COVID-19 News Updates 17.07.2020


Country CasesConfirmed Deaths
French Polynesia 62 (60 recovered) 0
Fiji 26 (18 recovered) 0
New Caledonia 22 (21 recovered) 0
Papua New Guinea 15 (8 recovered) 0
Samoa 0 0
Vanuatu 0 0
Cook Islands 0 0
Tonga 0 0
Solomon Islands 0 0
Niue 0 0
Kiribati 0 0
FSM 0 0
Palau 0 0
Tuvalu 0 0
Marshall Islands 0 0
Nauru 0 0
PNG confirmed 4 COVID-19 cases involving virus testing lab staff

According to the local media Post Courier outlet on 17 July, Papua New Guinea (PNG) has recorded four COVID-19 infections involving staff at a laboratory responsible for testing virus swabs, taking the number of cases in the country to 15.

All four cases were staff members at the Central Public Health Laboratory at Port Moresby General Hospital who are made up of three laboratory scientists who conduct GeneXpert testing for Covid-19; the other is a support staff member of the laboratory.

The laboratory is responsible for carrying the testing on the swabs to determine whether they were positive or negative.

The last Covid-19 case for PNG was announced on 25 June who had come into close contact with case number 10.

Source: Post Courier

Palau scheduled another repatriation flight this month

According to news released by PACNEWS on 16 July, Palau has scheduled another flight on July 23 from Guam to repatriate its nationals and residents stranded abroad especially from the United States, and to speed up the process, the nation is planning to bring home a larger number of passengers this time.

In earlier interviews, the Palau government said there are about 143 trapped nationals and residents that wanted to fly home. Press Secretary Olkeriil Kazuo in an interview said while it's not have been finalised, there are about 87 who want to be included in this month's flight. The second flight will almost double compared to the first batch of repatriated nationals and residents in June.

Given the success of the first repatriation in minimising Covid-19 risk, the health ministry has announced a scaled-down quarantine procedure.

The passengers coming from Guam will only have to quarantine prior to arrival to Palau for seven days instead of 14 days; Upon arrival to Palau, the stranded residents and citizens will still have to quarantine for 14 days but no longer required to self-quarantine when they complete the mandatory isolation in a hotel; Instead of five tests, the passengers will now have to take four tests.

The passenger will be tested before going into quarantine in Guam and 48 hours prior to boarding a plane to Palau, that person would be tested again. In Palau, passengers will be tested a week after quarantine and tested again before being released from the mandatory isolation.


Negative COVID-19 tests for Tongans in quarantine

According to the report of Matangi on 15 July, Tonga remains CoViD-19 free after tests carried on 57 people who were repatriated from Fiji were negative.

The Minister for Health, Dr 'Amelia Tu'ipulotu said as mandatory the passengers were tested upon arrival on Monday, 11 July. Their samples were then taken to the laboratory at Vaiola Hospital, where Principal Medical Scientist Telesia ‘Apikotoa and team carried out the tests.

The passengers were initially tested for CoViD-19 in Fiji on 10 July and the results received on 11 July were all negative.

At the same time, everyone is doing fine under quarantine at the Tanoa Hotel. 

Another CoViD-19 test will be carried out on the 14th day of quarantine. After the final results are announced, and providing that all are negative, all passengers will be released to return to their homes where they will self-quarantine for a further seven days.

SOURCE: Matangi

Relevant news:

PACNEWS: “Tongan repatriation passengers now in quarantine”

PACNEWS: “Tonga residents now banned from entering Fua’amotu airport and Tanoa hotel for two weeks”

Vanuatu COVID-19 State of Emergency extended to December

According to news released by Vanuatu Daily Post Vanuatu on 15 July, State of Emergency (SOE) relating to COVID-19 has been extended again until 31 December this year.

The extension was approved by the Head of State under the Disaster Risk Management Act No.23 of 2019 on 13 July. The decision was taken based on the recommendation of the National Disaster Committee, following approval from the Council of Ministers (COM).

In relation to the SOE on Tropical Cyclone Harold, it has been extended until 09 August.

The declaration of the extension for TC Harold and COVID-19 SOE which became effective 11 July are for the whole of Vanuatu.

Following the SOE extension, the Minister responsible Geological Hazards and Climate Change, Bruno Leingkon, also signed an order carried in the official gazette relating to an amendment in the SOE regulation order no.71 of 2020.

The first amendment after paragraph 1(a) of the order: “The Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Utilities and the Department of Ports and Harbor must ensure that, all local registered vessels and vessels registered internationally as Vanuatu vessels, which are outside Vanuatu waters, do not enter Vanuatu waters”.

The next amendment after subparagraph 1 (b) (i) states: “the repatriation of Vanuatu citizens and non-citizens must not occur from 11 July till 31 July”


Relevant news:

Vanuatu Minister of Health: State of Emergency

New COVID-19 case in New Caledonia

According to reported by PACNEWS, New Caledonia has detected another Covid-19 case.

The French High Commission in Noumea said the individual tested positive at the end of the quarantine in the quarters set aside for the military. It said it compliance with the provisions in New Caledonia, the person has been transferred to the Covid-19 unit at the hospital although he is asymptomatic.

The last case in New Caledonia, who was detected more than a month ago, was also a member of the security forces. All 22 Covid-19 cases have been imported and none triggered any transmission in the community.

The borders have been closed and all arrivals have to go into two weeks of quarantine.