This Island Nation Had Zero Covid Cases as of June. Now It’s Overwhelmed.

“They’re our family. They’re our friends. They’re our neighbors. They’re our partners,” Scott Morrison, Australia’s prime minister, stated final week. “This is in Australia’s interests, and it is in our region’s interests,” he added.

Covax, a global health initiative designed to make entry to inoculations extra equal, started rolling out doses of vaccines to growing nations final month, and it has stated it is going to ship 588,000 to Papua New Guinea by June.

But in some circumstances, wealthier nations have did not honor contracts, decreasing the quantity of doses the initiative should purchase, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director of the World Health Organization, stated in a press release final month. He warned that the pandemic wouldn’t finish till everybody was vaccinated.

“This is not a matter of charity,” he stated. “It’s a matter of epidemiology.”

Until then, officers in Papua New Guinea might be left to fight not solely the virus itself but in addition a tide of misinformation concerning the pathogen and the vaccines, carried largely by means of social media channels.

“Even for the educated health worker, it’s causing a lot of doubt,” stated Dr. Nou, the Port Moresby-based doctor, who has carried out a survey of well being care staff’ views concerning the pandemic.

Some public well being specialists stated they fearful that the redirection of sources to combat the coronavirus might come at a deadly value to these with different extreme well being situations, such malaria or tuberculosis. Papua New Guinea has some of the highest rates of tuberculosis in the world.

“It’s not good enough to just respond to Covid and then have someone die of another cause,” stated Dr. Suman Majumdar, an infectious illnesses specialist on the Burnet Institute, an Australian medical analysis facility. “We have feared the worst,” he added, “and this is happening.”

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