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Covid-free islands Samoa, Kiribati also get infected, go into lockdown

Flights carrying Covid-19 positive passengers land in Samoa, Kiribati

Little did two remote Pacific island nations imagine that they would also have to bear the brunt of the raging pandemic. The last two years of the pandemic had not caused much havoc in the islands of Kiribati and Samoa. It now looks like the current wave of the virus infections are not sparing any region of the world.

The two islands had to declare lockdowns on Saturday after flights that landed in their airports brought with them Covid positive passengers. This has brought in a dent in the almost safe lives of the people of Kiribati and Samoa.

With the Covid positive cases reported the two island nations have brought in stay-at-home orders. Kiribati had not reported even a single virus case till this month, while Samoa had reported only two. But now the scenario has changed.

Samoa, Kiribati get infected by passengers who flew in

 Kiribati was forced to go into a lockdown after dozens of passengers flew in from Fiji. This was the first time that a flight entered the island since the borders had reopened.

Meanwhile, the situation in Samoa worsened after cases connected with a repatriation flight from Brisbane went up 15. It is expected that the restrictions in Samoa could be withdrawn on Monday, as all cases reportedly relating to infection due to the Omicron variant of the virus have been placed under quarantine.

Kiribati is home to 120,000 people, and the lockdown would mean that at least half of them are monitored and placed under restrictions. The general public have been asked to stay home, unless there is a dire need to get essentials such as food and healthcare.

Lockdown to continue for a while

Officials are still mulling over as to till when the lockdown should continue. Speculations are that there could be relaxations by Thursday next week.

World Health Organisation data says that around 62 percent of Samoa’s population has been fully vaccinated. Meanwhile Kiribati has vaccinated about 34 percent of its population.

With islands like Samoa and Kiribati also falling prey to the virus attacks, it looks like no region in the world remain fully unaffected. Even the Antarctic regions were reported to have been infected as the virus made its foray into the research bases of a couple of Latin American countries in the snow clad continent.

Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »
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