Locals’ reactions to the news of the first Covid case in MIQ

Health department focus on managing positive cases as community transmission affect hospital services and local businesses

There’s been a mixture of reactions to the first case of Covid in MIQ after Premier Tagelagi’s announcement on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday morning quite a few people were seen wearing masks and hand sanitizers were moving off the shop shelves like hotcakes. There was no panic buying though, there was still plenty of toilet paper on the shelves.

In central Alofi, it’s usually quiet around the Commercial Centre especially because this is not ‘pay week’ but there was some excitement at the market. More than twenty women were at their normal Wednesday morning market day, with their wares displayed for sale and they were just about to start their fun bingo game.

But it was a different story at the hospital, the car park was full which is quite unusual for a Wednesday unless a lot of women suddenly got symptoms of pregnancy. Wednesday is when the hospital holds antenatal clinics.

As you walk up to the entrance, there was a box of masks and a bottle of hand sanitizer, so people had to mask up and sanitize before entering and when leaving the hospital.

BCN news also asked people what their views or their plans are now that there is Covid at MIQ.

Deputy President of the Ekalesia Niue Rev. Navy Salatielu said that the church services will continue as normal. The Ekalesia Kerisiano Niue will continue to follow government and health officials’ advice. If the government raises the alert to code yellow or red then they will make changes accordingly, but for now, he said church services will continue as normal and encourage people to pray. 

Meanwhile, businessman Avi Rubin says that maybe it’s time to return to the 13 days of MIQ. 

Mother, Ange Tuhipa of Alofi South says that their family has decided to manage their kids at home. She said that they haven’t practiced social distancing, masking, or handwashing for a while, so they want their children to get used to these practices in a controlled environment.

Mrs. Tuhipa said that their children are kept away from school for now. Their gaming business is also closed for the week and their IT business is going contactless. 

Another mother who wished to remain anonymous said that she listens regularly to the radio when senior health officials are being interviewed and from those messages, she knew that covid was going to get here anyway and she puts trust in the health team and other departments to do their work. She said for her family, they drafted a household plan in 2020 at the start of the pandemic. She said they will continue to live life as normal and follow the advice from the government. She also said that it is important that there is only one official channel of communication that people can trust. 

On social media, while there may have been some initial panic on Tuesday night, there were some who were thinking of the passenger in MIQ who tested positive.

Some were saying that they were thinking of this individual and hoping that this passenger is doing okay. These people were commenting in Vagahau saying that we should not be blaming our people returning home from New Zealand, that the virus is to blame.

Today, fewer people are still wearing masks around but there was no mask at the entrance to the hospital reception area, just a bottle of sanitizer.

BCN news understands that the positive case in MIQ is asymptomatic and is generally well.

All the passengers on the Monday 7th March flight are considered close contacts and were all tested again today.

Director-General of Health Gaylene Tasmania told BCN news today that the government is expecting an increase in the number of cases, but they are prepared to contain the virus in MIQ.

BCN understands that whatever the results may be from today’s tests, Premier Dalton Tagelagi is expected to make the announcement later this evening.

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