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Due to the decisive and proactive actions of the Aingimea Government, its ‘capture & contain’ strategy continues to succeed in its goal to keep Nauru COVID-19 free.
Over the last two weeks, a total of four quarantined residents registered fevers and were subsequently moved from the transit stations after arriving on Nauru for further observation as their samples were sent away for testing in Australia. All results have returned negative.
Two COVID-19 testing machines are now on island; testing kits are due any day, and online virtual training will prepare health staff in their operation, delivering test results within days, not weeks.
The Australian Government is now actively conducting temperature checks at Australian airports for all departing passengers which President Lionel Aingimea says is another line of defence for Nauru.
Community Liaison Officers (CLO), whom the President appointed as authorised officers on 20 March under the National Disaster Risk Management Act 2016, received training early April by the Department of Justice on COVID-19 regulations, rules for the designated residences (Budapest and MeneñHotel) and what the powers are of authorised officers.
CLOs are part of the Nauru Police Force and therefore have powers to carry out duties and responsibilities to protect the residents in quarantine and the public. Their role is vital in keeping the community safe.
Last week, the Government successfully brokered an agreement with the Fiji Government to repatriate Nauruans from Fiji, beginning with those residing in the Western division of Nadi, Lautoka and Sigatoka as Suva residents wait out the city’s two week lockdown.
The President said there was support from a number of people including the Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum, Dame Meg Taylor, enabling Nauru Airlines to do the flight.
Nauru also responded to a request from neighbouring governments to also repatriate their weightlifters from Noumea as well as consider uplifting Marshall Islands students from Fiji.
President Aingimea has continued to be mindful of the vital role the public play during a state of disaster, urging the public early on to be responsible on the roads, adding that alcohol-related incidents place unnecessary strain on the health system at this time. This is supported by police road blitzes targeting drink driving.
In addition, public servants are asked to volunteer their time to health, if they are able. Thus far, volunteers across finance, human resources, parliament and the police have responded to the call, working as required in clerical, stock, technical and task force roles. According to Acting Director of Public Health Stacey Cain, the work is “more like a secondment to health with benefits of new experiences, amongst others” for those willing volunteers.
Schools remain open and people are urged to continue their hygiene practices, already in place in work places, including social distancing and additional disinfecting and cleaning measures.
The President has also addressed abusive behaviour by members of the public passing designated quarantine residences with a reminder that under the State of Disaster Regulations, penalties of up to AUD$50,000(US$31,736) and five years in prison apply for such actions.
“We are a small community and these people are family and friends and we must care for them and protect them as they wait out their quarantine time.”
Collective actions over the short and longer term, says the President, will help keep us all safe.
President Aingimea is warning against fake news circulating on social media about positive cases of coronavirus on Nauru, urging the public to report fake news to the police.
Cases are currently under police investigation, guided by Nauru’s Cyber Crimes Act 2015, in relation to persons posting false news about coronavirus on Facebook.
The President warned the spreading of fake news on social media is likened to calling a bomb threat at an airport; “you will be arrested.”
From the very beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak and throughout, the Government of Nauru has not been complacent but prepared, organised and strategic in its approach, seeking expertise, making informed decisions and putting in place regulatory measures using preexisting legislation, to maintain a country free from COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the freighter service continues its weekly service.
Strict controls are in place for freighter flights, with all cargo fumigated upon arrival and prior to handling by ground staff.
Shipping company Neptune advised a cargo ship delay until early May prompting President Aingimea to reassure Nauruans that sufficient food and supplies are available on island, with any shortages imported by freighter plane.
Fuel (petrol and diesel) supply is at sufficient levels and the next fuel ship is due in May.
President Aingimea issued a price regulation order prohibiting hoarding and price inflation on 21 March, under the Prices Regulation Act 2008. The order is in force for three months.
As advised by the Finance Secretary and approved by Cabinet, traders are not permitted to increase the existing wholesale or retail prices of everyday essential goods, nor hoard or withhold these items from sale. Contraventions of the order attract fines of up to $3000(US$1,900) or six months imprisonment.
‘Existing wholesale or retail price’ implies the price of goods and services sold on or immediately before 16 March 2020.
SOURCE: NAURU GOVT/PACNEWS
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