21 Apr 2020

New Caledonia party demands quarantine extension

6:43 am on 21 April 2020

New Caledonia's largest pro-independence party has asked for the quarantine of returning residents to be set at three weeks and not at two weeks as decided by the government.

The head of the Caledonian Union Daniel Goa said to avoid the risk of Covid-19 being introduced into the community, the government has to extend the follow-up of all returnees.

Daniel Goa addesses Caledonian Union

Daniel Goa addesses Caledonian Union Photo: FB Union caledonienne

He said health care issues are in the competence of the New Caledonian government only.

Mr Goa warns that should the French High Commission oppose the extension of the quarantine period, it would trigger a major political crisis and force the party to ask France to leave.

18 people tested positive but none in the past two weeks, which has prompted the government and the French High Commission to ease restrictions from today.

The High Commission is responsible for public safety.

Hundreds of New Caledonian residents are expected to be flown back from France, which is one of the countries most affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Mr Goa said given that the tests are only 70 percent accurate, the government has to move to minimise the risk of introducing the virus which could be devastating for the indigenous Kanak population.

Yesterday, a minister Philippe Germain asked for repatriation flights to be suspended, saying returning travellers again risk exposing New Caledonians to the virus.

The president Thierry Santa said he was very surprised that a minister has come out against the programme which had been agreed on.