There are now more than 220 confirmed cases in the Pacific Islands (excluding Australia and New Zealand) and six deaths.
This week brought sharp relief about the true nature of vulnerability and risk in the Pacific Islands region when Tropical Storm Harold left death and destruction afterwards. In the Solomon Islands, more than 20 people are feared dead after being swept away by a boat carrying passengers from Honiara to Malaita following the government’s instructions that everyone in the capital who can go home must do so.
As the typhoon intensified and headed to Vanuatu, the government relaxed the Covid-19 state of emergency, which limited meetings to no more than five people, to enable people to take shelter together in mass evacuation centers.
As the enormity of the economic impact pandemic becomes clear The World Bank announced a US $ 14 billion financial package for East Asia and the Pacific to support their Covid-19 response. The following Predictions of the Asian Development Bank significant economic contraction throughout the region, especially in countries that depend on tourism.
That foreign ministers from the countries that make up the Pacific Islands Forum held an online meeting on Tuesday to discuss regional responses to Covid-19, including how to work with development partners to create “humanitarian corridor“To get urgent supplies to countries that have effectively closed their borders.
What happened this week?
Thrush reported a total of 113 cases with four deaths. This does not include the case (more than 150) of USS Theodore Roosevelt, who has been moored on Guam for some time. There is anger in Guam in the fact that seamen were allowed to land and complete their quarantine in hotels in the region.
French Polynesia has 42 cases.
That Commonwealth of the North Marianas Islands has eight confirmed cases. There is already one death and the authorities believe there is community transmission within the area.
New Caledonia has 18 recorded cases. President Thierry Santa in isolation after a staff member has been stated positive.
Fiji have seen a dramatic increase in cases to 15. Most of them emerged from one person who did not isolate himself. The most recent case was reported to be isolated and stable in the hospital.
Papua New Guinea has reported a second case, this time in East New Britain. Province has been locked and medical teams have been mobilized to help.
West Papua is reported by the Jakarta Post has 26 confirmed cases and one death.
In Vanuatu, about 60 people were released from quarantine after undergoing medical examinations after 14 days of supervision and isolation.
Tonga has no reported cases.
In Samoa more than 200 people were quarantined after arriving in the country. They must be completely isolated for 14 days. A number hotel in Apia has been pressed into service as a quarantine facility.
Solomon Island has no reported cases. Eleven suspected cases have been tested and everything returns negative.
Palau remains virus free, after test from a case that was allegedly returned negative.
What does the Pacific government do?
Papua New Guinea: parliament chose to extend the state of emergency for two months even though domestic air service resumed on April 6 after a two week closure.
Fiji: government and law enforcement, assisted by the military, maintain lockdowns and curfews throughout the country. There were hundreds of arrests for curfew violations, which caused the PM to threaten tougher steps.
French Polynesia: Medical supplies sourced from China have not arrived and are expected to land within the next week.
Solomon Island: Parliament returned on April 6 to debate the extension of the public emergency for a period of four months. The prime minister said people found spreading “rumors and speculation” would be arrested. Non-essential civil servants have been instructed to take one month’s leave.
New Caledonia: restrictions on movement and meetings of people have been extended to April 13. The government has conducted repatriation flights from Australia, Japan and Vanuatu.
Samoa: The government has extended the state of emergency for the next four weeks.
Tonga: National locking has been extended until April 12, although some activities, including inter-island shipping, have been resumed. Matangi Tonga reports that doctors warn that insufficient resources are devoted to preparing “flooding patients” suffering from Covid-19.
Vanuatu: the government has allocated VT3bn (AU $ 40 million) for infrastructure projects with the aim of supporting food security and providing employment opportunities. Initial announcements by the government indicate that international travel restrictions will not vary to allow humanitarian assistance to cross borders without meeting quarantine requirements.
Kiribati: The government announced on Facebook that Air Kiribati will fly special flights from Brisbane to Tarawa to deliver important medical supplies.
Marshall Island: The government has announced a complete suspension of international passenger arrivals to the country until May 5. Restrictions on fishing vessels are also tightened.
Palau: The government has ordered that the border will remain closed to passengers until April 30. Cargo flights will continue. Donated testing equipment from Taiwan will enable Palau to conduct its own domestic testing.
Australia and New Zealand
The number of Australian deaths from the Covid-19 pandemic has reached 45, with almost 5,900 infections confirmed. There are 96 people in intensive care, with 35 on ventilators. Health authorities in Australia have expressed cautious optimism that Australia might be able to limit the coronavirus outbreak in the country but has warned against complacency or easing social rules that are too far away.
In New Zealand there are some positive news, with cases beginning to stabilize and decline two weeks after some of the world’s most stringent locking rules were introduced.
There have been 1,160 cases of the corona virus so far, and experts say the country may be the only western country with the possibility of eradicating the disease. One person – an older woman with pre-existing health problems – has died of the disease.
Concerns have been expressed in Fiji about secret information about Covid-19 patients who leaked and then circulated on social media.
What they say
If there was ever a time when the region and its partners needed to work together in strong solidarity to overcome direct and direct threats to the lives of our people throughout our Blue Pacific region – now is the time.
– Dame Meg Taylor, secretary general of the Pacific Islands Forum.
The Fiji prime minister reported that on Saturday, Fiji Airways organized charter flights to return 300 Mormon missionaries from across the Pacific to Utah, in the US, via Nadi, FIji.
Eleven Fijians trapped in Kiribati and hoping to return to Fiji try to travel on one of these regional flights, from Kiribati to Nadi.
“To reduce the weight of the cargo and allow 11 Fijians to board, 68 missionaries left their bags and possessions in Kiribati,” Frank Bainimarama wrote on Facebook. “Thanks to their sacrifice, these Fijians have all returned safely to Fiji, where they will be reunited with their families after the required two weeks of quarantine.”
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