Pacific islands Wallis and Futuna branded Covid-free

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The Pacific archipelago of Wallis and Futuna has declared itself Covid-free, with no cases among the French remote island’s 11,500 inhabitants since 01 April, authorities said.

Many remote Pacific island nations have remained free of the virus after shutting the borders soon after the pandemic began but the risk of an outbreak remains high.

The French overseas collectivity’s administrator superior said Thursday it is “unanimously … free of circulation of the Covid-19 virus”.

But mask-wearing in public spaces remains mandatory and authorities reminded residents that vaccination was “the only way to get out of the epidemic for good”.

So far 41 percent of the population are fully vaccinated and over 55 percent have received one shot.

Experts have warned that Pacific islands are vulnerable to fresh outbreaks.

Wallis and Futuna recorded 445 coronavirus cases between March and April with seven deaths.

SOURCE: AFP/PACNEWS