The Controller of the PNG COVID-19 National Pandemic Response David Manning and two members of his family have tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently in isolation.
Mr Manning said that his COVID-19 results including those of the two members of his family were confirmed on Saturday 20 February.
Mr Manning said, “Given the nature of my job as the Controller and the high level of exposure this was bound to happen sooner or later.
“As per COVID-19 protocols we are now in isolation. The only people who will have access to us will be the medical teams from the National Department of Health.
“The Surveillance and Monitoring team of NDOH have also begun contact tracing as well. All those people whom I have had contact with in the recent past will be tested as well.”
Mr Manning said that he has always been impressing upon the need for citizens to do COVID-19 tests so that they can know their status and protect their family.
“I have been telling people to be tested for COVID-19 and as the Controller I had to take the test. I am glad I did so I am now taking measures to protect my family.
“I urge everyone to go to your nearest health centre and get tested. It is by knowing your status you can then take steps to protect your loved ones, especially the most vulnerable including the old and those with existing medical conditions.
“Do not be afraid. COVID-19 is like getting the flu but it is five times worse and lasts a bit longer. Being tested positive for COVID-19 is not a death sentence. Statistics have indicated most people have recovered from COVID-19,” Mr Manning said.
Meanwhile the Controller expressed serious concerns about the low number of COVID-19 tests being done in PNG.
“Our COVID-19 response is more than 12 months in place but we have only tested about 50,000 people. This is roughly 0.5 per cent of the PNG population. I want to see more tests being done around the country so that we can have a fair idea of where the pandemic is in PNG and take measures to mitigate and contain it,” Mr Manning said.
In conclusion Mr Manning reminded citizens to be vigilant and strictly follow all the COVID-19 health protocols including the wearing of face masks, social distancing, avoiding crowds, coughing into elbows and washing or sanitizing of hands.