The virus spreads very quickly in French Polynesia. The High Commissioner of the Republic has taken severe measures to limit the outbreak.
There’s a brutal worsening of the coronavirus situation in French Polynesia. Currently, more than a thousand Polynesians are affected by the disease (including the president of the local government, Edouard Fritch), sixteen people died and about sixty persons are hospitalized. Ten of them are in intensive care.
For the moment, the situation is not critical but it could become so. The Taaone hospital in Tahiti can accommodate 200 coronavirus patients and they are only 60 in intensive care. If the virus spread goes on, the hospital may not be able to accommodate and heal all the patients.
This is why the High Commissioner of the Republic, Dominique Sorain, has taken new measures. The population is not confined but the restrictions are significant. Thus, festive gatherings are forbidden in the village halls or in public places. No time to get married neither to celebrate one’s birthday. And gatherings of more than six people are not allowed on public area. Bingos are also prohibited as well as popular cockfights.
Sports competitions are also affected. They are now behind closed doors. In bars and restaurants, customers must be seated and wear masks when they move around. Commercial events can be organized but only if social distancing is respecteded (four square meters per person). Funeral wakes are also concerned. There cannot be more than ten people around the coffin.
For the moment, there’s no night curfew but it could become possible if the situation deteriorates. Although the administration has banned the movement of its officials on the islands, individuals still have the right to travel around the archipelago.
The situation is serious since French Polynesia is one of most affected by the virus of France’s territories. It’s also quite worrying since there are many diabetics and obese people and many Polynesians are suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
A question arises : has French Polynesia made the right choice with reopening its borders three months ago? New Caledonia, another French territory in the Pacific, made the opposite choice. The rare people who enter New Caledonia must compulsory spend a two-week quarantine in a dedicated hotel and under police surveillance.
The virus does not circulate in New Caledonia and there is no Covid-19 patient in hospital.
Photo > The Taaone Hospital in Pirae, Tahiti Island. Photo : www.chpf.pf