A remote island nation confronts its first confirmed coronavirus case.

A distant island nation confronts its first confirmed coronavirus case.

The Cook dinner Islands, the South Pacific nation recognized for its strict isolation coverage, was among the many final international locations with no reported coronavirus circumstances. On Saturday, Prime Minister Mark Brown announced {that a} traveler who visited from New Zealand had examined constructive after getting back from the islands.

The traveler, who’s totally vaccinated, spent eight days within the Cook Islands and developed signs the morning of Feb. 7, earlier than departing from the Cooks’ largest and most populous island, Rarotonga, according to a government news release issued on Saturday. This might recommend that there’s “silent transmission” of the virus within the Cook dinner Islands, the discharge mentioned, which means that individuals might develop into contaminated and unfold the virus with out realizing it.

The Cook dinner Islands, which has a inhabitants of about 17,000, is a self-governing chain of 15 islands in free affiliation with New Zealand.

Mr. Brown mentioned it was very probably that the individual had contracted the virus in Rarotonga. The federal government shared the names of a restaurant and a nightclub the contaminated individual visited and requested that residents who had been at these locations across the similar time and had developed flulike signs come ahead for testing.

In a while Saturday, the nation’s well being ministry mentioned in a news release that 31 potential shut contacts of the contaminated traveler had taken P.C.R. assessments and that each one got here again unfavourable.

The announcement comes a month after the country reopened its air borders to vaccinated guests, permitting for two-way quarantine-free journey from New Zealand. Beforehand, the Cook dinner Islands had maintained a stringent journey coverage, shutting itself off from the world in early 2020 out of concern {that a} Covid-19 outbreak would overpower its well being care system. It opened to vacationers from New Zealand for less than a quick interval in 2021.

This technique was additionally favored by the governments of Pacific island international locations together with Kiribati, Tonga, Palau, the Solomon Islands and Samoa in the course of the first two years of the pandemic. Their geographic isolation, strict journey restrictions and excessive vaccination charges allowed them to maintain viral transmission low and even stay just about coronavirus-free.

Now, a few of these international locations have began to steadily reopen to vacationers and are enduring surges in caseloads pushed by the extremely transmissible Omicron variant. In Tonga, the federal government declared a countrywide lockdown in early February amid a rising outbreak that began amongst assist staff serving to the nation get well from a volcanic eruption and tsunami.

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