31 Mar 2020

Wallis and Futuna leaders call for isolation

5:06 pm on 31 March 2020

Customary leaders in Wallis and Futuna have called for the territory's complete isolation by stopping all shipping in the face of the Covid-19 threat.

To date the territory had no confirmed Covid-19 cases and passenger air links had been suspended, allowing only freight to be flown in.

Aerial of Futuna, Wallis and Futuna, South Pacific, Pacific

Photo: Michael Runkel

Shipping services had been reduced to allow only fuel supplies and the off-loading of containers, but there were calls to stop them completely.

The prefect Thierry Queffelec has told the local broadcaster some supplies were still needed, saying a container or a box didn't kill.

He said it was not the time to put one's head in the sand but to trust science and share its findings.

Meanwhile the territorial assembly approved the release of $US160,000 to assist residents stuck overseas.

About 70 residents have been unable to return, with just about all of them in New Caledonia.

There were also a handful in Australia and in Fiji.