Police Commissioner and Controller of the PNG COVID-19 National Pandemic Response Mr David Manning said as being discussed and agreed last year by the National Control Centre, testing will have to be scaled back to allow the PNG Government pandemic response to focus on rolling out the vaccination program.
Mr Manning said the arrival of the vaccines (AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, and soon the Johnson &Johnson vaccines) has allowed the pandemic response team to make that transition to not only focus on the vaccination program but expedite the PNG Government strategy to implement and return to the New Normal or “Niupela Pasin”.
Mr Manning said, “Similarly to strategies employed by the health system in prevention of TB, Malaria, HIV where we saw greater coordination and sustainability of preventative and support measures to deal with these diseases.
“It is a foregone conclusion that COVID-19 is amongst our midst, we continue to implement containment strategies and now our efforts are further bolstered by the availability of a number of vaccines.
“In as far as testing is concerned we will continue to test but at the health facility setting. Just like any other disease should medical attention be required and based on symptoms presented by a patient a medical practitioner may advise a COVID-19 test.
“In the near future a similar arrangement such as the Voluntary Counseling and Testing set up will be introduced to selected health facilities to test for COVID-19. This is very much part of our “Niupela Pasin”.
“A very real concern for us at this point is the new variants of COVID-19 that exist in our region. These variants are highly contagious and have been proven to be deadly (as witnessed in India).
We cannot profess to be acting in the best interest of our peoples and country by ignoring this threat and simply not doing anything within reason to avoid these deadly variants coming into our country.
“God willing we will continue to survive the pandemic but it requires us to respond as a unified people as one nation,” Mr Manning said.