French Polynesia starts repatriation of stranded residents

3:25 pm on 22 April 2020

The French Polynesian government says the first of the residents stranded in France because of the Covid-19 outbreak can return tomorrow.

Air Tahiti Nui

Air Tahiti Nui Photo: Supplied

The health minister Jacques Raynal said the next plane from Paris would allow about 30 people to return as about 300 people remain stuck.

No commercial flights are expected before the end of May but relief flights sponsored by the French government are scheduled between Paris and Papeete every 10 days for three months to transport medical supplies.

The minister said in the course of the next month, about 100 people could get onto each plane.

They will need to undergo a medical examination before departure and on arrival be required to self-isolate for two weeks.

His announcement came after tales of distress by many struggling to pay for their forced extended stay in France caused by the suspension of all commercial flights last month.

Two weeks ago, the president Edouard Fritch took to social media to tell those stranded abroad that flights were stopped to protect the French Polynesian population.

He also said that the French relief flights would not carry passengers.

  • Call for repatriation of stranded French Polynesians
  • French Polynesia rules out repatriations during Covid-19 crisis