Kiribati, one of the most remote and isolated island nations in the world, has entered its first-ever bloc due to COVID-19.
The decision came after some 36 passengers who flew from Fiji to Kiribati on the first international flight (in 10 months) tested positive for coronavirus.
As of last week, Kiribati has only recorded two cases of the virus. As one of the most remote islands in the world, the island has remained COVID-free so far and has not been locked up since the start of the pandemic. But on Tuesday, the government confirmed that 36 of the 54 passengers tested positive for the virus.
The government took to Facebook to make the announcement and said all passengers are currently under surveillance. The message also stated that all passengers on board were fully vaccinated.
The lockout means that residents can only leave their homes for essential services. People are allowed to go to the shops for essentials only between 6 am and 2 pm.
President Taneti Maamau’s office said on Facebook: “The only way to combat this virus is through a full vaccination. The public is urged to complete vaccination doses to protect themselves and their families.
Kiribati is a beautiful island nation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, close to Samoa and Fiji. Of Kiribati’s 33 islands, only 21 people live and span a large sea area. These are divided into three larger areas: the Gilbert Islands, Phoenix Islands, and the Line Islands. The country has around 120,000 inhabitants and is best known for its coconut plantations and fish farms.