22 Sep 2021

In brief: News from around the Pacific

10:32 am on 22 September 2021

Several key PNG hospitals full with Covid patients

PNG Angau hospital

PNG hospital Photo: RNZ Pacific

Main hospitals in the two provinces at the border with Indonesia, Western and West Sepik, are reportedly full with Covid-19 patients including people confirmed to have the Delta variant.

Three medical staff from Western province's Daru Hospital died due to Covid in the past fortnight.

Meanwhile Port Moresby General Hospital's ICU Covid ward is full again and the hospital has reactivated an ancillary field hospital; to treat moderately ill covid patients.

Covid-19 case in American Samoa is discussed in Samoa's Parliament

Samoa's Parliament

Samoa's Parliament Photo: RNZ Pacific

TV1Samoa reports that during the debate on the national budget 2021/2022, at least two members of the opposition Human Rights Protection Party called on the government not to open borders.

Ale Vena Ale of Faleata 3 electoral constituency said he was worried about reports of the positive case in American Samoa, saying it was very close and he didn't want the coronavirus in his constituency with its high numbers of registered residents.

First time MP Fuaava Amataga Penaia of Aleipata Itupa i Luga electorate also urged the government to look more closely at the effects of the pandemic on the country before opening up borders.

Schools reopen in Tahiti

Tahiti high school closing because of local Covid-19 spike

French Polynesian school Photo: supplied

The Minister of Education, Christelle Lehartel, visited high schools and colleges in Papara and Faa'a in Tahiti where students and staff are reported to be relieved classes have resumed.

Students returning to boarding schools have been tested for Covid-19 before class started and Ms Lehartel is urging families to bring their children back to school so they can continue their studies.

One of Samoa's largest insurance companies files for bankruptcy

Progressive Insurance, one of Samoa's largest insurance companies, has filed for bankruptcy in the midst of a drawn out court battle over an unsettled claim.

The Samoa Observer reports that liquidation comes just months after the Samoa Central Bank said all six insurance companies in Samoa were increasingly well regulated and that solvency as a whole was strong.

Chan Mow and Company and Progressive Insurance have been in the middle of a Supreme Court battle over allegedly unsettled claims, that the newspaper understands relates to a fire that gutted the department store's Togafu'afu'a wholesale building.

But shortly before the insurer was scheduled to file its defence against the alleged non-payment of claims last week, it went into voluntary liquidation.

The country's longest serving wholesaler and retailer is now requesting that the Supreme Court stay - or halt - Progressive's bid to wind up its company.

Samoa businesses worried about lockdown for vaccination rollout

Samoa's Chamber of Commerce supports mass vaccination but the lockdown planned for the vaccination rollout on Thursday and Friday needs to be improved.

The Samoa Observer reports the Chamber's CEO Lemauga Hobart Va'ai concerned the two-day lockdown will affect the income of the country's businesses, and it should instead target the unvaccinated population.

Lemauga said Samoa's business community has gone to extensive efforts to ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated and Chamber of Commerce members report vaccination rates of 80 percent and above.

He said there's an overwhelming concern from businesses about the two-day lockdown and they await a response from government including guidelines about the roll out.