Kiribati two years without CoV: first plane brings infected people

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For two years, the South Sea nation of Kiribati has managed to keep CoV almost completely off its islands. Now, the first plane allowed to land brought 36 infected people to the archipelago.

The plane, which came from Fiji, had 54 fully vaccinated people on board who had undergone three tests before takeoff, all of which came back negative, the government announced today.

But after arriving in Kiribati on Friday, 36 of the passengers tested positive for the virus, it said. They were taken to a quarantine center. One of the center’s employees has since also been infected, he said.

Measures imposed immediately
Because the virus may thus have spread outside the isolation center, authorities immediately imposed nighttime curfew restrictions on citizens and made masks mandatory. Meetings of more than ten people were banned, and the sale of alcohol was also restricted.

The Republic of Kiribati is a nation consisting of coral atolls and islands with a population of about 120,000. The archipelago is located near the equator in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The government had closed the borders in March 2020 for fear of spreading the pandemic. Until the flight from Fiji, only two infections had been registered, but both on fishing boats and not on land.

Kiribati is among the poorest countries in the world, and medical care options are limited, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Emergencies would often have to be flown thousands of kilometers to New Zealand or Australia.

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