On Wednesday, April 15, Air Tahiti Nui announced that it would extend its suspension of all flights through Sunday, May 31, due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Flight operations were previously set to resume on Friday, May 1. The government suspended all international flights on Friday, March 27, and inter-island travel, except for professional and health reasons, remains banned.
On Friday, April 10, the government of French Polynesia announced an extension of the curfew to Wednesday, April 29. The curfew, which was declared on March 27, is in place between 20:00 and 05:00 (local time). The president of French Polynesian, Edouard Fritch, stated that the extension was necessary to contain the spread of COVID-19 and warned that members of the public were disregarding restrictions. General containment measures have been in place since Saturday, March 21, restricting nonessential travel and closing shops, with the exception of food stores, bakeries, pharmacies, and service stations. Police are enforcing the restrictions, and there have been reports of individuals being prosecuted for violating containment measures.
As of Thursday, April 16, 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.