New Caledonia begins two-week lockdown in new covid-19 outbreak

Noumea's Tontouta International Airport
Noumea's Tontouta International Airport ... third New Caledonian lockdown. Image: TVNC1

RNZ Pacific

New Caledonia has detected three cases of Covid-19 in the community and ordered a two-week lockdown from midday today.

The three cases are not connected and involve people who have not travelled, suggesting the virus is circulating in the community.

Territorial President Louis Mapou said investigations had been launched immediately to identify contacts and the chain of transmission.

One of the cases is an unvaccinated person who had already been in hospital in Noumea.

The second infection was picked up in a vaccinated and asymptomatic traveller at a pre-departure check at the international airport in Noumea ahead of a flight to Wallis and Futuna, which has subsequently been cancelled.

New Caledonian President Louis Mapou
New Caledonian President Louis Mapou … television address last night over strict new covid-19 controls. Image: PIF

The third case is an individual who fell ill on the island of Lifou and was flown to the main island’s hospital in Noumea and placed in intensive care.

Territorial President Louis Mapou addressed New Caledonians on the strict lockdown details last night in a joint television statement with French High Commissioner Patrice Faure.

Schools in the Southern province had already been closed yesterday for two weeks.

New Caledonia had its first outbreak in the community in March and managed to eliminate the virus with a month-long lockdown.

With the borders largely closed, anyone arriving must spend two weeks in a government-run quarantine facility.

Last week, the territory’s Congress voted to make covid-19 vaccinations compulsory for adults by the end of the year, triggering a rally on Saturday by thousands opposed to the measure.

Until today, New Caledonia had recorded 136 covid-19 cases but no fatalities.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

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