The government of Niue has announced the country will move to Covid-19 alert level red after it recorded nine new cases of the virus in the past 24 hours.
After recording its first cases of the virus in the community today, Niue's government now says growing case numbers indicate community transmission is possible.
In a statement, Niue's minister of health and acting premier Sauni Tongatule said: "These cases are from different households and four of the cases are not linked to the border. This indicates the possibility of community transmission of Covid-19."
Tongatule announced the country would move immediately to its highest Covid-19 alert level but stopped short of an enforced lockdown
"Following the Niue National Covid Emergency Response Plan, where there are local cases that exist in the community, and with the high possibility of community transmission, we will move to Covid Alert Code Red. This will take effect immediately.
"However, there will be no lockdown in place as we take action to mitigate or minimise the impact of the disease in our communities as much as possible," Tongatule said.
Close contacts and persons of interest associated with positive cases had been informed to get tested, he said.
Tongatule said Niue's public service and essential government services would continue to operate.
He advised the public to limit their movement and interactions outside of their households this weekend and asked that they practice social distancing, mask wearing and hand hygiene.
Director-General for Social Services Gaylene Tasmania said anyone with Covid-19 symptoms should go to the drive-thru testing service at the Niue Foou Hospital which will be open from 9am to 6pm local time tomorrow.