Kiribati lockdown: Remote Pacific nation imposes Covid restrictions

Kiribati lockdown: Remote Pacific nation imposes Covid restrictions

Kiribati and other Pacific nations were spared the worst of the pandemic because many states closed their borders foreign nationals shortly after the virus emerged in late 2019. Kiribati at the moment requires all people to wear masks in public spaces, including on public transportation. There is already a curfew in place from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m., and social gatherings are currntly limited to 10 people. The decision to go into lockdown over a handful of cases is not without precedent in the South Pacific. Tonga declared a weeklong lockdown for the main island Tongatapu after authorities there discovered the country’s first Covid-19 case in November.

Residents must stay home unless they have to leave for essential work, access emergency services or shop for food or other essential goods, the government said in its statement. Kiribati’s government said it will enact on Monday a 24-hour curfew in South Tarawa — the main hub of Kiribati — and the nearby township of Beito.

No public transport will be in operation; social gatherings will be banned; and all bars and nightclubs will be closed. Of a population of just 122,391, only 3 confirmed cases had been identified in Kirbati before last week’s flight. That’s partly due to the island’s strict entry controls during the pandemic and its isolation. Kiribati sits in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 3,100 miles (5,000 kilometers) away from North America.

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  • Kiribati lockdown: Remote Pacific nation imposes Covid restrictions
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