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12 dead, hundreds sick after drinking stolen methanol in PNG

A senior PNG health official says twelve people have died and more than a hundred are seriously ill after villagers in PNG's Eastern Highlands consumed stolen methanol. CEO of the Kainantu rural hospital Dr Enename Susuke said five drums of methanol were stolen from an agricultural research facility last Thursday. “A few people broke into a storage room and stole five...

Vaccine apathy threatening to plunge Papua New Guinea into international isolation

A new term has come into play in Papua New Guinea, not vaccine hesitancy, but vaccine apathy, coined by the man leading the country's COVID-19 vaccination taskforce. Api Kassman said the problem his team are wrestling with is that many people don't want be vaccinated, not because they are reluctant or afraid, but because they don't believe it's even necessary. PNG...

Fiji records 131 new cases of COVID-19, one new death reported

Fiji has recorded 131 new cases of COVID-19 and one new death reported Tuesday, increasing the total number of cases to 49,174 and 537 deaths in the island nation since the outbreak that started in April. Permanent secretary for Health, Dr James Fong said 63 cases are from the Western division, 66 cases are from the Central division in Vitilevu,...

Cook Islands will only accept vaccinated tourists when travel bubble resume

All future tourists to the Cook Islands aged 12 years and older need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, says Cook Islands government. The only exemption will be for people with a medical certificate, said a government statement. The statement said the Cook Islands would not open its borders to New Zealand for quarantine-free travel until it was fully confident there...

Samoa new chair of Pacific Small Islands Developing States

Samoa has succeeded Fiji in chairing the Pacific Small Islands Developing States (PSIDS) international grouping at the United Nations in New York. Outgoing PSIDS Chair, Satyendra Prasad, Fiji’s Ambassador and Permanent Resident to the UN announced that Samoa has assumed the role in a tweet on Monday. Ambassador Prasad said it was his greatest honour to serve as chair. “It has been...

Forum SG Henry Puna statement to third Japan-PIF briefing on Fukushima wastewater

Warm Pacific greetings from Suva. I am pleased to welcome you all to this third briefing session with Japan in relation to the ALPS treated water issue. At the outset, I refer to the important outcomes achieved at PALM9, where Leaders agreed that this matter is a priority for the Pacific and for Japan. Indeed, this is an issue that requires...

Samoa Speaker clarifies Parliament quorum

Samoa Parliament Speaker, Papali’i Li’o Tae’u Masipa’u has confirmed that parliament has the quorum to meet in its session that started today where the 2021/2022 Annual Budget and the Electoral amendments were tabled. After announcing the seven seats voided by the courts for electoral malpractices, Papalii said that leaves parliament with 44 seats and the quorum is 23. He also confirmed...

Quarantine options for Pacific workforce

Australia is weighing up new quarantine arrangements for Pacific farm workers coming from countries with low coronavirus cases and high vaccination rates. Pacific Minister Zed Seselja wants state and territory governments to consider on-farm or home isolation, as well as shortened quarantine periods. “Tonga has had zero COVID cases. It is the definition of low risk and there are a number...

Cook Islands woman nabbed in PNG, 150 C-4 plastic explosives seized

A 59-year-old widow from the Cook Islands was arrested with 150 pieces of C-4 plastic explosives in Milne Bay’s Alotau last Thursday, Papua New Guinea Police Commissioner David Manning says. Police also seized 250 rounds of live ammunition of various calibres and a telescopic Winchester sniper rifle. “The widow led police to the seizure of the explosives and igniters, ammunition and...

Fiji’s total population stands at 864,132

Fiji’s population is made up of 62 percent iTaukei people, 34.2 percent Fijians of Indian descent and 3.8 percent of other races, states the 2019-2020 Household Income and Expenditure Survey(HIES). According to the study, Fiji’s total population was 864,132, of which 535,554 were iTaukei, 295,326 were Fijians of Indian descent and 33,251 were classified as “others”. Of the total population, 434,914...

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