Stranded residents wait patiently in Auckland lockdown for clearance to return home

As people in Auckland continue into week five of level four lockdown, so too are about one hundred Niue residents who are there for various reasons and are stuck there when the government closed the borders to passengers. Some of them are senior public servants who were overseas visiting family or for medical reasons.

Among them is the Director of the Project Management Coordination Unit, Felicia Talagi who is waiting to return home.

“It’s an unfortunate situation to be caught up in. I want to come home, I miss my kids, I miss my family but at the same time I don’t want to risk bringing an uninvited guest with me, so I have to remain where I am until it’s deemed okay to return.”

“Being here in Auckland during the delta variant outbreak and seeing how fast it spreads just cement how I don’t want this for our home Niue” says Felicia Talagi (pic with her boys)

Also waiting patiently to return in the Director-General of the Ministry of Natural Resources Dr. Josie Tamate who was on her way back home from visiting her son and family in Melbourne when Auckland went into lockdown last month.

Dr. Tamate told BCN news today that she doesn’t mind the wait because she knows that the in Niue are trying their best to ensure risks are low before they are allowed to return home.

She is living with her family and is very thankful for her family that she is able to work remotely from Auckland as she waits for the resumption of passenger flights to Niue.

Dr. Josie Tamate says keeping Niue safe is more important.

Meanwhile, Felicia Talagi is sorry that she will miss her nephew’s haircutting in early October but she is content knowing that Niue is doing everything possible to keep Niue Covid free.

“I’m very sad I’ll also miss my nephew’s haircutting ceremony that we’ve been preparing for as a family for the last 12 months, but I guess it’s what we have to contend with to keep our home safe and COVID free.”

Meanwhile, there are no updates from the Fale Fono regarding these passengers waiting to find out when they can return.

Four weeks ago when Auckland went into level 4 lockdown, the Cabinet decided to suspend passenger flights until the situation in Auckland is given the all-clear.

At the time the government had made it clear that opening up for in-coming passengers will only happen if the Delta Covid situation in Auckland is clear and no longer pose a threat to the Niue population.

Auckland will find out on Tuesday next week if they will remain in level four lockdown for the sixth week or not.

Niue reached herd immunity in July when 97 percent of the eligible population of over 16 years old were fully vaccinated. The vaccination roll-out for the 12 to 15 year olds will begin on Friday 24th September.

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