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Pacific News Briefs

Tuesday 28 June 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Pacific Islands, Regional


Pacific News Briefs
Photo: RNZ

The number of Covid-19 cases in Nauru continues to rise.

Covid cases in Nauru increase

There are now 2392 active cases in the community.

President Lionel Aingimea said 53 percent or approximately one in two people tested are positive.

Eight people are in the Acute Care Unit in the hospital.

There are three moderate to severe cases in the hospital, two are adults with underlying illnesses, and one is a child with a high fever.

A prohibition order on mass gatherings has been issued prohibiting a long list of social activities in order to slow the spread of the virus.

The list of prohibited activities includes - Bingo, Church, sports such as karate, market days, birthdays, weddings, and drinking at kava bars.

Mr Aingimea said there are still reports of people that have tested positive leaving their homes and of others gathering in groups and socialising.

He wants to remind people that anyone who does not comply with the orders could face a fine of up to ten thousand dollars or go to jail for up to six months.

Pacific LGBTQI+ community favours consultation

A lawyer who has represented the Fa'afafine community in Samoa is warning that the approach taken in other countries to decriminalise homosexuality may not work in the Pacific.

A former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson spoke recently on a panel in the Netherlands alongside an activist from the region and encouraged the Pacific queer community to continue fighting for their rights.

Lawyer Alex Su'a said rather than taking it to the streets or courts, the Pacific LGBTQI+ community has favoured consultation or a consultative approach.

"The approach that has been done by the LGBTQI community in the West may not work here in the Pacific where we take it to the streets, we take it even to the courts, but here in the Pacific - I don't think so, the consultation or consultative approach has been implemented and we see it's working," Su'a said.

New U.S led alliance promises to listen better to needs of Pacific

A new U.S led alliance is promising to do better at listening to the needs of the Pacific.

New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom have joined an American initiative called Partners in the Blue Pacific to improve ties and engagement with Pacific leaders and people.

US Embassy Country public affairs officer, Leslie Núñez Goodman said this was a chance to do a better job serving the Pacific region.

"They want us to listen a little bit more about what to direct our money in. Foremost what we have heard is climate change and that's why this announcement is so huge because we are answering that call."

The five nations are committing to improving relationships and acting on issues that Pacific leaders are calling for.

American Samoa's Governor opposes PRIMNM proposed expansion.

American Samoa's Governor is opposing the federal government's proposed expansion of the US Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM).

Lemanu Peleti Mauga said the move will have a negative impact on the territory's tuna industry.

Lemanu said fishing prohibitions not only weaken U.S. fisheries but also increase seafood imports and jeopardize U.S. food and national security.

He said the U.S "is losing influence in the international fisheries management organizations", such as the Western and Central Pacific Commission, due to weakened U.S. fisheries.

He said these impacts are exacerbated by the loss of U.S. fishing grounds as a result of monument designations.

A new project in Vanuatu focuses on giving children a strong foundation to grow

Save the Children has joined together with the Vanuatu Christian Council of Churches to launch a project focusing on helping children in their first one hundred days.

The country director for Save The Children Luke Eldos said the project known as Building Bren Blong Pikinini or Building the Brain of the child will stretch over 4 years throughout the country.

Save The Children Luke Eldos (L) and the Secretary-General of the local Christian Council of Churches, Pastor Shem Temar

Save The Children Luke Eldos (L) and the Secretary-General of the local Christian Council of Churches, Pastor Shem Temar Photo: RNZ Pacific/Hilaire Bule

He said the aim was to give Vanuatu's children a strong foundation to grow from.

The Secretary-General of the local Christian Council of Churches, Pastor Shem Temar said the development of Vanuatu relied on helping children get a good start in life.

Mr Eldos said that Save The Children as a non-government organisation has chosen to work together with churches and the government because they will always be there even if non-government organisations leave.

Four passengers test for Covid-19 in American Samoa

Four passengers on board a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Honolulu tested positive upon arrival in American Samoa.

The group is in isolation in accordance with local protocol.

American Samoa's Health Department Clinical Service director Dr Elizabeth Lauvao said a total of 240 passengers travelled on the flight and only four adults on the flight tested positive.

Meanwhile, the government's latest update on the community spread of Covid-19 shows that the number of Covid-19-related deaths remains at 31.

And as of June 21st, the total cumulative count of Covid positive cases stands at 6,353 positives since the community outbreak was first reported on February 27.