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New Caledonia confined for two weeks after the first cases detected

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Two weeks of confinement were decreed in New Caledonia from Monday, after the discovery on Sunday of the first nine cases of Covid-19 outside the fortnight.

After Wallis and Futuna, the first nine cases of Covid-19 outside the fortnight were detected, Sunday March 7, in New Caledonia, where a strict confinement of two weeks, with in particular all the schools closed, was announced.

Until now, New Caledonia and Wallis-and-Futuna were among the rare territories on the planet spared by the coronavirus, thanks in particular to compulsory fortnights in hotels requisitioned for anyone arriving. Only imported cases of the disease had been counted.

The first indigenous cases in New Caledonia were identified during investigations carried out due to the detection the day before in the neighboring archipelago of Wallis and Futuna of the first local case. Since then six other cases have been identified. However, a health bubble between the two territories allows travelers to circulate freely.

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“According to the first elements, the patient (in Wallis-and-Futuna) would have developed symptoms in mid-February and could thus have been contaminated in Wallis-and-Futuna from the end of January”, declared to the press Thierry Santa, president of the Caledonian government. Flights with the islands of Wallis and Futuna are suspended.

This patient, who would be a college principal, is in serious condition and could be evacuated to the hospital in Noumea, we learned from corroborating sources.

“This is a person who was out of fortnight several weeks ago after testing negative. This person saw a doctor because of symptoms and tested positive which means the virus is circulating in the patient. island, “Hervé Jonathan, senior administrator (prefect) of Wallis and Futuna told AFP on Sunday.

Closed schools

Thierry Santa asked “all people who have returned from Wallis-and-Futuna (in New Caledonia) since January 25 to isolate themselves and report themselves by calling the 15”.

Alongside Laurent Prévost, High Commissioner of the Republic in New Caledonia, Thierry Santa announced “a strict confinement of the population from Monday evening for two weeks with the clear objective of breaking the transmission of the virus as long as there is still time “.

In the current state of investigations, the authorities do not know how the virus entered Wallis and Futuna.

The details of the containment measures will be presented Monday during the day, but Thierry Santa and Laurent Prévost have already indicated that all schools will be closed and all non-essential activities prohibited.

While 5,210 people received a first dose of the vaccine and 1,603 both, Thierry Santa pledged “to accelerate the campaign, the only way to protect themselves and the others”.

Test campaign in Wallis and Futuna

In Wallis-and-Futuna, a test campaign will be launched Monday with all students, teachers and administrative and technical staff of the Vaimoana college where the first patient detected on Saturday works.

The population of these islands is not confined for the moment, but the wearing of the mask has been compulsory since Sunday in the public space, bars and restaurants are closed as well as schools and flights between the island of Wallis and that of Futuna are suspended, the Senior Administration said in a statement.

While the population of these Polynesian islands lives to the rhythm of Catholic and customary religious ceremonies, religious services are stopped, gatherings of more than three people in public space are prohibited and the prefect recommended that the population scrupulously respect the rules. barrier gestures.

According to a health survey published in 2020, more than 70% of the approximately 11,000 inhabitants of the islands of Wallis and Futuna are suffering from obesity and diabetes is also reaching record levels, making the population particularly vulnerable if the virus were to spread.

On Sunday, masks were distributed free of charge in dispensaries in Wallis and others were on their way to the sister island of Futuna.

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