6 Apr 2020

Call for transparency in New Caledonia Covid-19 crisis

1:00 pm on 6 April 2020

New Caledonia's two members of the French National Assembly have decried what they call a total lack of transparency in the local management of the Covid-19 crisis.

Thierry Santa.

Thierry Santa. Photo: New Caledonia Congress

The two, Philippe Gomes and Philippe Dunoyer of the Caledonia Together Party, issued their statement after New Caledonia's president Thierry Santa went into self-isolation in a Noumea hotel.

Mr Santa said a member of the crisis management unit had tested positive for Covid-19.

The two parliamentarians say nothing has been said about who the individual in question is, who this person met and for how long.

They say in the absence of any transparency, they now want there to be teleconferences involving Congress members to allow them to ask questions.

The two have noted that the president of the Southern Province Sonia Backes has also placed herself in self-isolation after revealing that one of her close colleagues in the crisis management unit tested positive.

The man had tested negative ten days after returning from France but ten days later a fresh test yielded a positive result, prompting his transfer to a hospital.

Ms Backes has been tested and the result is negative.

Local media say the president of the Loyalty Islands province Jacques Lalie is in isolation in a hotel in Noumea.

The vice-president Gilbert Tyuienon and the government spokesperson Christopher Gyges have reportedly also chosen to partly isolate despite not having had any contact with any of the confirmed Covid-19 carriers.

It has now become uncertain whether there was any local transmission of the virus when the authorities ordered a lockdown two weeks ago.

Reports say the woman whose reported infection couldn't be traced to any travel wasn't positive after all.

She had been in hospital for several days but renewed testing suggested that her first diagnosis was wrong.

That finding briefly lowered New Caledonia's tally of Covid-19 carriers to 17.

Philippe Gomes

Philippe Gomes Photo: AFP

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