Mass burial to relieve overflowing Papua New Guinea morgue as Covid cases surge

Authorities in Papua New Guinea have approved a mass burial. This is to relieve pressure on Port Moresbys morgue, where bodies are stacked one upon the other due to Covid-19 cases.
More than 200 bodies were buried as a result of attacks on health workers across the country who took part in vaccinations.

David Manning, National Pandemic Response Coordinator, has authorized the burial of 200 of the more than 300 bodies at the morgue that was designed to accommodate only 60 people, The National newspaper reports.

Powes Parkop, National Capital District Governor, stated that refrigerated containers were installed to store more bodies. A mass burial was planned for this week.

PNG's capital is preparing for a lockdown to cut down on coronavirus deaths and cases. This week, the city was home to 99% of all Covid patients admitted to the general hospital.

Mathias Sapuri, deputy chair of the national health board, stated that a two-week lockdown in PNG was necessary to stop the Covid-19 surge.

He said that the virus stops moving when people stop moving.

Governor Parkop had earlier in the month stated that he would not support any more lockdowns in Port Moresby due to the high cost of the previous ones. However, the recent surge in cases seems to have changed his mind.

He told The National that if the doctors advise me to lock down, I will comply with their instructions.

In an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, other regions in PNG have also implemented curfews and lockdowns.

PNG has confirmed 26731 coronavirus deaths and 329 cases, but there are many more deaths and cases that have not been reported in this nation of nine million.

PNG's vaccine hesitancy is a serious problem and cause of concern. Only 1% of the population have been fully vaccinated.

Community health workers in Lae, the second-largest city, were threatened and harassed last week during a mobile vaccination drive.

The 18 October incident was captured on video, with witnesses throwing rocks at health workers and shouting at them.

It was extremely stressful. Witness Emmanuel Saem Jr said that the public began throwing stones and ran towards the vaccination team with iron rods, sticks and stones.

The crowd shouted at health care workers, saying Karim 666 Chip Goh! (Take away the 666 chips) or Karim microchip Goh!

The incident resulted in no injuries and police were called to disperse the crowd. However, witnesses claim that some mob members intimidated those who wanted the vaccine.

The mobile vaccination awareness drive was stopped after the incident. Vaccinations are no longer offered at Angau General Hospital, the country's second-largest referral hospital, as well as at smaller clinics in suburban areas.

Although the Morobe Provincial Health Authority didn't respond to a request for comment, health workers in the province said that people don't seem to take the virus very seriously.

People aren't observing the new norm. According to Dr Alex Peawi of Angau Hospitals Emergency Hospital, people are too complacent or don't believe Covid-19 exists.

According to the Post Courier, Friday saw a health team administering childhood vaccines in Lae. One suspect believed that they were giving Covid-19 vaccinations.

Morobe health experts fear that Covid-19 cases may continue to increase due to the proximity of the Eastern Highlands Province. This province is currently a Covid hotspot.

The number of Delta variant cases is on the rise in Eastern Highlands, Western Highlands, and Enga. All three provinces have experienced a shortage in supplies and manpower, and hospitals are reducing their services to combat the spread of the disease.

This report was contributed by AAP