This was said by Prime Minister James Marape this week when he briefed the nation on the pandemic. At the time, Papua New Guinea had reported 62 cases of which 51 remained active in medical care.
He added that on current number PNG could expect to double in the number of cases every two to three days
"We have conducted close to 10,000 tests, including 535 in the last 24 hours which have revealed 23 confirmed cases, the nation's capital city. We are also continuing to monitor those that present to our hospitals and medical centres with symptoms."
Because of this, PNG has been elevated to stage 3, which in order to lift the country's mitigation and management performance to stop the spread of the virus, across the country.
"Put simply, without urgent and coordinated intervention, numbers will grow out of control. That is why the government has agreed to recommendations from the National Control Centre to implement immediate and urgent measures, including those announced recently in regard to the wearing of face masks in markets and other crowded places and restrictions on flights out of Port Moresby," Marape said.
New stage 3 measures include:
• Shutting down the National Capital District and Port Moresby for 14 days, with a curfew declared under the Pandemic Act, with only essential businesses to operate.
• A curfew will be in place from 10pm to 5am.
• The wearing of face masks will be mandatory in all public places.
• No gathering in public places — limited to maximum of 15 people.
• There will be an immediate ban on all domestic flights from Port Moresby, for an initial period of 14 days.
• Where essential business travel is required, this may only occur after a person has provided evidence of quarantine for 14 days before travel, with the cost to be met by businesses.
• International flights will only be allowed to operate between Brisbane and Cairns and can only be operated by PNG aircraft.
• Nightclubs will close indefinitely.
• There will be a maximum limit of 15 people gathering in public places.
• Sporting activities will be restricted.
• All businesses will be required to implement COVID 19 protocols to ensure adherence to limitations in numbers and social distancing.
• Targeted testing in the NCD will be scaled up.
• Health authorities will be working closely with provincial health authorities to coordinate testing and other support.
• There will be a downsizing of the public service with only staff identified by the Department of Personnel Management as essential required to work.
• Schools will be close down for 14 days.
• No public motor vehicle buses to operate except for taxis service, with masks.
• Church services allowed with restrictive spaces, and mask worn at all times. Allow for double services if possible.