28 May 2020

France unmoved by New Caledonia Covid-19 concern

3:17 pm on 28 May 2020

The French Senate has declined to amend the health emergency law to take into account New Caledonia's wish for stricter rules.

The French National Assembly

The French National Assembly Photo: AFP

Last month, Paris adopted new Covid-19 provisions and decided to apply them to New Caledonia although the 1998 Noumea Accord transferred all powers pertaining to healthcare to the administration in Noumea.

On pressure from mainly Kanak leaders, New Caledonia required anyone arriving from overseas to isolate for three weeks, of which the last one can be spent at home.

New Caledonian members of the French legislature wanted an amendment so that the local authorities could by law set the confinement terms.

Last week, the French prime minister Edouard Philippe said he was prepared to discuss altering the law but the Senate Law Commission refused to heed the call.

Earlier this month, the looser French provisions were tested in court in French Polynesia where the local quarantine practice was ruled to be too restricitive and illegal.

There has been no such challenge in New Caledonia to date.

While France attempts to contain the spread of Covid-19, New Caledonia eliminated the virus but insists on continued quarantine rules.

Several New Caledonian parliamentarians warned that the looser quarantine terms chosen by France could imperil New Caledonia's Covid-free status.

France recorded more than 146,000 Covid-19 cases and New Caledonia 18.

Advisory over Covid-19 issued in Kanak languages

Advisory over Covid-19 issued in Kanak languages Photo: supplied

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