The virus swamps an island nation that had gone largely untouched.

The emergency rooms are heaving, well being care employees are falling sick, and misinformation in regards to the coronavirus and its vaccines is working rife. It has all left Papua New Guinea, a tropical island nation simply north of Australia, within the grip of a deadly crisis, as a tripling of infections over the previous month has swamped an already fragile well being care system.

Papua New Guinea didn’t have a single confirmed coronavirus case within the first few months of the pandemic, and was solely frivolously affected till early this yr. It has now reported greater than 4,100 circumstances, and 39 virus-related deaths, the overwhelming majority of them since mid-February.

About one in 10 well being employees on the nation’s main hospital in Port Moresby, the capital, have examined constructive. In subject hospitals, employees sweating beneath protecting tools are dashing between beds to are likely to the dying. One affected person struggling an bronchial asthma assault died in a hospital parking lot.

“We concern that we’re going to fill all these beds, after which we can have nowhere else to proceed to take care of Covid sufferers,” stated Mangu Kendino, an emergency doctor at Port Moresby Common Hospital. “We’re drained, we’re exhausted, we’re fatigued.”

The disaster in Papua New Guinea is one other reminder that the pandemic is way from over. And it’s the form of downside that public well being specialists have warned about, as rich nations buy up the world’s vaccine stockpiles whereas smaller and poorer nations are left with cap in hand.

“They’ve challenges accessing well being care at the perfect of occasions,” stated Rob Mitchell, an emergency doctor specializing in triage within the Pacific. “I concern that the present case numbers are simply the tip of the iceberg.”

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