Mia Ramon, International Development Organization Pacific Community, Newton Cain discussed on TIME's Top Stories
But he adds that boosters should be rolled out as soon as possible to contend with the oma cron variant. Despite vaccination rates several Pacific countries are facing their biggest surges yet, as the omi cron variant reaches their isolated shores. Two or two and a half years later, when they try to start joining the world again, kaboom says Mia Ramon of the international development organization Pacific community. Samoa, which sets about 800 miles south of Kiribati, and which has remained relatively COVID free over the past two years, reported in January that several returning residents had tested positive for the virus upon touching down. 22 passengers on the flight from Brisbane, Australia tested positive, as have 5 nurses who looked after them in quarantine, although the government confirmed that no community transmission occurred, and also suspended repatriation flights. At least 5 people died in January in the Solomon Islands, the first COVID-19 deaths in the nation of 687,000. The government blamed the outbreak, the largest of the pandemic on people who illegally entered the country from papal New Guinea. It is clear that if the numbers continue to rise at the current rate than hospitals and health workers will be completely overwhelmed, says test Newton Cain, the project leader for the Pacific hub at the Griffith Asia institute a research center. While cure body relies on tourism, for less than 10% of its GDP, others in the region are much more dependent, tourism contributes almost 40% to honeymoon dream spot Fiji's GDP, and more than 40% of the economy in Vanuatu. A renowned destination for divers. That means that many isolated Pacific nations are facing the tough decision of staying shut and protecting their populations, or risk opening up. Some Pacific nations are keeping borders tightly sealed for now. Tonga turned back a flight from Australia, carrying disaster aid following a volcanic eruption due to positive COVID-19 cases on board, despite the precautions, Tonga detected two cases of COVID-19 this week in port workers, where humanitarian aid has been arriving and local media reported that three more cases had been detected in a family. A senior official in Vanuatu, which has recorded just 7 cases since the start of the pandemic said in December that the country's border could be closed for another year, according to local media. Fiji reopened to tourism on December 1st, 2021, after an outbreak earlier in the year that stretched the health system in a drive to blanket the population with vaccines. 90% of its eligible population is vaccinated. Even then, it hasn't all gone swimmingly. Some tourists have reported being locked in their hotel rooms without enough support after they tested positive. A claim rejected by Fiji's tourism authorities. But the outbreaks gripping places like pure body. Now may mean that some in the Pacific keep their borders sealed for even longer. Says Newton Cain, all of this will add to already high levels of caution about opening borders in other countries, such as Vanuatu and Tonga. Manifold says that cure bodies industry is taking the time to get even better prepared for reopening. On Friday, some staff will set sail for remote areas of Kiribati's line islands to deliver the training to operators there. Instead of sulking, we are taking this as an opportunity to really restart better. Let's be real. But you really care about is getting the most money back on your taxes, and the easiest way to do that is with tax.