New Caledonia’s covid-19 outbreak continues to spread with almost 10,000 active cases.
This includes 1289 new infections detected over the preceding 24 hours.
Twenty five people are in hospital as the authorities have reopened some hotel facilities as temporary care centres.
About 67 percent of the total population of 272,000 is fully vaccinated.
Last week, Paris declared a health emergency in New Caledonia but the French High Commission in Noumea decided against imposing another lockdown.
Some restrictions were introduced after last month’s detection of the omicron variant, limiting the size of meetings and upholding mask wearing obligation.
Protest over masks in schools
Defying the policy, hundreds of people demonstrated on Saturday to show their opposition to mask wearing obligations in schools.
Since last Tuesday, antigen tests are no longer free but cost a minimum $US27.
The change upset some traditional leaders in the Loyalty Islands, who then demanded the suspension of the health pass, needed to board flights.
The dispute briefly closed the airport on Lifou, and tests for flights to and from Noumea are now free again.
In September, the territory’s Congress passed a law making vaccinations mandatory, but its application has been repeatedly deferred and is now not expected to be enforced before the end of the month.
This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.