COVID-19 Delta variant reported in PNG

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A single positive COVID-19 case with the Delta mutation has been detected in Papua New Guinea.

Deputy Controller of the PNG COVID-19 National Pandemic Response Dr Daoni Esorom confirmed a 65-year-old Philippine national is in isolation at the Pacific Interntional Hospital after testing positive with the variant.

The patient is the captain of the cargo ship, the Grand Tajima. The Grand Tajima departed from the Banjarmasin Port, Kalimanta Province, in Indonesia, on 26 June. The captain became unwell while at sea, and the ship arrived in Port Moresby on 07 July, 2021.

Dr Daoni said because the ship had previously docked in countries that have known cases of COVID-19 Delta strain – additional quarantine precautions were taken with this case. The ship’s captain was escorted under strict quarantine controls to the Pacific International Hospital where he tested positive.

“As an additional precaution, six people who accompanied the captain to shore on the pilot boat, also went into immediate quarantine. Five of these people now in quarantine are Papua New Guineans, and one is from the Philippines,” Dr Daoni said.

The Deputy Controller said all six have so far tested negative to COVID-19, and they will continue to be retested. The ship remains at anchor, off-shore outside Port Moresby and is in quarantine.

Dr Daoni said the Grand Tajima cargo ship arrived in PNG waters with a crew of 16 people. Since the arrival of the ship, six additional crew members have tested positive with COVID-19.

“As we all watch the number of deaths continue to rise in Fiji, in India and right around the world, we should take this as a wakeup call for us all to vaccinate. The only way for our people to survive COVID-19 is through vaccination,” he said.