15 May 2020

Wallisians await end of quarantine on ship

6:53 am on 15 May 2020

A French cruise ship with stranded Wallisians and Futunians has anchored off Wallis to complete their 14-day quarantine after sailing from New Caledonia last week.

The ship, Le Laperouse, took five days to travel with more than 100 passengers who had been stuck in Noumea because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The people on the ship are the first ones allowed to re-enter but must complete two full weeks on board before being allowed to disembark.

Nobody is permitted to get closer than 50 metres to the ship and offenders risk a fine of $US900.

The Le Laperouse

The Le Laperouse Photo: Ponant

The order, issued by the French prefect, applies until mid-June as Le Laperouse is due to return to Noumea to pick up a further 100 stranded Wallisians and Futunians.

No date has been given for the reopening of flights between the two territories.

The cruise ship with its 94 crew had been anchored off New Caledonia for weeks after offloading its passengers in Wellington in mid-March when concern mounted that they would have trouble finding flights back to their home countries.

Wallis and Futuna, which had closed its borders in mid-March, has remained free of the virus.