(ANSA) – SYDNEY, Jan. 22 – The islands of Kiribati and Samoa went into lockdown today after an increase in COVID-19 infections due to arrivals from overseas that had been halted for nearly two years without the pandemic.
As of earlier this month, Kiribati had not reported a single case of Covid, while Samoa had recorded only two cases since the start of the pandemic, according to the World Health Organization.
Now, the authorities of the two countries had to implement a series of restrictive measures after dozens of passengers on a flight to Kiribati from Fiji, the first to arrive in the country since the border reopened, tested positive for the virus. Fiami Naomi Matava said restrictions began in Samoa after cases linked to the return flight from Brisbane rose to 15.
He added that restrictions will increase from tomorrow, and all those infected, who are believed to have the Omicron variant, have been placed in quarantine. The capital of Kiribati, which is home to nearly half of the country’s 120,000 residents, will be subject to restrictions after its first cases were recorded among the population.
The measures that went into effect require residents to stay at home except for access to food or health care.
It is not clear how long the shutdown will last, but there is speculation with an earlier announcement until next Thursday.
According to WHO data, about 62% of Samoans are fully vaccinated, while about 34% of Kiribati receive dual vaccination.
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