Samples of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) tests will be sent to Melbourne on Monday for genomic sequencing to determine the presence of the Omicron variant in the country, a health official says.
Covid-19 National Control Centre (N CC) incident manager Dr Melinda Susapu told The National that because of the mass movement and gathering of people and families during the festive period, a surge was expected.
She said regarding the highly transmissible Omicron variant that was spreading in neighbouring countries, it was only after the results came back from Melbourne when they would confirm its presence in PNG.
Dr Susapu urged people to get vaccinated to protect themselves.“
All individuals eligible for the Covid-19 vaccination must consider getting vaccinated to prevent hospitalisations, deaths and adding unnecessary stress on the limited healthcare workforce and resources,” she said.
“Vaccines still provide protection from variants of concern like Delta and Omicron.
“We have had 24 months of lessons learnt during the pandemic response and systemic challenges identified, so this year will be a better year to look at addressing some of these systemic challenges and retaining capacity to sustain the response in any further outbreaks.”
Dr Susapu said the number of reported Covid-19 cases had been low from the middle of December onwards because of low or no testing done during the festive period due to a scale-down of services when healthcare workers took leave or were given a much needed break from work.
“Hence, we can’t say there’s a reduction in the Covid-19 cases or there’s no community transmission.”
She said provincial health authorities were still reporting during the Government shut-down period for Christmas and New Year holidays.
The National / Statement / PNG health Watch
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