Pacific nations employ island fortress tactics to combat coronavirus spread

first_imgPacific islands are imposing strict lockdown measures to combat the coronavirus, denying access to supply vessels and prohibiting human-to-human contact during aircraft refueling, amid fears their small healthcare systems could be over-run.The region recorded its first case of coronavirus this week, in French Polynesia, although most island nations cannot screen for Covid-19 cases onshore which is potentially masking its spread.One of the wealthiest Pacific nations, Fiji, this week opened its first facility capable of testing for the coronavirus, one of only four such facilities in the region, Radio New Zealand reported. Topics : Brad Ives, senior captain on the supply vessel Kwai, said the sailing ship was loaded with supplies for five populated coral atolls in the northern Cook Islands, in the South Pacific, when it received word it would be refused entry.”Fortunately, we got notice that they were going to refuse the ship before we departed our last port,” Ives told Reuters.”There’s cargo on it that will expire. It’s a bit of a problem for us that we are solving as we go.”Kwai is now in the Line Islands reorganizing its route.center_img While all Pacific nations have introduced wide-spread restrictions on international travellers over the past several weeks, some are now completely isolating their island populations.The United States-backed Marshall Islands this week suspended all incoming air travel, while those on aircraft landing to refuel are being restricted from human-to-human contact.Cruise ships have been denied port calls in New Caledonia, Tonga, Cook Islands and Samoa, among others, over the past fortnight, as local authorities tighten controls.The World Health Organization said in a statement it was supplying Samoa, which is still recovering from a deadly measles epidemic, with infrared thermometers to assist with screening at ports of entry and healthcare facilities to combat coronavirus.The island of Pukapuka, a tiny coral atoll in the Cook Islands with a population of 500, has been left short of foods like sugar, flour and rice after turning away the Kwai supply vessel.Island residents understand that coronavirus infection could be catastrophic due to a lack of medical facilities, said Pukapukan community member Kirianu Nio, who now lives on the more heavily populated island of Rarotonga.”They are short in processed foods which are the main supplies they normally order in bulk – but that’s a small price to pay,” said Nio. last_img read more

‘Casillas is the pride of Real Madrid’ – Del Bosque

first_imgIker Casillas is the “pride of Real Madrid”, according to Spain boss and former Blancos coach Vicente del Bosque.The 143-cap international was controversially left out of Jose Mourinho’s starting line-up for the trip to Malaga recently in favour of Antonio Adan.The Spanish champions went on to lose 3-2 in Andalusia but the 61-year-old has backed his skipper to bounce back.“Iker arrived at the age of 10,” he was quoted as saying by Marca.“His parents deserve a lot of merit, having brought him to the training centre, and I don’t think the were made of money.“Iker is the pride of Real Madrid. He is the only one to have come through the youth team, and it would be good to recognise what he was done as he’s done a lot. “He carries the values of Real Madrid.”last_img read more