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The virus reached New Caledonia without Covid

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Noumea (AFP)

The remote Pacific territory of New Caledonia, one of the few places on the planet that has escaped Covid-19, is under strict lockdown after finding nine cases, local authorities said on Sunday.

The outbreak of the French archipelago was discovered after the school principal fell ill on the islands of Wallis and Futuna – another French territory in the Pacific – which led the authorities to investigate the cases.

“According to initial indications, the patient developed symptoms in mid-February and could have been infected in Wallis and Futuna in late January,”

; New Caledonia local government chief Thierry Santa told reporters.

Previously, travel between the two French territories was unlimited, while anyone arriving from elsewhere had to undergo a strict 14-day quarantine at a hotel.

Santa announced a two-week blockade of New Caledonia, starting Monday night, to “interrupt the transmission of the virus while there is still time.”

Earlier, the islands managed to stop the transmission of the new coronavirus in the community, which has reached almost all corners of the globe.

New Caledonia, located off the northwest coast of Australia, was once used as a penal colony by French authorities because of its remote location.

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