New Caledonia

Covid-19 spread in New Caledonia picks up pace

The authorities say there are now 2520 active cases in the community.

20 people are in hospital care of whom seven are in intensive care.

The surge in case numbers follows the arrival of the Omicron variant this month and has prompted calls for more testing centres to open as more people show symptoms.

Rapid antigen tests with health professionals are free until at least the end of the month.

Selftests can be bought in pharmacies but their results aren't recognised to be able to get a health pass.

Omicron advances in New Caledonia

They say 11 positive results were returned over the past three days, with the analysis showing that omicron has had local transmission.

Some of the cases now concern people who have had no contact with travellers who imported the virus.

Fearing a further spike in the pandemic, anybody who recently attended any gatherings outside their families is encouraged to have a test.

New Caledonia had a sharp surge of the delta variant in September, which killed more than 280 people.


Protest in New Caledonia against govt's pandemic policies

The unauthorised march in Noumea was held just a day after the government imposed a limit of 30 people for any outside gathering.

Police say while the meeting was illegal, they didn't intervene because many children were in the crowd.

However, according to the public broadcaster, police used teargas after the end of the rally to disperse some demonstrators.

The march was called to oppose the health pass required to enter venues, such as restaurants and museums, and to protest against the law making vaccinations mandatory.

France invites drafts to revise New Caledonia's statute

More than 96 percent of New Caledonians voted against independence in a referendum boycotted by Kanaks. It was the last of three referendums, which concluded the 1998 Noumea Accord on the territory's decolonisation.

The Accord's provisions on the territory's institutional make-up remain in place until a new statute has been adopted.

While the anti-independence camp and Paris welcomed the referendum result, the pro-independence parties said the vote was bogus and they would not recognise its outcome.

Cyclone Ruby weakening

Winds associated with the cyclone are now about 70km an hour, and forecast to drop further by this evening.

Strong winds and large waves are expected along eastern parts of New Caledonia throughout this morning.

The cyclone formed on Sunday, and people in New Caledonia are advised to stay updated of its progress.

New Zealand's MetService expects the weather system will continue weakening and travelling southeast tomorrow, passing the upper North Island offshore during Thursday afternoon and evening.


New Caledonia votes against independence from France

Unofficial results show more than 96 percent voted against independence in the third and last such plebiscite under the 1998 Noumea Accord.

Turnout was just under 44 percent, down from more than 85 percent last year.

Pro-independence parties had called on their supporters not to vote after France refused to postpone the referendum because of the impact of the pandemic on the indigenous Kanak population.

The customary Kanak Senate had declared Sunday to be a day of mourning for the 280 people who died in the pandemic.

Forum Ministerial Committee to observe New Caledonia’s independence referendum

Ratu Inoke is joined by Ali’ioaiga Feturi Elisaia, High Commissioner of Samoa to Fiji.

The Committee will be supported by the Forum Secretary General, Henry Puna, and staff of the Fiji Government and Forum Secretariat.

The committee was deployed by the Pacific Islands Forum to observe New Caledonia’s third and final independence referendum under the 1998 Noumea Accord on December 12.

New Caledonia flights halted over health pass dispute

Flights by Air Caledonie from Noumea to Mare, Lifou and Ouvea have been suspended until further notice.

The pass can be obtained once seven days have elapsed after the second jab of an mRNA vaccine and 28 days after getting other vaccines.

It is also available for those who have had a fresh negative test or proof of having recovered from Covid-19.

The provisions are resisted by several groups, including unions, which also reject the new local law, making vaccinations compulsory by the end of the year.

New Caledonia chief demands halt to vaccines

Henri Dokucas Naisseline said the vaccination obligation deprives people of fundamental rights of freedom and respect for human dignity.

The high chief of the Gaumha district on the island of Mare has decided to stop the vaccination drive in all the tribes under his control, suggesting the vaccine is dangerous.

However, he said those who wish to get the vaccine can still get it.

In August, the government launched an inoculation campaign in the mainly Kanak Loyalty Islands, called Vacci'tribs, in the hope of vaccinating 80 percent of the population by January.

New Caledonia records 25th death since delta outbreak began

New Caledonia has recorded its 25th death since the delta outbreak of Covid-19 began at the beginning of September.

Health officials are reporting about 5000 people a day are receiving their first jab - with long queues of people waiting to be vaccinated in Noumea and the outer islands.

On the outskirts of Noumea in Ko We Kara, a 'vaccine park' has been set up, and people arrive from six in the morning to register, while in the Loyalty Islands and the North vaccination is possible seven days a week without an appointment at dispensaries.