It is important to ensure that everyone follows the preventative measures recommended by the government to avoid being infected by the novella corona virus (COVID-19).

This was the message from the COVID-19 awareness team from the National Capital District Health Authority (NCDHA) that visited the PNG National Research Institute (PNG NRI) Wednesday 19 August 2020.

The team, supported by the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary Community Policing Section headed by Constable Ase Boas, spoke to PNG NRI staff about the interventions to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.

“We (PNG) currently do not have the treatment for COVID-19. Thus, the only way to prevent us from getting infected is to adhere to the preventative measures already in place,” NCDHA Team Leader Nursing Sister Jacky Emova said.

“The measures, under the New Normal (Niupela Pasin), include wear face masks when around others; washing hands with soap and water or use sanitisers, keeping a distance of at least 1.5 metres apart when around people; and, the use of gestures, facial expressions, elbow shake or fist bumps instead of shaking hands”

Ms. Emova stressed that to prevent infection and control the transmission of COVID-19 everyone needs to maintain a strong immune system by eating healthy, getting a lot of rest, do regular exercise and follow the New Normal measures.

“Right now, there is no vaccine, therefore, it is important to follow the preventative measures.”

Responding to a query on stigma, Ms. Emova emphasised that COVID-19 is just like any other existing virus that people know of and there is nothing to fear nor react negatively in any given situation.

“That is why the police are doing their part to protect people’s rights.”

Staff were encouraged to visit testing clinics to get tested, stay at home if they are not feeling well or call the hotline number 1800200 if they are sick and showing symptoms of COVID-19 infection.

PNG NRI Human Resource Manager Walo Wayne, while thanking the team, said as an Institute, we do have both working staff and staff dependents living on the campus, and safety protocols instituted by the Institute are being managed internally, adhering to the New Normal measures being advocated.

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