New Caledonia, facing Covid-19 for the first time, recorded 16 deaths in 24 hours, local authorities announced Wednesday, the heaviest toll since the outbreak began in early September.
This French territory in the South Pacific “is going through a crisis never seen in its entire history”, alerted Gilbert Tyuienon, a spokesman for the local government.
In total, forty-nine people have died from Covid-19 since the first Aboriginal cases were discovered on September 6. Sixteen died on Tuesday, double the number of victims recorded the day before.
Fifty-two people are in intensive care and 323 hospitalized in Covid unit while the epidemic peak is not reached, says the Health Affairs directorate.
According to the local hospital, the archipelago is entering the hardest phase of the epidemic and it could last a long time despite measures taken to break the chains of transmission such as containment and curfew in effect until October 4.
Caledonians suffer from many factors of comorbidities: 67% of adults are obese and the number of diabetics is estimated at 10%.
These health problems mainly concern the Oceanian population, which also displays the most distrust towards vaccination.
In a press conference broadcast live on radio and television channels, Vaim’au Muliava, a member of the government of Wallisian origin, begged his community to be vaccinated as soon as possible: “The hour is serious (…) We beg you. If you do not believe the political word, believe in the word of the doctor who treats you every day”, launched M. Muliava.
At the same press conference, Gilbert Tyuienon asked Caledonians to become “anti-virus fighters” in this “unprecedented sanitary war”: “the curfew, we have not known since the Events (1984-1988), so many deaths, in so few days, we have never known, Caledonians stuck outside, except during the Second World War, either”, stressed the government spokesman.
They flights to New Caledonia are suspended since March 20, 2020 except for compelling reasons. In addition, 70 members of the health reserve arrived this Tuesday from metropolis to help the medical teams.