The French Polynesian government has announced the easing of lockdown measures introduced due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on all islands except Moorea and Tahiti from Monday, April 20. Attestations will no longer be necessary for movement, and outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, and water sports will be permitted. Public gatherings remain banned; however, up to 20 people may gather for funerals or up to 50 if the venue is large enough. Local administration offices will be permitted to allow more employees into offices, and construction work may resume so long as protection is provided. Some schools will also reopen. Restaurants may operate; however, they can only offer takeaway services. All inter-island travel remains suspended, and nightly curfews between 20:00 and 05:00 (local time) remain in place. The decision to lift restrictions in French Polynesia's outer islands comes after all detected cases of COVID-19 were limited to Moorea and Tahiti.
On Wednesday, April 15, Air Tahiti Nui announced that it would extend its suspension of all flights through Sunday, May 31. The government suspended all international flights on Friday, March 27.
As of Saturday, April 18, there have been 55 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in French Polynesia. 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 COVID-19 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, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.