Authorities have announced that all measures in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic will be lifted on Monday, June 15. However, tight restrictions on flights to and from the territory will remain in place. The islands' COVID-19-related measures had already been eased on May 4, but the new declaration means that there will now be no restrictions on large gatherings and sporting events. Bars and entertainment venues will also no longer be required to record the contact details of their customers.
Despite the lifting of internal COVID-19 measures, tight border restrictions remain in place in New Caledonia, with entry into the territory limited to repatriation flights. Travelers are required to quarantine at government-designated hotels for 14 days on arrival in the territory, and for a further seven days at their own residence. These restrictions also apply to French police personnel who have been quarantined at their barracks. Plans are in place to open up air travel to other low risk destinations in the region but so far only the islands of Wallis and Futuna have met the conditions for flights to be reinstated.
As of Thursday, June 11, 21 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in New Caledonia, although there have been no associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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