The Papua New Guinea government has not approved any trials on a vaccine against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the country.
Controller of the National Pandemic Response David Manning said this in response to Australia’s The Australian newspaper report that a Chinese mining company operating in PNG has claimed to have vaccinated its employees against COVID-19 in an apparent vaccination trial.
“The National Department of Health has not approved any vaccine trails in PNG. Any vaccines imported into PNG must be approved by NDoH and must go through vigorous vaccine trials, protocols and procedures and must be WHO pre-qualified and must be approved for use in PNG by NDoH, " Controller of the National Pandemic Response David Manning said.
According to The Australian, the Chinese government has given the green light for two potential vaccines to be trialed by state-owned firms with employees overseas, and another to be trialed by the nation’s military.
Ramu NiCo, where the vaccines are allegedly given, is run by one of China’s largest state-owned enterprises, the Metallurgical Corporation of China Ltd, is located in Madang Province.
Meanwhile, as of today, Papua New Guinea has recorded a total of 361 positive cases of COVID-19, two of which were reported in the last 24 hours. There was also one death reported in the past 24 hours, bringing its death toll now to 4. The four deaths are all from NCD. All four deaths are male who had underlying comorbidities; all had diabetes while two of them had hypertension.
The number of cases of COVID-19 in the country has surged in the last month, especially in the National Capital District which has to date 245 cases.
Also, a total of 57 persons arrived by air were screened in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of persons that traveled by air into the country since the outbreak to 5,423. Among the 57 new arrivals, 36 came from Brisbane, 12 from China and nine were from Singapore.
David Manning, MBE, DPS, QPM
National Pandemic Response