6 Sep 2022

Pacific news in brief for September 6

11:44 am on 6 September 2022

Fiji to remove Covid tests on arrival

Fiji has removed Covid-19 tests on arrival as an entry requirement to the country.

Fiji's health system has provided community-wide protection through its immunisation campaign, leading to a decrease in COVID-19 cases.

This also means no proof of booking will be required before boarding a flight.

Those who have symptoms however must test and those showing positive results will be required to isolate for a minimum of five days as opposed to seven.

Those most vulnerable, healthcare workers and aged care facility workers will still be required to isolate for a minimum of seven days in the event they test positive for Covid-19.

Typhoid fever cases on the rise in Samoa

Samoa has launched a nationwide vaccination programme against typhoid fever.

In a press statement from the Ministry of Health, acting Director General of Health Tagaloa Dr Robert Thomsen said the campaign is targeting those aged from 9 months to 45 years old.

The campaign will target remote individual homes, but those who live within the vicinity of district hospitals on all islands are urged to go there to be vaccinated.

Tagaloa said the health ministry has seen an alarming rise in the number of typhoid cases around the country, especially among young people.

He also warned that drinking water must be boiled, and all food should be washed thoroughly and cooked properly, especially meat, eggs and vegetables.

The vaccination campaign is scheduled to be completed on 30 September 2022.

PNG's PM wants journalists to stop calling or texting directly

The Papua New Guinean prime minister's office has taken out a full-page advertisement in the country's two major newspapers urging journalists to stop calling and texting him directly.

James Marape said all questions, enquiries and requests for interviews should be submitted in writing to his media office.

PNG Prime Minister James Marape

PNG's PM James Marape Photo: PNG PM Media

Some journalists say it is an attack on press freedom, while others say it is standard practice under other global leaders.

One said that being a journalist does not give them the right to go straight to the PM and text him as a friend.

One of the prime minister's media officers warned that if the notice was not respected, the government would respond by limiting access to the prime minister's press conferences to just one political reporter from each news outlet.

In May, journalists covering the Chinese foreign minister's visit to the region said they were blocked from events.

The work of the Vanuatu Women's Centre celebrated

Sixteen women have received medals from the Vanuatu President, Nikenike Vurobaravu as part of marking the 30th anniversary of the Vanuatu Women's Centre.

These women included the Coordinator of the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre, Shamima Ali, the co-founder of the centre, Merilyn Tahi, and women running the centre's branches throughout the islands.

This celebration also involved Ali in launching the book, 'Her Story', revealing the history of the centre through its 30 years.

She said she has been involved with the organisation since its establishment in 1993.

Ali said both Ms Tahi and her, have assisted and supported women nationally, by 'training' and 'mentoring' them and sharing 'strategies' over the years, through the support of the 'Pacific Women's Network Against Violence Against Women', which was founded in 1992.

She said this has been a long-term relationship in building women, women's rights, and gender-based equality in Vanuatu, which has resulted positively where the male advocacy program, has come to promote women in the working industry.

Samoa formally welcomes NZ's Governor-General

Samoa formally welcomed New Zealand's Governor-General, Dame Cindy Kiro, with a Guard of Honour by Samoan Police in Apia.

Dame Cindy is in Samoa to attend independence celebrations.

She met with Samoa's Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa soon after arriving in the country on Sunday evening.

This year marks 60 years since Samoa gained its independence from New Zealand in 1962.

American Samoa to restart sending patients to NZ

In American Samoa, referring non-emergency patients to New Zealand is starting up again, funded by Medicaid.

The territory's Medicaid Officer Sandra King-Young said New Zealand is ready to start accepting the patients now that New Zealand and Samoa have reopened borders and flights are available.

All new referrals will continue to go through a pre-screening process and enrollment.

The procedures for off-island referral remain the same as in pre-Covid times, such as Medicaid needing to approve the patient for eligibility and service coverage, and approval by the LBJ Medical Center's Off-Island Medical Referral Committee.

There will be some new procedures required by the New Zealand government for entry, including the application of an electronic travel authority, a medical visa, and completing the government's Travel Declaration.

Lawyer in French Polynesia referred to authorities over anti-Semitic video

A lawyer in French Polynesia has been referred to authorities over an anti-Semitic video posted on social media.

The video caused outrage in both French Polynesia and France but has since been deleted.

Under French law, making public anti-Semitic statements can be punished with prison terms, fines and deprivation of civic rights.

The lawyer told Tahiti Nui TV that there was a technical glitch and that the video wasn't meant to be posted.