According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), global figures of new cases continue to rise between 70,000 and 90,000 daily.
President Lionel Aingimea says this means the numbers for COVID-19 continue to grow, and warns that every person that has not been infected is still susceptible to being infected.
“We cannot put down our guard, we must always be ready.”
The Nauru Government ceased its island flights in early March and substantially reduced the thrice weekly Brisbane flights to once a fortnight. While its borders are not completely closed, the reduced flights minimise the flow of travel and works in with the government’s two weeks managed quarantine time for all new arrivals.
Sixteen people are currently in quarantine at the Meneñ Hotel, including a fisheries observer who arrived by fishing vessel, and 18 at the Canstruct Anibare village.
President Aingimea addresses the local media for regular situational updates on coronavirus reminding the public of the dangers in being complacent and watering-down of the security rules put in place.
Nauru is a close-knit community and crowded extended family living arrangements makes Nauru particularly vulnerable if an infection were present in the community.
According to the 2019 mini census, Nauru has a population of 11,550 and 1713 houses.
Guided by expert advice, President Aingimea says to achieve global immunity would require a large portion of the global population to be infected so they develop natural immunity or the obvious one to develop a vaccine and vaccinate most of the global community.
But the President says what is clear is that we will be dealing with coronavirus for a long time to come and the risk will be with us for the next one or two years.
“This pandemic will not end soon. It’s still increasing in numbers and we have to remain alert.”
Under the amended National Disaster Risk Management (Management and Minimisation of the Impacts of Coronavirus (COVID19)) Regulations 2020, the maximum penalty for failing to comply with the rules and regulations is a fine no more than $10,000 or jail term of no more than six months, or both.
On 9 April the former Correctional Centre at Yaren District was declared to be the Remand Centre for the purposes of COVID-19. It is limited to the accommodation of accused persons who may be subject to screening or observation purposes for COVID-19 and remanded by an order of the Court or required to be detained by Nauru Police Force pending investigation.
Under Section 86 of the NDRM Act 2016 for COVID-19, the Cabinet made the COVID-19 Community Transmission and Public Health Safety Regulations 2020 for the objective of preventing the spread of coronavirus; supplement and give effect to the national emergency declaration, declared on 16 March; and encourage voluntary action by all citizens and residents of Nauru to comply with all instructions, requirements and directions by the relevant authorities.
Lab staff at the Republic of Nauru Hospital is trialling the machine to test for coronavirus, while the Ministry of Health is scheduled to conduct clinical drills for nurses and doctors to identify gaps in their system. Nauru Police is also working on their own drills with a focus to assist the hospital including patient movement.
Minister for Health Isabella Dageago also led a health team in a community meeting at the Parliament house aimed at updating the community on the incidents and penalties imposed as a result of security breaches at the quarantine residences.
Four community group representatives attended this particular meeting, but the ministry continues to reach out to the community to provide health advice and guidance.
The President thanks the continued support of Australia, Taiwan and Israel in funding the various supplies and equipment required for COVID-19 response.
Service provider Canstruct has also been instrumental in its support of the government’s efforts by providing three meals a day for everyone in quarantine and also fumigates the whole airport and baggage after each flight – at no charge to the government, while airport staff conduct cleaning of the airport after each flight.
Government urges the public to heed COVID rules and regulations that are put in place to protect Nauru.