The High Commissioner of the Republic in French Polynesia explains the outbreak at the “lightning pace” in the archipelago which decided to reconfigure and close schools for two weeks.
Covid-19 is “lightning” in French Polynesia, explained the High Commissioner of the Republic in French Polynesia Dominique Sorain Sunday, August 22 on FranceWorldNews. The territory hardens its containment and closes its schools for 15 days in the face of the outbreak.
FranceWorldNews: What is the epidemic situation in Polynesia?
It’s amazing. On July 9 we had zero hospitalizations and 13 active cases across the territory. We have 2,800 cases per 100,000 population [over 7 days]. We have 2,000 cases across the entire territory. It’s huge, so we’ve had to do a number of things: lock down, curfew, schools will be closed. We have a problem with vaccination even though it has progressed in recent days. We have 45% of the major population that is fully vaccinated and 58% that have at least one dose, but this is a recent acceleration.
As a result, we have a clogged hospital with a lot of people in resuscitation. So vaccination is necessary. In the Marquises, 90% of the population is vaccinated and there are very few cases and no serious.
Medical reinforcements will arrive from Metropolitan France. Will that be enough?
The reinforcements that were delivered match the hospital’s demands. We have already had a first level of reinforcement with 16 nurses who arrived from mainland France. There was a reinforcement from New Caledonia with about fifteen nurses and a new request was made from 18 nurses and 4 doctors. A first step of 7 nurses and 3 doctors will arrive on Wednesday to strengthen the staff that is exhausted.
Why did you decide to close the schools?
Education is a state jurisdiction. In schools we had 35% absenteeism among students 10 days after the start of the school year and 20% among teachers. This was essentially related to the increase in the spread of the virus. So, it was decided to suspend this school year by simply maintaining boarding schools with reinforced controls on students who will not be able to go home right away because it poses problems of delivery. There is a pedagogical continuity that will be implemented.
In mainland France, the start of the school year takes place in 10 days. In Guadeloupe and Martinique, some are asking for the postponement. Do you think that in Polynesia it has accelerated the proliferation of the epidemic?
No, the epidemic was already there before the school holidays. We started from a situation where there was almost no circulation of the virus and within a few days the proliferation was considerable. It happened around July 20. That’s when the outbreak exploded.