Tahiti tourists to self-test for Covid-19

4:25 pm on 11 July 2020
Air Tahiti Nui Boeing 787

Air Tahiti Nui Boeing 787 Photo: Copyright(2018)The Boeing Company

Tourists arriving in French Polynesia will be given a kit to test themselves for Covid-19 as the territory becomes the first South Pacific destination open for travel.

To boost tourism, quarantine obligations will be lifted in the middle of next week.

Flights between Tahiti and Paris restarted a week ago, and from 15 July Air Tahiti Nui will also resume its return flighs to Los Angeles

However, anyone bound for Tahiti has to undergo a Covid-19 test 72 hours before departure, register with the authorities and self-test four days after arrival.

The authorities said the self-test kit was widely used in the US and in German schools.

It is not immediately clear what happens for those disregarding the rules.

Should anyone test positive for Covid-19, they would be taken to Tahiti's main hospital.

French Polynesia recorded 90 cases, including 29 crew of an Ecuadorian ship which it classified as transit cases.

New Caledonia loosens access in Covid-19 response:

New Caledonia will allow the temporary entry of essential professionals while the border continues to be closed to non-residents.

The government and the French High Commission said applications could now be made by businesses to bring in specialists for up to 30 days if they are considered absolutely necessary.

Such individuals would be subject to a two-week quarantine on arrival, however some of the medical reporting requirements would be eased.

A negative Covid-19 test three days before departure will still be needed.

New Caledonia, Covid-19 notice.

New Caledonia, Covid-19 notice. Photo: Supplied

In May, New Caledonia extended its suspension of most scheduled international air traffic until the end of July but its carrier has maintained flights to Tokyo which connect travellers to France.

New Caledonia has also allowed air travel to resume to Wallis and Futuna, which is the only French territory without any Covid-19 case.

Samoa tests three recent arrivals from New Zealand

Samoa conducted its first Covid-19 tests this week on three patients put in isolation after arriving on a repatriation flight from New Zealand with flu-like symptoms.

The chairman of the National Emergency Operations Centre, Ulu Bismarck Crawley, told the Samoa Observer the three are recovering well.

Patient samples at a safety workbench for coronavirus testing.

Photo: AFP

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said on a radio broadcast the three were elderly folk who may have gotten the flu because of changes in weather during their travels.

Ulu Crawley added that the three had been tested before departure from New Zealand and will be tested again after their quarantine period is up.

The latest repatriation flight from New Zealand arrived on Friday and a chartered flight bringing seasonal workers home is also expected next week.

Samoa has 2000 Covid-19 test kits in stock, donated by the United Nations Development Programme.

ADB boosts Niue's pandemic response

Niue's response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been boosted by a grant from the Asian Development Bank.

The bank committed $US93,000 to help Niue secure essential medical supplies including test kits, personal protective equipment and ventilators.

Niue Hospital in Alofi, Niue.

Niue Hospital in Alofi, Niue. Photo: Supplied/ Dr Penny McAllum

On Wednesday, Niue Premier Dalton Tagelagi and bank president Masatsugu Asakawa discussed how the bank can help the island survive the pandemic.

Mr Asakawa also praised the government's efforts in preventing an outbreak on the island.

Mr Tagelagi says his government is yet to decide when to reopen the border which closed in April.