27 Mar 2020

New Caledonia works on repatriation plans

7:06 am on 27 March 2020

The New Caledonian government is working on a plan to repatriate about 1500 residents stranded outside the territory because of the Covid-19 crisis.

The international carrier Aircalin flew a number of flights from Noumea to Australia and Japan to allow tourists stuck in New Caledonia to return home.

However, the evacuation flights returned without passengers for fear of bringing back people needing isolation while premises set aside for that had reached capacity.

The government, which has been under pressure to help, said it is working on a plan to start returning New Caledonians from next week.

About 400 of those seeking to return are in France.

The government said returnees will be subject to very strict sanitary controls.

To date 14 people have been confirmed to with Covid-19.