OK Tedi Mining Limited (OTML) advises that it has recorded seven positive COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours – the first positive cases recorded in Tabubil.

The company said the incident occurred despite Ok Tedi implementing a shutdown of all charter flights in and out of Tabubil on Tuesday July 28, 2020. This action was taken in response to the escalation of positive cases in Port Moresby, and with intent of protecting its workforce, community and operation.

“The source of transmission is a person who travelled from Port Moresby to Kiunga on Friday July 31, 2020 on a commercial airline. Unfortunately, one of the positive cases in Tabubil is an employee who inadvertently caught the virus from a close contact of the Kiunga traveller,” OTML stated.

“The employee is currently working in our operations, travelling to and from work on buses. It is likely that more people have been infected, giving rise to an unacceptable risk of accelerated transmission within the Ok Tedi workforce.

“Consequently, the company has taken the decision to immediately suspend operations for at least 14 days to limit further transmission and allow contact tracing, isolation and testing procedures to be implemented. If effective, we plan to recommence our operations with some confidence that transmission of the virus has been contained. A key consideration in the decision is the duty of care we have to our workforce.”