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By Patricia Kamo in Port Moresby

A bus driver in Papua New Guinea’s capital Port Moresby says it is hard to force passengers to wear masks when they walk in.

It is one of the measures put in place after the lifting of the country’s 14-day restrictions.

Driver Mark Duma, of Nebilyer in Western Highlands, told The National daily newspaper that they were doing their best to comply with the orders given but it was up to the people to cooperate and follow the rules as well.

READ MORE: PNG announces record number of covid cases

Duma described the challenge as the Papua New Guinea government announced a record 55 new covid-19 cases, taking the national total to 287.

He said they could only do so much in ensuring that passengers complied but they could not force them to wear masks.

“We are providing a service, and with covid-19 here, they must also wear masks for their safety, as well other people’s safety,” he said.

Bus driver Gordon Wilimbu, also of Tambul-Nebilyer, said he was wearing a mask himself to set an example.

No sign of traffic officers
Bus stop wardens from the Pacific Corporate Security at Tabari bus stop said there was no sign of the Road Traffic Authority enforcement officers yesterday.

They were present there only to ensure public safety and stop petty crimes.

RTA chief executive officer Nelson Terema said enforcement units had been sent out to make sure bus operators were following the new rules.

Rebecca Kuku of The National reports that a further 55 covid-19 cases have been confirmed, taking the national total to 287, according to acting Health Secretary Dr Paison Dakulala.

He said the country was well over the 200 mark and nearing the level four alert stage.

Dr Dakulala, the Deputy National Pandemic Response Controller, said 17 cases were confirmed on Tuesday and 88 yesterday.

17 cases across Port Moresby
“All the 17 cases on Tuesday are from all over the city and shows that there is a community transmission,” he said.

They were from June Valley, ATS, Tokarara, Badili, Erima, Kaugere, Sabama, Boroko, two in Hohola and six in Wanigela-Koki.

“One is a staff of the Department of Health, another is a NCDC staff and one is a Filipino,” he said.

Dr Dakulala said there were 19 beds still available at the Rita Flynn isolation center.

“We have 49 beds there. So far there has been 30 patients isolated there – 27 were mild and only three were severe.

“Ten were discharged and three new patients were admitted there [yesterday]. So there are 19 beds available.”

He said there were six confirmed cases at the Port Moresby General Hospital.

Dr Dakulala said from the 287 cases, 212 were active cases.

“So far, the virus has been found in NCD which has 224 cases, Central with five, Western with 47, Morobe with four, East New Britain with two, and one each in New Ireland, Autonomous Region of Bougainville, Eastern Highlands, Southern Highlands and West Sepik.”

The Pacific Media Centre republishes The National articles with permission.

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