New Caledonia extends lockdown – covid death toll now 24

A facemasks compulsory sign at Tontouta Airport
A facemasks compulsory sign at Tontouta International Airport ... a ban on people entering New Caledonia without being vaccinated against covid-19. Image: Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes

RNZ Pacific

The New Caledonian government has extended the current lockdown as well as the curfew, until October as the covid-19 pandemic worsens.

On Thursday, seven deaths from covid-19 were recorded, the heaviest daily toll since the discovery of the first indigenous cases of the disease on September 6.

It brings the death toll to 24 since September 6, announced by President Louis Mapou, during a joint speech with the French High Commissioner, Patrice Faure.

NZ President Louis Mapou
President Louis Mapou … announced New Caledonia’s 24th covid-19 death. Image: Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes

A total of 211 people are in hospital, including 29 in intensive care.

Authorities are extremely worried by the current situation which is why lockdown has been extended until October 4.

The 9 pm to 5 am curfew has also been extended until the same date.

President Mapou said: “We must not relax our efforts … to gradually recover a social life that would allow New Caledonia to relaunch itself from October 4.

“This fight is the fight for life. It requires a lot of sacrifices.”

Due in particular to the “risk of spreading the virus”, the representative of France “refuses to take the risk of endangering the population.”

High Commissioner in New Caledonia, Patrice Faure
French High Commissioner in New Caledonia Patrice Faure … refusing to take the “risk of endangering the population”. Image: RNZ/The Pacific Journal

Faure also stressed that “given the violence of comments observed on social networks”, this ban also aims to “avoid excesses that could endanger the organisers, participants or passers-by”.

The public prosecutor had indicated earlier in the day that prosecution would be initiated — especially for death threats made online against doctors publicly supporting vaccination.

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

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