Latest covid-19 reports roundup across the Pacific

Omicron in the Pacific
Omicron outbreaks in the Pacific ... updates from Papua New Guinea to Tahiti. Image:

RNZ Pacific

Several hundred more cases of covid in Solomon Islands … Kiribati records first covid death …nearly 12,000 in isolation in New Caledonia … French Polynesia records first covid death in nearly four months … Federated States of Micronesia calls a halt to flights from neighbouring Guam … a partial border re-opening in the Northern Marianas … and Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape says he is “doing well” while self-isolating at home from a covid-19 infection.

Several hundred more cases of covid in Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands recorded another 349 cases of covid 19 in the 24 hours to yesterday morning.

Health Minister Culwick Togamana said this took the number of people contracting the virus since the outbreak began last month to 3667.

He said the majority of the most recent cases had been recorded in Honiara where he said there was now very high community transmission.

Kiribati records first covid death
Kiribati has announced its first covid-19 death and 207 new cases in the community.

There are now almost 2000 positive infections, with more than 50 percent of those recorded in the last five days.

The Ministry of Health said the victim was an 80-year-old woman who had been hospitalised at an isolation centre.

The ministry said the woman had only received the first dose of her covid-19 vaccination.

Another woman, who is over 60-years-old, has been admitted and is being monitored at the Bikenibeu Isolation Centre.

The government is advising people to “take extra care and look after their elderly parents and relatives.”

Nearly 12,000 in isolation in New Caledonia
New Caledonia has recorded a further 2343 covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, raising the number of active cases to nearly 12,000.

38 people are now in hospital, including two in intensive care.

The spread of the omicron variant started a month ago and is yet to peak.

Sixty six percent of the population is vaccinated.

Since September, there have been more than 30,000 recorded infections.

French Polynesia records first covid death in four months
French Polynesia has recorded 1058 new cases of covid-19 over the last 72 hours taking the total to 2974.

One death has been recorded — the first since October, taking the death toll to 637.

More than a third of the covid-19 cases are the omicron variant.

Four people are in hospital and one person in ICU.

The proportion of the population vaccinated is 78.6 percent.

FSM halts incoming repatriation flights
The Federated States of Micronesia has indefinitely stopped all incoming repatriation flights from Guam.

FSM’s Covid-19 Taskforce said the move was in response to the high number of coronavirus infections in the US Territory.

In a statement, the taskforce said it was essential for FSM to improve its vaccination rates before restarting flights to bring back citizens stranded in its neighbouring Guam.

The government said it would provide assistance for citizens who are stuck in Guam, but not provide further details at this stage.

Covid-19 vaccines are mandatory on the islands of FSM — meaning all citizens residing in the FSM must be vaccinated.

FSM’s public health emergency has been extended until the end of May.

Partial border reopening in the CNMI
The Northern Marianas has reopened its borders for fully vaccinated people.

The changes to the border protocols were made possible with 99 percent of CNMI’s eligible population now fully vaccinated, and 53 percent having had booster shots.

CNMI’s Covid-19 Taskforce said all travellers entering the territory by air or sea would no longer be tested on arrival.

Unvaccinated travellers, however, will be required to quarantine at home and get tested at a community based testing site five days after arrival.

All visitors to the Northern Mariana Islands will also need to complete a mandatory health declaration and upload their vaccination status.

Authorities say the health and safety of residents remain the top priority of the government.

The CNMI has recorded more than 6300 cases and 23 deaths.

PNG leader ‘doing well’ in covid recovery
Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape says he is “alright” and “doing well” as he self-isolates at home from a Covid-19 infection.

Marape had to cut short his visit to China after he tested positive for coronavirus in Beijing last week.

In a statement yesterday, Marape said “there is nothing seriously wrong with me” and that “vaccination has really helped”.

He said he would be taking a second covid-19 test tomorrow and depending on results would provide an update on Friday on when he would resume his responsibilities.

His deputy Sam Basil is acting prime minister while Marape recovers.

The prime minister is urging fellow PNG citizens to get vaccinated.

PNG has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the world, with less than 3 percent of the population covered.

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

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