Nauru has experienced a surge in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country, and quarantine facilities are getting full.
This has led to closure of all non-essential businesses and services and schools. Only those considered essential are in operation.
This is happening at a time when other Pacific nations are getting ready to open their international borders.
In a public update, President Lionel Aingimea said that as of Sunday June 19, there were 337 COVID-positive cases.
He said there were currently 261 positive cases in the quarantine facilities including children and their caregivers.
According to the statement, community cases of COVID-19 were detected on Thursday June 16 with 49 people testing positive. In four days, cases had increased by almost six fold.
“The quarantine facilities are nearing capacity which means we will soon rely on home isolation and when we do, we must not forget that it’s very important for you to stay at home. You must isolate yourself at home, this will slow the spread of the virus.,” Mr Aingimea said.
People of Nauru have been advised on the COVID safe protocols which needed to be followed.
Nauruans have been assured that people staying home due to COVID will not have an effect on their salaries.
“Food and supplies will continue to be brought in. Your government is ready to stand behind Nauru and continue to supply food and essentials. There is no need to be anxious and cause unnecessary panic buying,” Aingimea said.
“The number of COVID-positive cases will continue to rise. The reason we place people in isolation in our facilities or at home, is so we slow down the speed of the virus spreading in the community.
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“If we stop our movements, then we also stop or slow the spread of the virus. We cannot stop the spread if people continue to go against the advice to minimise movements and other health measures.”
Nauru has an estimated population of a little over 10,000 people and if COVID protocols are not followed, the surge could result in thousands being infected.
As part of the Government’s welfare support, an ex-gratia payment is being paid to government and SOE employees, pensioners and disability recipients to assist people during this COVID period.