Commercial flights to Tahiti will resume from Wednesday, July 15, after authorities eased coronavirus disease (COVID-19) quarantine restrictions for travelers entering the territory. From Wednesday, travelers will no longer be required to quarantine for two weeks on entering the territory, and tourism-focused commercial flights to Los Angeles will resume following the three-month suspension of operations due to the pandemic. However, travelers will be required to undertake a COVID-19 test less than 72 hours before departure to the territory and provide evidence of COVID-19-specific travel insurance, as well as a full itinerary for their trip. Travelers will also be required to take a second COVID-19 test on their fourth day in Tahiti, with any testing positive being quarantined at the island's main hospital.
The policy change comes a week after limited flights resumed between France and Tahiti. However, the French government imposed new restrictions on travel between France and its overseas territories on Sunday, July 12, limiting journeys to those for essential personal, medical, or professional reasons.
The French Polynesian government lifted the majority of internal COVID-19 travel restrictions in the territory at the end of May, with public gatherings being permitted and sports and entertainment events allowed to resume. However, the government has focused on efforts to encourage the resumption of tourism to the territory as part of its COVID-19 economic recovery plan.
As of Monday, July 13, there have been 62 confirmed COVID-19 cases in French Polynesia with no associated deaths. 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.