Tahiti president holds off with second Covid-19 lockdown

3:05 pm on 2 November 2020

French Polynesia's president has held off from implementing a second Covid-19 lockdown.

Edouard Fritch said the effectiveness of the curfew will determine whether further measures will be taken to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The President of French Polynesia, Edouard Fritch

The President of French Polynesia, Edouard Fritch Photo: AFP

33 people have died and 26 others are in intensive care.

Fritch said case numbers had surged to about 470 a day, placing French Polynesia fourth in the world in the propagation of the virus.

The authorities no longer publish daily updates but according to La Depeche de Tahiti, on one day alone last week 750 cases were recorded.

Fritch said as two thirds of all intensive care units were in use, a lockdown would be considered if the hospitals risk being full.

The French High Commissioner Dominique Sorain said more medical staff and equipment were being sent from France.

Projections by medical staff suggested the pandemic could worsen dramatically and peak by the end of November with a daily case load of 4,500.

Fritch said the only way to deal with the virus is to break its transmission, again urging people to adhere to social distancing.

A seven-hour curfew was in place in Tahiti and Moorea but could be extended to other islands because the virus has spread.

A union leader Patrick Galenon again called for more restrictions, saying there should be no wait until thousands have died.

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