PNG outbreak: Queensland deploys medical team

A CRACK medical team from Cairns Hospital has been deployed to assist with exploding COVID-19 cases in Papua New Guinea.

Following 106 new cases there in the past week, the Australian government is assisting by deploying Australian Medical Assistance Teams.

A Queensland Health spokeswoman said the department was committed to supporting the Australian government response and had nominated five clinical staff from across Queensland.

"Three staff have been sent in total, all from Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service," she said.

Meanwhile, concern about containing a COVID outbreak at the remote Ok Tedi gold mine has been raised by a former mine employee.

It's understood Cairns-based FIFO workers have been trapped at the mine site following a 14-day suspension of mining operations and charter flights in and out of Tabubil.

 

The Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea has shut down for 14-days following the infection of seven employees.
The Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea has shut down for 14-days following the infection of seven employees.

Cairns local and former mine worker Terry Hyde said the outbreak had been managed well, according to his PNG sources.

"(But) the big issue is if it gets into the squatters' camp," he said.

"They are all packing in there together and no one would be enforcing COVID rules."

Also of worry to Mr Hyde was the chewing and spitting of betel nut in the highland mining village of Tabubil.

Cairns-based senator Nita Green said the health, safety and welfare of Cairns locals working at the mine needed to be a priority.

"The federal government needs to work closely with PNG authorities to understand the situation at the mine and contact all Australians at Ok Tedi mine to make sure they have all the support and assistance they need," she said.

"If any Cairns residents need assistance, they can contact my office."



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