The Pacific island of Kiribati has fallen into lockdown after being Covid-free as it welcomed its first international flight in months bringing in the virus.
The remote island went into lockdown for the first time on Saturday after two-thirds of passengers tested positive for Covid-19 and four cases were found in the community.
The Fiji Airways flight from Fiji to the Kiribati capital of South Tarawa was the first to the island nation in 10 months after the government reopened its borders.
Of the 54 travelers who landed last Friday, 36 tested positive, prompting the government to build quarantine facilities for all of them.
It has now issued an island-wide lockdown from Saturday after officials confirmed four more cases beyond the group of passengers who had been quarantined.
Officials confirmed that a guard at the facility tested positive on Tuesday and that two of his close contacts in the nearby village of Bouta were self-isolating while two other cases were confirmed. discovered in the community.
On Friday, Kiribati officials confirmed in a statement that a quarter had appeared.
From Saturday, islanders will experience their first lockdown after being Covid-free for most of the pandemic.
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Locals will be under curfew and will not be able to leave their homes unless it is essential work or to access emergency services. Schools will also be closed.
According to the government, the passengers on the flight from Fiji were quarantined for two weeks before leaving and had undergone Covid tests – raising questions about how they contracted the virus.
All passengers have been vaccinated.
Locals are now fearing the worst for their beloved island.
Teacher and father of three children Kaeaua Nawaia, 32 years old, recounts Guardians: “As parents, we worry about our children because, unlike us, they are unvaccinated and don’t have access to a [a vaccine] on the island.”
Dr Tabutoa Eria has criticized the government for being too slow to impose an embargo.
He wrote on Facebook: “It can [be] too late if you [the lockdown] come next week. Our beloved beauties please avoid unnecessary movements. The virus won’t move if we don’t. “
Last month, 93.4% of young adults over 18 on the island received a single dose of the Covid vaccine while only 53.1% had two, according to the Kiribati government, which is urging everyone to get vaccinated.
It said: “In this difficult and challenging situation, the Government calls on elders, churches, island councils, community and youth leaders for their support and cooperation to protect and protect the health of us and the nation.
“The only way we can fight this virus is through complete immunization and so the public is encouraged to complete their dose of immunization to protect themselves and their families.
“It’s important that we all work together and trust each other to do our part in fighting this pandemic.”
Like most remote islands in the region, Kiribati has adopted a “zero Covid” policy by imposing travel bans.
https://www.thesun.ie/news/8246733/pacific-island-kiribati-enters-first-covid-lockdown/ Pacific island of Kiribati goes into lockdown after Covid-free stay as first flight in months brought virus