15 May 2021

In brief: News from around the Pacific

1:41 pm on 15 May 2021
Covid-19 screening and testing underway in  Fiji.

Covid-19 screening and testing underway in Fiji. Photo: Facebook/Fiji govt

New Covid-19 case in Fiji

Fiji has confirmed one new case of Covid-19.

The Permanent Secretary for Health James Fong said this new case is a household member of the Lakena cases reported earlier, and he was already in isolation at Navua Hospital when he registered a positive result.

Dr Fong said they do not view him as a high-risk case for wider transmission.

Dr Fong further said since Thursday, they have been investigating the potential for further exposure of Covid-19 in the Fiji Centre for Disease Control.

On Thursday, three staff from the Centre for Disease Control have tested positive for the virus.

He said as a result there will be no testing onsite for at least another 24 hours.

Testing has continued at Tamavua Twomey Hospital, CWM Hospital, Labasa Hospital and Lautoka Hospital.

The Suva-Nausori lockdown period started at 11pm Friday and will end at 4am on Wednesday the 19th of May.

CNMI expands vaccine roll-out as two new Covid-19 cases confirmed

The Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas has expanded the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to 12-to 15-year-olds even as the islands record two coronavirus cases.

The new cases takes the CNMI's total to 172 cases since March 28, 2020.

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation (CHCC) said the two were identified at the border, and neither of these new cases reported any Covid-19 vaccination.

The pair have been moved to isolation.

Meanwhile, the CHCC opened its vaccination campaign for the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to 12-to-15-year-olds and is now accepting walk-ins to two sites.

The CHCC said it will accept walk-ins but minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. If not, they must have a parental consent form.

School-based vaccination is also being planned in selected schools and will be announced later.

Tonga confirms repatriation flights

Two repatriation flights to Tonga have been confirmed for next month from Auckland and Brisbane.

The flight from Auckland is scheduled to arrive on June the 2nd, while the flight from Brisbane, will arrive the day after.

Chief Executive of Tonga's Government Communications, Paula Ma'u, told local media the Brisbane flight is the first under Australia's Pacific Flight Programme and is not chartered by the employers of seasonal workers, as was the case for previous flights.

Meanwhile, the repatriation flight from Fiji that was planned for the first week of June was not confirmed, due to the Covid-19 situation in the country.

Vanuatu orders AstraZeneca doses

Vanuatu's government has reportedly ordered 12,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from Italy.

The Director General of the ministry of health, Russell Tamata said Vanuatu will import this batch in addition to 12,000 already ordered from South Korea.

The doses are expected to arrive this month

The government expects that 20 percent of Vanuatu's population will be vaccinated during the first rollout phase.

Frontline workers are expected to be first in line for the shot.