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In brief: News from around the Pacific

Thursday 13 January 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Fiji, Regional


In brief: News from around the Pacific

Health authorities in Fiji are concerned about the staff shortage and the lack of shelter at medical clinics in the capital Suva.

Health staff who test positive for Covid-19 are being isolated which the government says has contributed to depleted staff numbers in the front-line.

Fiji's Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said with the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, containing any transmission is priority.

"What we've done is to make sure, we've used the available young doctors at CWM. They have been mobilized to support them in the health centres. So now they have a full cohort back on the ground," he said.

Kiribati's border reopens

The Kiribati government has reopened the country's border with new updated travel procedures.

The Kiribati Parliament
The Kiribati Parliament Photo: Lisa Williams

The government closed its international border late in March 2020, to keep its population of approximately 140,000 people safe from Covid-19.

All arrivals into Kiribati will be controlled through the entry point on South Tarawa.

All other international port of entries in Kiribati remains closed. With the new normal conditions and restrictions, only Kiribati nationals and essential Technical Assistant will be allowed at entry at this time.

Incoming passengers will be required to provide proof of vaccination, Covid-19 test results, and will be quarantined upon arrival.

Extra quarantine days for travellers from high-risk countries will be imposed in line with updated new travel protocols to safeguard Kiribati from Covid-19.

Vanuatu runs low on new passports

Vanuatu is running low on new passports because of a record high demand.

An average of 30 to 40 applications for passports are lodged every day and acting deputy Prime Minister, Willie Daniel Kalo, said the government has ordered new passports which are expected to arrive next month.

He said the passports have been order on time but delay has been caused by the border being closed because of Covid-19.

Mr Kalo said 15,557 passports have been issued to applicants under the government's citizenship programme and for Vanuatu seasonal workers going to Australia and New Zealand.

More than 60-percent of the new passports issued are for seasonal workers working in Australia and New Zealand and about a quarter of the new passports are for people who have yet to leave Vanuatu.

Vanuatu's Teaching Service Commission quashes strike

Vanuatu's Teaching Service Commission has quashed the notice of the national strike by the Vanuatu Teachers Union.

The Commission employs about two thousand teachers in Vanuatu and Dick Hopkins warns all teachers throughout Vanuatu not to take part in any strike and anyone disobeying the order "will be disciplined".

Mr Hopkins is calling for a meeting between the dismissed Vanuatu Teachers Union president, its Secretary General and the Union's national executive committee to "sort out their differences".