Public Health


On 7 January 2020, the Government of China identified a novel coronavirus from a cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown aetiology in Wuhan City, Hubei Province. The virus has spread throughout China, and has also been identified in a growing number of countries around the world. Most cases confirmed in other countries as of end of January 2020 have been linked to China through travel history, or close contact with a person with a history of travel to China.

The outbreak was declared a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020. The situation continues to evolve rapidly in China and internationally, and further spread of the virus should be anticipated.

There are still many unknowns about the virus including the clinical spectrum of disease, its severity and transmissibility. These factors are critical to enable evidence-informed risk assessments to be conducted, and to determine appropriate and proportional public health responses. In the absence of this knowledge, countries are encouraged to leverage IHR core capacities and existing national influenza pandemic plans to prepare for multiple scenarios, from importation of cases, containment and mitigation.

The Government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) through the National Department of Health (NDOH) has developed a preparedness and response plan that outlines the strategic components for managing a public health response to COVID-19. The plan considers priority actions to take in the event of community transmission. This plan is a live document that will be regularly updated based on the evolving situation and as more information is generated about the outbreak.


PNG Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID19 ver17 (2020-02-03) Download
PNG COVID-19 Sitrep External 01(2020-03-06) Download
PNG Situation Report 2 on Preparedness for 2019 n-CoV(2020-01-29) Download
PNG Situation Report 3 on Preparedness for 2019 n-CoV(2020-01-31) Download
PNG Situation Report 4 on Preparedness for 2019 n-CoV(2020-02-04) Download
PNG Situation Report 5 on Preparedness for 2019 n-CoV(2020-02-07) Download
PNG Situation Report 6 on Preparedness for 2019 n-CoV(2020-02-11) Download
PNG Situation Report 7 on Preparedness for COVID-19(2020-02-14) Download
PNG Situation Report 8 on Preparedness for COVID-19(2020-02-18) Download
PNG Situation Report 10 on Preparedness for COVID-19(2020-02-25) Download
PNG Situation Report 11 on Preparedness for COVID-19(2020-02-28) Download
PNG Situation Report 12 on Preparedness for COVID-19(2020-03-06) Download
PNG Situation Report 13 on Preparedness for COVID-19 (2020-03-13) Download


Basic Information Video Download
How it spread Video Download
What is Coronavirus? Video Download
Fighting misinformation against the coronavirus Video Download

Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic

What is Corona Virus Disease or Covid-19?

Covid-19 is a new disease which is very infectious and is caused by one of a group of viruses called corona virus. Already known types of diseases caused by corona viruses are common cold, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) to name a few. Covid-19 stands for corona virus disease 2019.

Symptoms of Covid-19.

What you need to look out for in a person who has contracted covid-19;

  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Dry Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Aches and pain
  • Sore throat
  • Sometimes diarrhea, nausea (feel like voting), or running nose

Mode of Spread of COVID-19 and How to Avoid It

Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:

  • The air by coughing and sneezing.
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands with other person already infected.
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.

You can avoid infecting yourself or others by;

Self-isolation– avoid public gatherings, clubs, markets etc.

Social distancing – it is recommended that you should be at least 2 meters away from other person. This is sufficient distance to avoid the virus jump from one person to another.

Avoid close contact - avoid unprotected contact with sick people (including touching ones eyes, nose or mouth) and with live farm or wild animals, also avoid touching objects and surfaces such as (tables and door handles) contaminated from a person with Covid-19.

Practice food safety – wash your hands between handling raw and cooked food. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, before and after eating, and after going to the toilet.

What to do if you are sick?

Only common sense actions will help reduce risk to you and to others.

If you are sick, stay away from others – that is the most important thing you can do. You should also practice good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene

  • cover your cough and sneeze, dispose of tissues, and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • if unwell, avoid contact with others by staying 2 meters away from people.

At this time, there are no specific vaccines or treatments for COVID-19. However, there are many ongoing clinical trials evaluating potential treatments.

In PNG, any suspected cases can be reported by calling these hotline toll free numbers;

Further information on COVID-19 can be viewed on the World Health Organization (WHO) webpage;


As of 28 February 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) has increased the assessment of the risk of spread and risk of impact of COVID-19 to very high at the global level. (Note that the risk assessment is updated regularly based on new information.) The very high risk assessment applies to PNG. For preparedness and response planning purposes, the following factors were also considered in Papua New Guinea:

  • PNG is geographically accessible by air, sea and land through its points of entry.
  • PNG health system has limited capacity and resources to manage a potential large-scale response.
  • Given the high profile nature of the outbreak and with the massive coverage in international and social media, the public risk perception is high. The PNG public is very concerned and has strong opinions on the health measures that need to be in place.


Papua New Guinea has one important case of COVID-19, to date. Our preparedness measures are based on the 4 scenarios: ALERT (green); CONTAINMENT (orange); MITIGATION (red) and RECOVERY (white). Find out more from the summary here.