18 Feb 2022

The latest Covid-19 stories in the Pacific

4:50 pm on 18 February 2022

French Polynesia Covid cases continue to rise

French Polynesia has recorded 2456 new cases of Covid 19.

This brings the number of active cases in the French Territory to 6307.

No new deaths have been recorded, however, 18 people are in hospital and four are in ICU.

Vanuatu's govt confirms four Covid-19 cases

Vanuatu's prime minister has confirmed four people tested positive for Covid-19 at the border.

Bob Loughman said the new cases were all on repatriations flights, three on a flight from New Caledonia and one on a flight from Australia.

Vanuatu's Prime Minister Bob Loughman  addresses the 76th UN General Assembly by video link.

Vanuatu's prime minister Bob Loughman Photo: Supplied

Mr Loughman said samples of the cases will be sent overseas to determine the Covid-19 variant.

He said there is no evidence of community transmission.

The Ministry of Health will test 10 other passengers who came on the Brisbane and Noumea flights to determine their Covid-19 status.

Following the detection of the four border cases, the prime minister declared that repatriation flights will be suspended until contact tracing of the recent cases are done.

Kiribati govt extends nationwide lockdown

The Kiribati Government has extended its nationwide lockdown by another two weeks from today, due to widespread community transmission of Covid-19.

There have been 2,757 positive infections across the atoll islands and nine deaths reported by the authorities.

The Health Ministry says 20 new Covid-19 cases were recorded on Thursday.

They say two new elderly patients have been admitted to isolation centers, bringing the total number of people who require medical treatment to four.

Community cases have now been recorded on South Tarawa, Betio, Buota, Butaritari, North Tarawa, Abaiang, and Abemama.

Tonga records 24 new Covid-19 cases

Tonga recorded 24 new cases of Covid today bringing the total number of active covid cases to 196.

Prime Minister Hu'akavameiliku stated at a press conference today that 23 people tested positive for Covid had recovered, 7 of whom have been discharged from quarantine.

He said that there were 2 active cases in MIQ.

The pair were among 180 passengers that arrived to Tonga on Tuesday on repatriation flights from New Zealand, Australia and Fiji.

Meanwhile there's an outbreak of Covid-19 at the Hu'atolitoli prison on Tongatapu.

Prime Minister Hu'akavameiliku confirmed the positive cases are among both inmates and prison guards.

Renovation and construction work is being done at the prison to isolate prison officers and their families as well as prisoners who have tested positive.

Covid-19 Fiji: 3 more dead, 28 new cases

Three more people have died from Covid-19 in Fiji, taking the death toll to 823.

There are 28 new cases of Covid-19 in the community - its lowest since this third wave of the coronavirus began last November.

The Government also confirmed on Thursday all three victims - aged 42, 59 and 73 - were not vaccinated.

Fiji has 94 active cases of Covid-19 in isolation with 21 of them in hospital.

There has been a total of 63,543 cases since March 2020 with 93 percent of Fiji's adult population fully vaccinated.

Red Cross in Solomon Islands ramps up vaccinations

The Red Cross in Solomon Islands said ramping up vaccinations is critical as Covid -19 cases overload the country's fragile health system.

Free of Covid-19 in the community one month ago, the Solomon's is now reporting 5,000 plus infections and more than 50 deaths.

The Red Cross said last week authorities reported one in every two people had Covid-19 symptoms, and testing was overwhelmed, indicating many more people are sick with the virus.

The Secretary General of the Solomons Red Cross Society Clement Manuri said the organisations is sending more teams to raise awareness on how deadly the virus is, encouraging people to protect themselves.

He said in Solomon Islands, just 11 per cent of the eligible population have received two doses of the vaccine.

Cook Islands confident of its Covid-19 protocols

The Cook Islands government is confident it's well-prepared to ensure it won't have to deal with a full-blown Covid-19 outbreak in the country.

The Cook Islands reported its first positive infection on Sunday and since then two other close contacts have tested positive.

Secretary of Health Bob Williams said it's early days to predict how they're going fare compared to neighbouring Pacific nations who are battling widespread community transmissions.

"We believe that we prepared our communities well and of course with the systems and processes that we've developed, and our framework, which we have now put into action, hopefully the public health measures that we've introduced will reduce the spread."

Bob Williams said authorities have done everything within their control to be ready.