The first flight of the stranded passengers from Auckland arrived this afternoon. There were 25 passengers altogether including 2 children and they will all be quarantined at the Matavai apartments at Homofiti.
BCN News understands that there are people quite apprehensive with the resumption of the flights from Auckland when the number of the Delta variant of the Covid-19 remains quite high, with 94 recorded today, most of them, 87 in Auckland. One village apparently documented and delivered their letter to the government asking to reconsider resuming these flights.
However, Dr. Colin Tukuitonga says that he is confident that there is very little risk of the virus reaching Niue with the several levels of protocols that the government has put in place for the returning passengers.
“There’s a small risk of introduction but I’ll say it’s highly unlikely. I think Niue has put in place several layers of protection, which I endorsed” says Dr. Tukuitonga.
Dr. Colin who is New Zealand’s President of the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine was also officially appointed by the government as Niue’s Public Health Medicine Specialist last week.
He told BCN news that the fear over this virus is worldwide and the protocols the government has implemented which he endorsed are sufficient protection.
“I think it’s actually more than adequate protection. I actually think to quarantine people with that kind of background for fourteen days is quite demanding given that they’ve shown negative tests and fully vaccinated”.
When the flight arrived after midday today, the passengers included the Chief of Police Tim Wilson who drove one of the two vans to the quarantine facility at Homofiti. Also on the flight is Director-General of the Ministry of Natural Resources Gaylene Tasmania who drove the other van with the passengers.
This afternoon the Office of the Secretary to Government send out an FAQ via email and on social media on what the new protocols are with this flight including the security protocols to be followed.
There is strictly no visiting at the MIQ and the public are informed of the times when families can drop off their food for the families in quarantine.
In July this year, 97 percent of over 16-year-olds were vaccinated and on the 8th of this month, a total of 150 or 94% of children 12 years and over took their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. According to health records, there are 160 children on the island in this age group. The children will receive their second dose next month, at a six weeks interval.
Dr. Colin Tukuitonga says that Niue’s vaccination rate is its first level of defense against this virus reaching the island and he believes that nearly reaching 100 percent vaccination increases Niue’s protection against this virus.