Tahiti stops sale of alcohol amid increase in Covid-19 cases

11:08 am on 25 March 2020

French Polynesia has banned the sale of alcohol as two more people are diagnosed with the Covid-19 virus, raising the territory's total to 25.

Two of the confirmed cases remain in hospital

The ban on the sales of alcoholic drinks has been proclaimed in a bid to improve compliance with the restrictions imposed to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

The ban issued by the economics minister Teva Rohfritsch will be in force until 5 April and follows a weekend of incidents in which people ignored limits on private and public gatherings.

Teva Rohfritsch of French Polynesia's Atia Porinetia Party

Teva Rohfritsch of French Polynesia's Atia Porinetia Party Photo: supplied

Earlier, president Edouard Fritch said alcohol consumption had posed enormous problems.

Reports say orders to stay home have been widely ignored, prompting warnings that a curfew might be imposed.

To counter the economic blow, Mr Rohfritsch said that the government would give relief to businesses and benefit those who are out of work.

Various taxes due by businesses can be deferred by two to three months.

Employees who are out of work are eligible for $US1000 a month.

A special allocation of $US500 is being made available for families in difficulty and urgent situations.

The public has also been assured that during the next three months there will be no cuts to water, power and phones for failing to pay the bills.