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Covid-19 in the Pacific

Monday 14 March 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Pacific Islands, Regional


Covid-19 in the Pacific
Photo: RNZ

Solomons' figures soar; Vanuatu confirms a Covid-19 patient is critically ill; Medical staff test positive in American Samoa; Over 200 active cases in the Cook Islands; frontline staff test positive in Samoa, and more.

Solomons' figures soar

The latest Covid-19 figures from Solomon Islands show there were 465 new cases reported in the past weekend.

This takes the total number of cases since January to maore than 9,000.

There have been 120 deaths related to covid infections, according to the Ministry of Health and Medical Servicies.

Vanuatu confirms a Covid-19 patient is critically ill

Vanuatu is reporting 42 new cases of Covid-19, taking the country's total since the beginning of 2022 to 252.

A first community case was reported on 4th March, leading to concerns of large scale community transmission.

The 42 new cases are on Efate, where there are 27 cases, and also in Shefa province and on Santo.

No deaths have been reported but there is one critically ill person in intensive care in Port Vila hospital.

Medical staff test positive in American Samoa

American Samoa now has 527 reported cases of Covid-19 in the community.

51 new cases were confirmed after tests were conducted at Department of Health clinics and LBJ Hospital over the weekend.

Acting Chief of Staff for LBJ Hospital Dr Akapusi Ledua reported a physician from LBJ Hospital had been admitted to the Covid ward - one of four doctors among 11 staff members of the hospital who have tested positive.

80.9 percent of the territory's population is fully vaccinated.

As Covid-19 continues to spread across Tutuila health officials are encouraging people to stock up or prepare for when one family member becomes positive.

Federal medical personnel are on island helping the territorial health authorities's response.

Over 200 active cases in the Cook Islands

There are now more than 200 active cases of Covid-19 in the Cook Islands.

95 people have recovered and the total number of Covid cases now stands at 243.

Last week the Cook Islands Government announced supervised R-A-T 24 hour pre-departure testing will soon replace PCR testing.

The 10 days stand down before travelling to Rarotonga from New Zealand is also set to be scrapped.

MIQ and restriction on entry for unvaccinated Cook Islanders and permanent residents will also be removed soon.

Frontline staff test positive in Samoa

Two frontline staff - a driver and a health worker - have tested positive for Covid-19 in Samoa.

The National Emergency Operation Committee has confirmed the latest cases were identified in quarantine after follow-up Covid tests of close contacts of the health worker who tested positive on March 11.

There are now 15 cases of Covid-19 in quarantine at Samoa's border since passengers tested positive after a repatriation flight arrived from Auckland on March 6.

The two latest cases are close contacts of the health worker who tested positive on Friday and they have been transferred to the isolation ward at the hospital at Moto'otua.

Samoa is on level one of a state of emergency and the public is encouraged to wear masks, practice social distancing, and wash hands regularly.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry will halt its Covid-19 vaccination rollout for people aged 18 and above from next month.

The Samoa Observer reports the country's deputy director-general of public health, Tagaloa Dr Robert Thomsen said the nationwide AstraZeneca vaccination campaign has been ongoing for a year and health workers "need to rest".

Tonga's prime minister tests positive

Tonga's Prime Minister Hu'akavameiliku Siaosi Sovaleni has tested positive for Covid-19.

A media statement issued by Tonga Government said the Prime Minister his Covid symptoms are mild and he is now in isolation with members of his immediate family.

Tonga's Prime Minister Hu'akavameiliku
Tonga's Prime Minister Hu'akavameiliku Photo: RNZI/ Koro Vaka'uta

Tonga's lockdown rules require a mandatory two-week isolation period.

In the statement Hu'akavameiliku media said they are "adjusting our lives and affairs as we learn to live with Covid-19 and I will continue to serve His Majesty, Government and our people during my time in isolation."

Hu'akavameiliku has been double vaccinated and boosted.

New Caledonia loosens some Covid-19 measures

New Caledonia has dropped the need to use a health pass for all venues and events except health care facilities as the incidence of Covid-19 has continued to decline.

Masks are no longer required to be worn in public and as of today, school children don't have to wear masks in classrooms.

Minors are also allowed to use public transport and enter shops without wearing a mask - an obligation still in place for adults.

New Caledonia has recorded another 232 Covid-19 cases, confirming this month's rapid decline in the number of new infections.

The latest figure, covering the three days since Friday, brings the total number of cases since September to just under 60,000.

The number of hospitalised Covid-19 patients is 25, of whom four are in intensive care.

The death toll remains at 305.

Last week, the seven-day quarantine requirement was lifted for arriving travellers who are vaccinated.

French Polynesia suspends the need to show a vaccine pass for some places

French Polynesia is suspending from tomorrow the need to show a vaccine pass for domestic travel and for places still subject to access restrictions, such as discos and concert venues.

Although the incidence of Covid-19 has continued to decline, the vaccine pass will still be required for those over the age of 12 for visits to hospitals.

In the latest two-day reporting period, the health authorities recorded a further two fatalities.

They also tallied another 278 cases, bringing the number of active cases to 1,154.

Eight people are in hospital, including one in intensive care.

From tomorrow, school children will no longer have to wear masks in classrooms but must do so on school buses.

Last week, the government lifted the requirement for school staff to be vaccinated.