Papua New Guinea does not have enough Covid-19 testing kits, the country’s health minister has said. Fewer than 17,500 tests have been conducted across the country since the beginning of the pandemic.
And while PNG’s outbreak remains small by global standards – 517 confirmed cases and seven deaths – it rose rapidly through August and early September, and the actual number of infections is likely to be many times larger than the official figure.
Controller of PNG’s National Pandemic Response, police chief David Manning, said some of PNG’s provinces were not properly conducting tests or sending swabs to central health authorities.
But health minister Jelta Wong said regional authorities were testing as much as they could, but testing kits were limited.
“The testing kits is what we are lacking in at the moment,” Radio NZ reported Wong as saying.
“As you know, the world is fighting for these testing kits at the moment, so we’re in a line. We should get them by the end of this month.”
Manning said a surge in infections in PNG’s crowded capital Port Moresby was particularly concerning. About 40% of the capital’s population live in informal settlements, with little running water, and little ability to socially distance.
“We are all vulnerable to Covid-19. It can affect people of all ages, including the young members of our community. The virus does not discriminate and can strike any member of our community so let us all remain vigilant.”
A 16-year-old Australian student, Mayela Dayet, will address the United Nations general assembly on Wednesday night to present the findings of a survey that shows young women and girls are shouldering a greater economic, domestic and emotional load and working harder during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The study, released by humanitarian organisation Plan International as part of a report called “Halting Lives – The impact of COVID 19 on girls and young women”, surveyed more than 7,000 15-to-24 year-olds across 14 countries:
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