A radical decision. Strict confinement for a period of fifteen days will begin at noon on Tuesday in New Caledonia, where three indigenous cases of Covid-19 were detected on Monday in the archipelago so far preserved from the disease.
The detection of three cases “geographically distant” and “without links between them” led the president of the government Louis Mapou (separatist) and the High Commissioner of the Republic in New Caledonia Patrice Faure to announce Monday the strict confinement of the population for a period of fifteen days.
No schools, universities, or air links
Wearing a mask outside the home becomes compulsory. Schools, colleges, high schools and the university will no longer welcome students. External and inter-island air links are suspended until further notice, with the exception of medical personnel.
The economic activity of businesses that do not welcome the public can continue, like that of basic necessities.
Only home-work trips, trips for medical consultations, essential purchases and physical activity within the limit of one hour per day and within a radius of one kilometer are authorized.
“The virus is circulating and at this time dozens of Caledonians are probably infected”, warned President Mapou while urging the population not to panic. Containment “must make it possible to break the transmission of the virus”, he insisted. “Restriction becomes the rule, freedom the exception,” said High Commissioner Patrice Faure for his part, specifying that checks on the wearing of masks and the reasons for travel would begin on Tuesday.
A scenario feared by the authorities
This scenario of the introduction of the virus was very feared by the authorities who fear a very rapid saturation of the health system, only 30% of the population being vaccinated and while the medical staff is lacking. A fear that prompted the authorities to adopt the vaccine obligation for all adults at the end of last week, a measure which took effect on Monday.
The main hospital in the archipelago has launched its white plan. A tent has been set up at the entrance to the structure to allow sorting of patients.
“National solidarity will apply, reinforcements will be requested if necessary”, assured Patrice Faure. Since the start of the Covid-19 health crisis, Caledonia has recorded only 139 cases of Covid 19 and no deaths.
Since March 2020 and the first confinement of the island, access to the territory has been very restricted and arrivals must submit to a strict 15-day quarantine with hosts requisitioned by the government.