Pacific island nation of Kiribati goes into first lockdown after Covid flight cases

·1-min read
A group of commuters make their way to the island of Kiribati  (AFP via Getty Images)
A group of commuters make their way to the island of Kiribati (AFP via Getty Images)

The entire pacific island nation of Kiribati has gone into lockdown after the first commercial flight in almost two years brought 36 Covid-19 cases.

Kiribati, which closed its border in March 2020, had previously reported just two coronavirus cases from a ship in May 2021. Both passengers recovered while the vessel was quarantined.

A Fiji Airways flight from Fiji to the Kiribati capital of South Tarawa on January 14 was the first aircraft to land after the nation reopened international travel.

However, on arrival 36 people tested positive. Four other people on the island are believed to have caught the virus through community transmission.

All passengers are currently being monitored by health officials.

The lockdown means schools will close and people can only leave home for essential services.

In addition, mandatory mask-wearing has been introduced alongside social distancing and vaccine passes for travel outside the capital, Tarawa.

"The only way that we can fight this virus is through complete vaccination," the office of President Taneti Maamau said on Facebook.

"The public is urged to complete their vaccination doses in order to protect themselves and families."

Kiribati is a remote nation of 33 atolls that is home to about 120,000 people.

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