Remote Marshall Islands Record First Coronavirus Confirmed Cases : Coronavirus Updates : NPR


Two people arriving from the U.S. tested positive for the coronavirus in the Marshall Islands, shown here in 2017.

Nicole Evatt/AP


hide caption

toggle caption

Nicole Evatt/AP

Two people arriving from the U.S. tested positive for the coronavirus in the Marshall Islands, shown here in 2017.

Nicole Evatt/AP

The Marshall Islands, a group of volcanic islands and atolls in the Pacific, closed its borders in March to fend off the coronavirus.

At the time, the government said the islands were already dealing with outbreaks of Dengue Fever and an “Influenza-like-Illness.”

“A single-case of COVID-19 would be catastrophic to the health system,” the government said at the time.

On Wednesday, the government announced that two workers arriving from the U.S. tested positive for the coronavirus at a U.S. military base on Kwajalein Atoll. The two cases ended The Marshalls’ run as one of the few nations in the world with zero known coronavirus cases.

The pair, a 35-year-old woman and 46-year-old man, arrived on a military flight from Hawaii on Tuesday. The government said the two did not interact with community members, and both were asymptomatic when they tested positive.

“We can assure the public that these are strictly border cases and were discovered while these people were in quarantine, where they remain until this time,” the government said.

There is no immediate risk of spread, it added.

Islands in the South Pacific were generally swift to isolate themselves during the start of the pandemic, leaving the majority of them unscathed.

The remote island nations of Kiribati, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are believed to be still free of the virus.

The Solomon Islands recorded its first coronavirus case in early October.

In June, The Marshalls eased restrictions slightly, allowing U.S. military base workers to enter but requiring a three-week quarantine, according to The Guardian.

Ebon Atoll Mayor Marie Davis Milne has been critical of relaxing the border restrictions.

“What we were worried about has come true,” Milne said Wednesday on Facebook. “Lives are going to be put on hold because a handful of people made the decisions they did for whatever reasons they did.”



Source link

Discover

Sponsor

Latest

2021 Jaguar F-Pace SVR announced with 550-hp V8

Jaguar is making several visual and mechanical changes to the F-Pace SVR for the 2021 model year. The modifications turn the SUV into...

FDA panel recommends emergency approval

An influential Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Thursday overwhelmingly backed Moderna's coronavirus vaccine, a key step paving the way to distribute...

FBI arrests 5 in alleged ‘Operation Fox Hunt’ plot to pressure citizens to return to China

FBI Director Christopher Wray speaks during a virtual news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, October 28, 2020.Sarah Silbiger | Pool...

Historic stock market volume is likely this week as Tesla goes into the S&P 500

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, stands on the construction site of the Tesla Gigafactory in Grünheide near Berlin, September 3, 2020.Patrick Pleul |...

New Covid variant first found in UK could become dominant strain in U.S. by March, CDC says

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield holds up a CDC document that reads "COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook for...