New Caledonia on lockdown; nine local Covid cases detected



The previously coronavirus-free New Caledonia has been placed on a two-week lockdown beginning today following the discovery of nine locally transmitted Covid-19 cases.


New Caledonia President Thierry Santa ordered all people returning from Wallis and Futuna since Jan. 25 to isolate themselves and contact the health department.


The outbreak in Noumea was detected after a school headteacher fell ill on the neighboring Wallis and Futuna islands, prompting authorities to screen for cases.

Passenger flights between the two French territories have been suspended and internal flights in New Caledonia as well as flights between Wallis and Futuna are being stopped. They also put the brakes on their travel bubble.


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Schools and businesses are ordered closed and nonessential activities will be suspended.


According to Radio New Zealand's report, approximately 5,000 people in New Caledonia have been vaccinated while Wallis and Futuna is just about to roll out its inoculation program.


The coronavirus first reached Wallis and Futuna on Oct. 16, 2020.


Prior to the discovery of Covid-19 cases, the New Caledonia government extended international travel restrictions through July 31 with some exceptions for repatriation, freight, and medical transport flights. Some flights to France were also operating. Only persons with essential reasons for travel to the territory will be approved entry.





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