COVID-19 pandemic in Kiribati

Last updated
COVID-19 pandemic in Kiribati
Kiribati in its region.svg
Disease COVID-19
Virus strain SARS-CoV-2
Location Kiribati
First outbreak Wuhan, China
Index case Betio, South Tarawa
Arrival date18 May 2021 [1]
Confirmed cases0 [2]
Active cases0
Suspected cases2 [lower-alpha 1] [3]
Deaths
0
Government website
https://covid19.gov.ki/
Suspected cases have not been confirmed by laboratory tests as being due to this strain, although some other strains may have been ruled out.

The COVID-19 pandemic in Kiribati is part of the ongoing worldwide pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 ( COVID-19 ) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The virus was confirmed to have reached Kiribati on 18 May 2021. [1]

Contents

Background

On 12 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus was the cause of a respiratory illness in a cluster of people in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, which was reported to the WHO on 31 December 2019. [4] [5]

The case fatality ratio for COVID-19 has been much lower than SARS of 2003, [6] [7] but the transmission has been significantly greater, with a significant total death toll. [8] [6]

Timeline

COVID-19 cases in Kiribati  ()
     Deaths        Recoveries        Active cases
Date
# of cases
# of deaths
2021-05-18
1(n.a.)0(n.a.)
2021-05-19
1(=)0(n.a.)
2021-05-20
1(=)0(n.a.)
2021-05-21
2(+100%)0(n.a.)
2021-05-240(n.a.)0(n.a.)
Sources:

February 2020

On 1 February 2020, the government of Kiribati put all visas from China on hold and required new arrivals to fill in a health form and travellers from countries with the coronavirus to go through a self-quarantine period. [9] Despite not having any cases, on 28 March President Taneti Maamau declared a state of emergency. [10]

September 2020

On 10 September, the government announced it will keep the borders closed until the end of the year to keep the country free of the virus. Some exceptions will be made, including repatriations, humanitarian flights and the transport of essential supplies into the country. A group of 20 I-Kiribati people in the Marshall Islands are the first set to be repatriated. [11]

November 2020

On 19 November, the government repatriated 62 citizens, who had been stranded abroad since February, on a chartered Fiji Airways flight. Upon arrival, residents must go through a 14-day mandatory quarantine at Bikenibeu, Tarawa. [12]

May 2021

By 15 May 2021, Kiribati repatriated 1,400 I-Kiribati stranded abroad without import any positive cases. [13] The pandemic has led to the loss of I-Kiribati seafarers' jobs because of the requirement to present a negative PCR test to return to work, and a lack of a machine to perform tests in Kiribati. [14]

On 18 May 2021, I-Kiribati president Taneti Maamau announced the first positive case, a local seafarer returning from Papua New Guinea on a ship quarantined in Betio port. [1] Two days later, a second positive case was detected on the same ship. [3] [15] The same day, a curfew was imposed. [16] On 25 May, the repatriation program was suspended to deal with positive cases. [17] Minister of Health, Dr Tinte Itinteang, reported that a second I-Kiribati fisherman has been identified and has recovered. [17]

Vaccination

As of 21 May 2021, Kiribati is one of last countries to have not started a vaccination campaign. Support from Australia is under discussions for access to vaccines. [18] Kiribati is an eligible country for COVAX program, and is expected to receive 48,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine. [19] On 25 May 2021, Kiribati received it's first 24,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine via COVAX. [20]

Statistics

Cases by Islands

IslandCasesDeathsReferences
Tarawa 20 [1] [3]
Total20

See also

Notes

  1. Two seafarers returning from Papua New Guinea returned a positive PCR test result in May 2021, both individuals were quarantined on the vessel without entering Kiribati. It is unclear if these were active or historical cases, however neither case has been reported to the WHO, and officially Kiribati declares itself 'COVID-free'

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References

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  10. "President declared Kiribati a state of public emergency for convid-19". Kiribati Updates. 29 March 2020. Archived from the original on 28 March 2020. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  11. "Kiribati borders remain closed for 2020". RNZ. 10 September 2020. Archived from the original on 10 September 2020. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  12. "Repatriation of stranded i-Kiribati recommences". RNZ. 2020-11-20. Retrieved 2020-12-25.
  13. "Kiribati seeking new transit countries for repatriation program". RNZ. 2021-05-13. Retrieved 2021-05-21.
  14. "Kiribati", The Statesman’s Yearbook Companion, London: Palgrave Macmillan UK, pp. 715–716, 2019, doi:10.1057/978-1-349-95839-9_1404, ISBN   978-1-349-95838-2 , retrieved 2021-05-21
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  16. "Curfew imposed in Kiribati after covid discoveries". RNZ. 2021-05-21. Archived from the original on 21 May 2021. Retrieved 2021-05-21.
  17. 1 2 "Kiribati suspends repatriations to deal with Covid-19 cases". RNZ. 2021-05-25. Retrieved 2021-05-27.
  18. "KIRIBATI COVID-19 DEVELOPMENT RESPONSE PLAN" (PDF). dfat.gov.au. Retrieved 21 May 2021.
  19. COVAX. "THE COVAX FACILITY: INTERIM DISTRIBUTION FORECAST" (PDF). Retrieved 21 May 2021.
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