July 4th Pacific Briefs


French Polynesia records more cases of Covid-19

A further 48 cases of Covid-19 have been recorded in French Polynesia during the last 24-hour reporting period.

The number of active cases is now 147, which means a doubling in two weeks.

The pandemic had subsided a month ago and is much weaker than at the peak of the epidemic last year.

Health authorities say there are no Covid-19 patients in the hospital.

The death toll from the pandemic is 649, with most deaths recorded during last year’s outbreak with the Delta variant.

Vaccinations continued and more than 81% of people aged 12 and over received two injections.

Covid-19 cases on the Niue border are now ten

The number of active Covid-19 cases at the border in Niue has reached ten.

This follows the arrival of the first quarantine-free flight from New Zealand last week.

The government says that so far everyone who has tested positive for the virus has been on the flight.

Prime Minister Dalton Tagelagi is in close contact with one of the passengers and is in isolation at home.

Niue remains at the yellow alert level as there is no community transmission.

The government is asking anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 to get tested.

French Polynesia unions challenge new labor law

Eight unions in French Polynesia say they challenged the new local employment law before France’s highest administrative court.

In a statement, they oppose a provision approved in April allowing the local civil service to hire French civil servants already in Tahiti.

The government has argued that these people are often detached for a long time and should be integrated.

However, according to the unions, this prevents locals from entering these positions and prevents young, well-educated French Polynesians from returning home.

Unions also say the government is setting a bad example for the private sector in terms of hiring locals.

Athletes from Wallis and Futuna stuck in New Caledonia

A dozen team members from Wallis and Futuna are stranded in New Caledonia after testing positive for Covid-19 during their return trip from the Pacific mini-games in the Northern Marianas.

After testing positive on departure from Saipan a week ago, the 12 were forced to sit in the back of the chartered airliner, which was also carrying the Caledonian and Vanuatu delegations to Noumea.

According to the media, accommodation had been arranged upon arrival.

To enter Wallis and Futuna, travelers must provide a negative test result, meaning those infected had to wait until the last leg of their journey.

Wallis and Futuna eased its restrictions last month but still has a three-day isolation regime for arriving passengers, which is expected to be lifted within a week.

About a third of the population is fully vaccinated.

The new health system will provide better services – especially for Pasifika’ according to Aupito

New Zealand’s health agency, Health New Zealand, says it will focus on improving health outcomes for those who cannot get the services they need.

Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Officially launched on Friday, Health New Zealand replaces the country’s 20 district health boards.

Minister of Pacific Peoples and Associate Minister of Health Aupito William Sio said the new health system will provide better services, especially for the Pasifika peoples.

“Our Pacific communities have long experienced unacceptable health outcomes, racism in the health system, fewer years of life expectancy, preventable death and disease, today I look forward to a system of healthcare where Pacific families can get better healthcare closer to home,” says Aupito.

Confirmation that Samoa’s national Vailima beer is moving overseas upsets locals

Local production of Samoa’s national beer, Vailima, will soon end, with its owners confirming reports that operations will be relocated to Fiji.

It comes after 42 years of local production, and the news sparked a backlash on social media.

Local beer distributor and owner of Y-Not Bar in Apia, Jay Schuster, blames foreign ownership for the relocation.

“It’s sad but it was always going to happen. The managers who were there weren’t local.

They weren’t passionate about our people. They weren’t really passionate about making it work. It’s sad to see him go. I hope the locals or the government will intervene in some way. I don’t know how it would go, but if there was a way to keep this mark in Samoa, that would be great.”

Manu Samoa defeats Australia A

Manu Samoa defeats Australia A by 31 points to 26 in the Pacific Nations Cup first round match at ANZ Stadium in Suva, Fiji.

Manu Samoa entered the match as an underdog, having fielded an uncapped squad of twelve players.

The close encounter ended full-time with a game-winning interception try from rookie winger Manu Samoa Nigel Ah Wong.

Ah Wong, who plays club rugby in Japan, scored two of Samoa’s five tries in an impressive performance.

Many of Samoa are now top of the tournament standings, having picked up a bonus point.

Cook Islander hopes to become Wellington City Council’s second Pacific councilor

Cook Islander Luana Scowcroft is hoping to become Wellington City Council’s second Pacific councilor in this year’s local elections.

The first Pasifika councilor in Wellington, to date, is Tala Cleverly who was elected in 1979.

Ms. Cleverly was also the first Pasifika person elected to local government anywhere in Aotearoa.

Ms Scowcroft said the increase in the number of Pasifika candidates in local elections across New Zealand is a positive step.

“I think we’re going through a Pacific wave at the moment, which is incredible with Efeso Collins running for mayor of Auckland, but the only example of a Pasifika councilor in Wellington is a – a woman, so I have thought, you know what, I’m gonna take this into my own hands and throw my hat in the ring,” she said.


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