50 French police who have returned from Polynesia test covid positive

The covid-19 positive testing French gendarmes were part of a group of 82 police from Tarbes who had just returned home. Image: Radio One

Pacific Media Centre Newsdesk

French authorities say 50 gendarmes who had been deployed in French Polynesia have tested positive to covid-19 after their return to France, reports Tahiti’s Radio One.

The police were part of a group of 82 from Tarbes who had just returned home, the prefecture in the Hautes-Pyrenees department announced.

The news comes as covid begins to surge again in metropolitan France with many more young people testing positive.

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The Tarbes police have been placed in isolation in their barracks and contact tracing has begun.

Media reports said that as soon as they returned from French Polynesia on August 7, several gendarmes presented suspicious symptoms.

As a result, the whole group was subjected to screening tests.

They were deployed to Tahiti from May 22 to August 5, 2020, and were based at Faa’a gendarmerie barracks near the international airport.

Six more cases in French Polynesia
Meanwhile, RNZ reports that French Polynesia has recorded another six covid-19 cases, bringing the tally in the second wave to 77.

The government said two of the infected people were in hospital care.

It said 11 cases were imported, with the remainder being local transmissions, mainly linked to a rugby party in a restaurant in the capital Pape’ete – the Au Piment Rouge or Red Pepper restaurant.

A further lockdown has been ruled out by the authorities.

Employers said they backed the stance while the government had met church leaders and encouraged social distancing to curb the spread of the virus.

Media reports said two schools were closed because of suspected covid-19 cases among staff.

A month ago, French Polynesia abolished mandatory quarantine requirements for international arrivals.

The first wave saw 62 covid-19 cases – none of which were fatal.

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