19 Apr 2022

Pacific news in brief

3:48 pm on 19 April 2022

Unions welcome rise in minimum wage in French Polynesia

Unions in French Polynesia have welcomed the government's decision to raise the minimum wage by two percent from 1 May.

The President of French Polynesia Edouard Fritch speaks to journalists after a meeting with French Prime Minister at the Hotel Matignon in Paris on June 22, 2017.

The President of French Polynesia Edouard Fritch speaks to journalists after a meeting with French Prime Minister at the Hotel Matignon in Paris on June 22, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / JACQUES DEMARTHON Photo: AFP or licensors

President Edouard Fritch announced the increase in the assembly as measures to counter the rising cost of living, which in January and February had gone up by 2.9 percent.

The monthly minimum wage had last been raised by two percent in December to $US1,410.

Fritch announced further subsidies for flour imports to be able to maintain the price of a bread stick or baguette, at US52 cents.

He also said the price of petrol would remain unchanged until June.

To help the construction sector, Fritch said tax on imported timber will be suspended.

Covid-19 restrictions to be loosened for travellers from NZ to Niue

Passengers travelling to Niue from New Zealand will be greeted with milder Covid-19 restrictions.

Travellers are now only required to stay in MIQ for seven days.

They must then spend a further three days isolating at home before entering the community.

The change comes as the Niue Government works on its plan to reopen the borders to New Zealand tourists.

Premier Dalton Tagelagi said Niue is continuing its phased approach towards quarantine free travel.

There are no active Covid-19 cases in the community or at the border of Niue.

American Samoa Covid-19 death toll stands at 20

American Samoa's Covid-19 death toll has reached 20.

The latest reported death was a 64-year-old woman who passed away on Wednesday in the LBJ Medical Center's Covid-19 Ward.

The number of Covid-19 cases has reached 5,564 as of April 13. A total of 4,207 people who previously had Covid-19 have recovered.

The daily total for April 13 was 47 from 646 tests conducted.

There were no new hospitalisations and there was only one person in the Covid-19 Ward at the time of this report.

According to health authorities 83.7% of American Samoa's population is now fully vaccinated, which is just shy of their 90% target.

Voter registration drive in Fiji ends

The Fijian Elections Office nation-wide voter registration drive and the Know Your Election campaign for the 2022 General Election ended on Saturday.

The Fiji Electoral Office said it recorded 200,899 voter engagements and 19,879 new registrations.

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem said the 49-day drive was the culmination of a year's worth of planning and preparation.

He said the Fiji Electoral Office reached a record number of Fijians through its outreach in the form of voter registration and awareness.

Saneem said the teams were placed strategically in heavily populated settlements in various urban centres instead of having them come to Voter Services Centres in towns.

Samoa Covid-19 death toll at 12

Samoa's Ministry of Health has reported two new Covid-19 related deaths within four days taking the death toll to 12.

The latest deaths were an 86-year-old man and an 80-year-female.

The Ministry also confirmed 1,154 new community cases - 14 cases in managed isolation and three critical cases in ICU at the Moto'otua Hospital.

The statement says the cumulative number of Covid-19 positive cases since community transmission ws detected on March 17, and stands at 5,947.

The Ministry of Health is urging people to get vaccinated and stay home and isolate themselves if they were feeling unwell and practice safe personal hygiene at all times.

All are required to wear face masks and keep to the two-metre social distancing in public places.

Vanuatu's Covid-19 lockdown causes workers to look abroad for employment

Vanuatu's Covid-19 lockdown in Port Vila has forced skilled workers in the country's most prominent hotels and restaurants to apply for seasonal employment in Australia and New Zealand.

Vanuatu Tourism Office Chief Executive Officer, Adela Issachar Aru, is worried that when the lockdown is lifted in July, there won't be enough workers to serve tourists arriving on cruise liners and planes.

The Daily Post Newspaper reported the crowd of applicants that line up for new Passports and Identification Cards is increasing everyday outside the Ministry of Home Affairs at Independence Part in Port Vila.