(CNN)Reva-Lou Reva is worried. For the first time he can remember, he says hospitals around the Pacific Island nation of Papua New Guinea (PNG) are so overburdened they are closing their doors to patients.
This country only has about 500 doctors for 9 million people. Now it's dealing with a Covid outbreak
"This is very frightening, to know that you don't have any medical facilities open, or very limited, and you cannot easily access them because of the restriction," says Reva, 48, PNG assistant country director of program support for humanitarian non-profit CARE International. "I'm breathless, I can't explain how difficult it is."
Until recently, PNG had largely managed to stave off a major coronavirus outbreak. At the end of February, the country had only reported 1,275 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.
But over the past month, cases have more than tripled. PNG has now reported at least 4,660 Covid-19 cases and 39 related deaths, including that of MP Richard Mendani, who died age 53 earlier this month, according to a Radio New Zealand report. On Friday, the country reported 560 new infections -- its highest for a single day -- with Prime Minister James Marape admitting there is "rampant community transmission."