Isolated Pacific islands hit by Covid-19 outbreaks

Isolated Pacific islands hit by Covid-19 outbreaks

For more than two years, Tonga’s Pacific Islands isolation helped keep COVID-19 at bay.

But last month’s volcanic eruption and tsunami were in dire need of fresh water and medicine from outside – and the virus. Now the country is in an open-ended lockdown, which residents hope will help contain the smaller outbreak and will not last very long.

“We have very limited resources, and our hospitals are too small,” Paula Taumoepu, a Tongan business owner, said on Friday. “But I am not sure any health system can cope. We are lucky we have two years to get our VAX rate very high, and we had a very immediate lockdown.”

Tonga is one of several Pacific countries to have experienced its first outbreak in the past month. Everyone has limited health care resources, and there is concern that the foresight that once protected them could make it difficult to help them now. The nation of 1,05,000 had reported one case of COVID-19 – a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints missionary returning to the island from Africa via New Zealand who tested positive in October – and Officials debated whether to give international aid they decided they would have to, but despite strict precautions in landing ships and planes from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Britain and China, two workers at the capital’s Queen Salote wharf. Tongan men tested positive on Tuesday.

“Tonga is out of luck this year,” said Samiula Fonua, president of Tonga Cable Ltd., which owns the only fiber optic cable connecting the country to the world. “We are in dire need of some good news.”

The Solomon Islands reported its first community outbreak on January 19. With its population of only 11 fully vaccinated, the virus is spreading rapidly, with the Red Cross reporting that less than two weeks later, there are now more than 780 recorded cases and five related deaths. Fiji – still battling Cyclone Kodi in early January – is grappling with a spike in cases fueled by Omicron, and the first cases have been reported in Kiribati, Samoa and Palau.

Bali reopened to foreign travelers

Direct international flights to Bali have resumed for the first time in two years as Indonesia opens the resort island to foreign travelers from all countries, but remains in place for all visitors to mandatory quarantine.

Spain will drop masks outside

Spain will end a mandate to wear masks outside next week, reversing a late December order against an unprecedented surge of infections fueled by the highly contagious Omicron.

30,15,863 Number of new cases reported globally in the last 24 hours
38,35,09,779 Total number of cases worldwide
56,93,824 total number of deaths worldwide

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