemic began.

"By washing your hands, social distancing, and staying home unless it is essential, all of us can play our part in stopping the virus from spreading," he said. Enditem