I want to assure the community that the Morobe Provincial Health Authority and the team of staff and clinicians that we are doing everything they can to prepare for cases of coronavirus.
While we have not yet had a confirmed case in either Morobe or PNG, we should all be taking this situation very seriously, and taking every precaution we can to prevent spread within our community.
In fact, we should be acting as if the virus is already here. We are advising Morobe residents, businesses and organisations to consider cancelling events and gatherings.
You should practice social distancing, work from home if you are able to, or even talk to your employer about the possibility of returning to your village, where outsiders are less likely to visit.
Take everyday actions that are proved to prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses like coronavirus.
Those include avoid shaking hands, avoiding close contact with people who are sick; avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands; washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
The symptoms are high fever, dry cough, shortness of breath and are very similar to other seasonal illnesses like the common cold and influenza.
Stay home if you have a fever, cough or sniffles. There is no cure for this virus, so coming to the hospital with mild symptoms will not help. You will expose others and clog up our health system, which may soon be at maximum capacity. Please come see us if you are short of breath, lethargic, losing consciousness, or any other severe symptoms including a very high temperature.
We will do everything we can to save your life. And we're pretty good at what we do.
Please do not steal our masks and gloves. Our supply is not endless, is running low, and we need them more than anyone.
You may have heard the term ‘Flatten the Curve' and that is our goal. We want to avoid a scenario in which there is a surge of cases that could threaten to overwhelm our healthcare resources and system.
I urge everyone to stay calm and not panic, but to take this situation seriously and remember to support one another as much as we can. I also encourage all residents to visit both the Angau and National Department of Health Facebook pages for regular updates and information on this evolving situation.
Please be nice to us in the emergency department. Remember, we risk our lives for you. We risk ourselves and risk exposing our families to take care of you.