Pacific Update: 147 new coronavirus cases confirmed across the region

Pacific Update
Pacific Update with Barbara Dreaver. Graphic: TVNZ

PACIFIC UPDATE: By Barbara Dreaver of TVNZ

There are now 147 positive cases across seven countries in the Pacific region and four deaths.

In Guam, cases continue to grow, with the count now at 77, five of them health workers.

The island nation is facing its own crisis on land, with issues brewing at its port, where a Covid-19 stricken USS Theodore Roosevelt has more than 70 positive cases among its 7000 crew.

READ MORE: More Barbara Dreaver Pacific Update reports

Watch Barbara Dreaver’s Pacific Update for 2 April 2020. Video: TVNZ

Authorities have agreed to allow those who have tested positive to use nearby motels for quarantine, but the captain of the US Navy vessel has been begging for help for the rest of his crew, saying his sailors do not need to die.

Now navy officials are looking in to how they can get sailors off the vessel, with 10 percent of the crew to stay behind and manage critical systems on board.

It is bad news for neighboring Northern Marianas, with six confirmed cases including one death through community transmission.

These new cases include a 14-year-old girl as well as two people over the age of 60.

In the local hospital there are fears their health system, serving a population of around 55,000 people, wouldn’t be able to handle an outbreak.

All schools have been closed in the country and a curfew imposed for the public until next year.

5 Rapa Nui cases
On Rapa Nui, Easter Island, five people have so far tested positive for the virus though it’s believed that all the cases came from the same household.

The island has been on lockdown and residents are only allowed outside for essentials between 5 am and 2 pm.

In the Cook Islands, wage subsidies have been announced starting from Monday, April 6. Cash grants will also be available and welfare payments have been paid out until April 16.

Minister of Finance Mark Brown says a payment system of this magnitude has never been done before in the history of the Cook Islands.

Tonga, which remains in lockdown, is scrambling to prepare for potential Covid-19 cases due to limited supplies of medical equipment and protective gear.

The government has refused to let an aircraft carrying medical supplies from China land, so donated items will instead be shipping from Fiji.

While Samoa has closed its schools, it is offering alternative ways of learning.

A government digital channel will be used by the education ministry to deliver programmes to students.

Local radio station 2AP is doing the same thing. Schedules can be found on the ESC website and their Facebook page.

Barbara Dreaver is Pacific correspondent of Television New Zealand. Her Pacific Update is aired daily. Today’s report is embedded by the Pacific Media Centre with permission.

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