All the 54 passengers must have been quarantined for two weeks before the flight, been tested regularly and they had to test negative for the corona before they were allowed to board the plane.
Nevertheless, 36 of them tested positive after arriving in the island republic of Kiribati, which has remained coronafrie throughout the pandemic, writes The Guardian.
The plane arrived in Kiribati from Fiji on Friday last week. The passengers were quarantined after arrival, but the virus managed to spread to other inhabitants of the island nation.
The authorities have therefore decided on a four-day shutdown from next Monday.
One of the security guards at the quarantine center tested positive on Tuesday this week, and his family was quarantined while the village they live in was closed for two weeks.
Following this, the authorities have also adopted a two-week curfew, in addition to the use of bandages, distance restrictions and corona passes for travelers outside the capital Tarawa.
Schools are also being closed and people are only allowed to leave their homes for necessities.
The news about the corona-positive air passengers and the security guard led to panic among the locals, especially because the news reached the people before the outbreak became official, writes The Guardian.
Kareaua Nawaia, a 32-year-old teacher and father of three, tells the newspaper that he is now particularly worried about the children.
– As parents, we are worried about the children because, unlike us, they are not vaccinated. They are also not vaccinated here on the island.
Dissatisfied with the authorities
Nawaia adds that getting corona infection on the island nation was inevitable, but that it should have been possible to avoid now – because Fiji is going through its third wave of infection.
Other residents have expressed dissatisfaction with the authorities’ time spent introducing the closure. The first person to be vaccinated in Kiribati, allegedly a doctor, is said to have written on Facebook that it is probably too late if the closure is not introduced until next week.
According to the authorities, the vaccine status in Kiribati should be that 93 per cent of the population has received the first vaccine dose, while only 53 per cent has received the second dose.