French Polynesia suffers first Covid-19 death

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Photo: AFP

A person has died of Covid-19 in French Polynesia.

The president Edouard Fritch announced the first fatality of the pandemic in a public condolence message.

Media reports said the person was an elderly woman from a Papeete neighbourhood who was admitted to hospital a week ago.

Fritch said like the rest of the world French Polynesia was affected by this terrible pandemic and that they all lived through difficult times.

He said nobody would be left behind and while thanking medical staff, he said they would fight until the end.

Covid-19 had a resurge after the government and the French High Commission opened the border in July and abolished quarantine requirements for arriving travellers.

By yesterday, almost 800 cases were recorded.

The first outbreak between March and June affected 62 people and was brought under control with a lockdown and border closures.

Meanwhile, a group has been formed planning a rally against measures to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.

Tahiti-infos reported that two people distributing leaflets for a march on Saturday were fined for defying an obligation to wear a mask in the centre of Papeete.

Masks are compulsory on public transport and students aged 11 and older also have to wear them.

While hundreds of infections have been recorded in recent weeks the two individuals dismissed the surge in cases as fear inducing propaganda.

They said fining people for not wearing a mask was a revenue gathering exercise and that they would refuse to pay up and instead contest the matter in court.

Repeat offenders risk being fined up to $US900.

Unions had earlier threatened with strike action in their bid to force the government to tighten measures to contain the latest coronavirus outbreak.

They wanted quarantine requirements to be reintroduced, but both the government and the French High Commission ruled them out and also decided against another general lockdown.

They said they were told by officials that the authorities expected the population to develop herd immunity.

The anti-mask proponents said once 70 percent of the people were infected the epidemic was over.