28 Feb 2022

Wallis and Futuna residents struggle to return home due to tough Covid restrictions

7:50 am on 28 February 2022

Covid-19 protocols to enter Wallis and Futuna have been frustrating for both locals and people wishing to return home.

Seven days in isolation in a New Caledonian hotel and a further three days in a Wallis hotel are required before entering the territory.

People from the territory, who had to travel for medical reasons, have been stuck in New Caledonia and France due to Covid-19 restrictions and are asking for them to be eased.

Wallis and Futuna awaiting returnees from Noumea

Wallis and Futuna awaiting returnees from Noumea Photo: supplied FB

A chief of a medical division in Wallis and Futuna, who would like to remain anonymous, said that it will be a long time until restrictions are lifted.

"Their total percentage of fully vaccinated is 58 percent, the authorities have decided not to change the sanitary restriction linked to travelling until there 75 percent of the population is completely vaccinated.

"Which they will never obtain. There is such strong resistance in the islands, that they have done essentially everything they could, they can't do anymore.

"Therefore I really don't know when they will ease restrictions for Wallis and Futuna.

"There has been no current positive case since the 26th of April 2021, they are currently Covid free."

The territory has had a total of 454 cases and seven deaths recorded since the start of the pandemic.

However, only 58 percent of the population have received two doses and 43 percent have had their third shot, which poses great pressure on the limited hospital space in the territory.

"This wave of Covid-19 is, however, completely different than the previous wave. We have had a lot more transmissions in New Caledonia than the wave of Covid-19 last year. If Omicron were to spread in Wallis and Futuna now, they will probably have the same number as us in Caledonia." said the anonymous medical practitioner.