COVID-19 pandemic in Oceania

The COVID-19 pandemic was confirmed to have reached Oceania on 25 January 2020 with the first confirmed case reported in Melbourne, Australia.[1] It has since spread elsewhere in the region,[2] although many small Pacific island nations have thus far avoided the outbreak by closing their international borders. Three Oceania sovereign states have yet to report a case: Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu. Australia and New Zealand have been praised for their handling of the pandemic compared to other western nations, with both New Zealand and each of Australia's states wiping out all community transmission of the virus several times even after being re-introduced into the community.[3][4][5]

COVID-19 pandemic in Oceania
COVID-19 Outbreak Cases in Oceania.svg
Map of the COVID-19 pandemic in Oceania (as of 7 June 2020)
  10,000+ Confirmed cases
  1000–9999 Confirmed cases
  100–999 Confirmed cases
  10–99 Confirmed cases
  1–9 Confirmed cases
DiseaseCOVID-19
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationOceania
First outbreakWuhan, Hubei, China
Index caseMelbourne, Australia
Arrival date25 January 2020
(1 year, 6 months, 1 week and 1 day ago)
Confirmed cases108,400 (as of 18 May 2021)
Active cases31,208 (as of 18 May 2021)
Recovered75,332 (as of 18 May 2021)
Territories
21

Statistics by country and territory

Summary table of confirmed cases in Oceania (as of 2 August 2021)
Country/Territory Cases Deaths Recoveries Ref
  Hawaii 40,659 259 13,182 [6][7]
  Australia 32,917 918 29,066 [8][9]
  Fiji 23,139 186 5,928 [10][11]
  French Polynesia 19,285 145 18,945 [12][13]
  Papua New Guinea 17,637 192 17,581 [14][15]
  Guam 8,154 139 no data [16][17]
  New Zealand 2,877 26 2,814 [18]
  Wallis and Futuna 445 7 438 [19][13]
  Bougainville 450 2 254 [20][21]
  Northern Mariana Islands 183 2 no data [22][23]
  New Caledonia 131 0 58 [24][13]
  Solomon Islands 20 0 20 [9][13]
  Easter Island 12 0 5 [25][26]
  American Samoa 5 0 3 [27]
  Marshall Islands 4 1 3 [9][13]
  Vanuatu 4 1 1 [9][13]
  Samoa 3 0 3 [9][13]
  Kiribati 2 0 0 [28]
  Cook Islands 0 0 0 [29]
  Micronesia 1 0 1 [30][13]
  Palau 1 0 0 [31]
Total 113,233 1,893 79,453


Timeline by country and territory

Australia

 
Map of the outbreak in Australia
  5000+ confirmed cases
  500–4999 confirmed cases
  50–499 confirmed cases
  5–49 confirmed cases

On 25 January 2020, the first case of a SARS-CoV-2 infection was reported, that of a Chinese citizen who arrived from Guangzhou on 19 January. The patient received treatment in Melbourne.[1][32] On the same day, three other patients tested positive in Sydney after returning from Wuhan.[33][34][35]

On 1 March 2020, a 78-year-old man from Western Australia, who had been a passenger on the cruise ship Diamond Princess, became the first person to die from coronavirus in Australia. He died in a hospital in Perth.[36][37][38]

Australian borders were closed to all non-residents from 20 March 2020; all returning travellers are required to undergo two weeks' quarantine in hotels. From March onwards, many states and territories also closed their internal borders, with similar quarantine requirements for exempt travellers. A breach of quarantine in Melbourne hotels led to the state of Victoria experiencing a second wave and returning to strict lockdown measures from July through to October 2020.[citation needed]

As of 28 July 2021, Australia has reported 33,473 cases, 25,486 recoveries,[citation needed] and 923 deaths, with Victoria's second wave accounting for nearly 75 percent of cases and 90 percent of fatalities. No deaths from COVID-19 were recorded in Australia from 28 December 2020 until 13 April 2021, when one death occurred in Queensland,[39] then none until July 2021, when 10 elderly New South Wales residents,[40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47] another two in their fifties, and one in her thirties,[48][49] died during the outbreak of the Delta variant in Sydney. Up to 22 July 2021, there have also been 6 deaths linked to rare adverse reactions to vaccines. 2 of the deaths were in New South Wales, 1 in Western Australia, 1 in South Australia, 1 in Tasmania, and 1 in Victoria.[50][51][52][53][54][55] With concurrent lockdowns in Sydney, Darwin, Perth and Brisbane, on 29 June 2021 more than 12 million of Australia's population was in lockdown.[56] The Australian National Cabinet's stated pandemic policy goal is "zero community transmission," in contrast to the mitigation policies of most other Western countries.[57]

Norfolk Island

As of 3 April 2020, Norfolk Island has not had any cases. As a precautionary measure the government imposed a 32-day travel ban and declared a state of emergency.[58] Administrator Eric Hutchinson stated that the measures were necessary due to the remote island's extremely limited health capacity.[58] Lockdown measures began to be lifted from 6 May.[59]

Chile

Easter Island

On 19 March 2020, the local government of Easter Island ordered a lockdown of the island and requested LATAM Airlines to evacuate all tourists on the island.[60] However, on 24 March, the first case of coronavirus was reported on the island.[61] By the start of April, 5 confirmed cases had been reported. All cases have recovered after some weeks and no new cases have been reported since.[25][26]

Fiji

 
Map of the outbreak in Fiji by region
  150+ confirmed cases
  101-150 confirmed cases
  51-100 confirmed cases
  11-50 confirmed cases
  1-10 confirmed cases

The first case of the disease in Fiji was reported on 19 March 2020, leading to the lockdowns of Fiji's two largest cities, Lautoka and Suva for over twenty days.

On 31 July 2020, Fiji recorded its first death from COVID-19, a 66-year-old man who was repatriated from India.[62]

After over 365 days of no new cases in the community, Fiji recorded a new community case on 19 April 2021 leading to the immediate lockdown of Nadi and a second lockdown for Lautoka. This lockdown lasted almost fifty days and ended on 5 June 2021 despite COVID-19 cases still growing in the community. A similar lockdown was also introduced in the Central Division which contained Suva, Lami and Nausori in a single large containment area. The lockdown for the Lami-Nausori containment remains in place as of date.

On 30 June 2021, Fiji confirmed 274 new cases of COVID-19.[63]

France

French Polynesia

On 11 March 2020, the first case in French Polynesia was confirmed. The first patient was Maina Sage, a member of the French National Assembly.[64] There were 39 confirmed cases on 4 April. A ban on sales of alcohol was extended until the crisis is over.[65]

As of 11 November 2020, 11,316 cases and more than 4,842 recoveries had been reported in French Polynesia.[66]

New Caledonia

As of 18 July 2020, there were 22 cases in New Caledonia.[67] President Thierry Santa went into self-isolation on 4 April after a member of his staff tested positive.[68] On 7 March 2021, the first nine locally-transmitted cases were reported.[69]

Wallis and Futuna

 
Map of the outbreak in Wallis and Futuna by islands
  150+ confirmed cases
  100–150 confirmed cases
  50–100 confirmed cases
  1–50 confirmed cases

On 16 October 2020, the collectivity reported its first case.[70] On 23 October, a second test on the first case returned a negative result, making the collectivity again COVID-free.[71]

A local community outbreak began on 6 March 2021, and the number of cases has since risen to 302 by 20 March.[72][73] The first death was reported on 22 March.[74]

Kiribati

On 1 February 2020, the government of Kiribati put all visas from China on hold and required new arrivals to fill in a health form and travellers from countries with the coronavirus to go through a self-quarantine period.[75] Despite not having any cases, on 28 March President Taneti Maamau declared a state of emergency.[76]

On 10 September, the government announced it will keep the borders closed until the end of the year to keep the country free of the virus.[77]

On 18 May 2021, a local seafarer on a ship quarantined in the port of Betio tested positive for the virus.[78]

Marshall Islands

On 24 January 2020, the Marshall Islands issued a travel advisory that requires any visitors to the country to have spent at least 14 days in a country free of the virus.[79] On 1 March, the ban was extended to China, Macau, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Italy, and Iran.[80]

As of 18 March, all incoming international travel had been temporarily suspended, as well as some intra-island flight services.[81]

The first two positive cases of COVID-19 were confirmed at the US Army Garrison on Kwajalein Atoll (USAG-KA) on 29 October. They were both placed in managed quarantine.[82]

On 29 December, the Marshall Islands became the first independent nation in the Pacific to begin its COVID-19 vaccinations.[83]

Micronesia

The Federated States of Micronesia reported its first case in managed isolation on 8 January 2021.[30]

New Zealand

 
Map of COVID-19 cases in New Zealand by District health board (DHB)
  200+ confirmed cases
  100–199 confirmed cases
  50–99 confirmed cases
  10–49 confirmed cases
  1–9 confirmed cases

New Zealand reported its first case on 28 February 2020 from a citizen who had arrived from Iran on 26 February.[84] The second case was a citizen who had recently traveled to northern Italy.[85] The first local transmission of the virus happened on 4 March in Auckland.[86] On 29 March, New Zealand reported its first fatality, a woman in her 70s from the West Coast region.[87][88]

The New Zealand Government introduced a four-level alert system on 21 March to manage the COVID-19 pandemic in New Zealand. On 25 March, the country moved into Alert Level 4, placing the country in a nationwide lockdown and closing its borders. While mass gatherings were banned and schools and most businesses were closed, essential services such as supermarkets, petrol stations, and health services remained open.[89][90][91] Due to successful efforts to eliminate the pandemic within New Zealand's borders, the alert level system was progressively lowered to Level 3 on 27 April and Level 2 on 13 May, with lockdown restrictions and social distancing measures being eased at each stage.[92][93] On 9 June, New Zealand entered into Alert level 1, where remaining restrictions on economic activities and daily life were eliminated but the country's borders remained closed to most international travellers.[94]

On 4 May, the country marked the first day without the reports of any new case of COVID-19, a month after the country announced lockdown.[95] By 31 May, there was only one active case with a total of 1,504 (1,154 confirmed and 350 probable) cases, 1,481 recoveries, and 22 deaths.[96] By 8 June, that last active case had recovered.[97] Following 24 consecutive days of no new cases, two new cases resulting from overseas travel were reported on 16 June.[98] On 11 August, four cases were reported in Auckland, making the first reported community transmissions after 102 days.[99]

As of 2 August 2021, New Zealand has reported 2,877 cases (2,521 confirmed and 356 probable cases), with 37 active cases. In addition, 2,814 people have recovered and 26 people have died.[18] As of 2 August 2021, no cases have been reported in the associated state Niue and the dependent territories of Tokelau and the Ross Dependency (see below).[citation needed]

Cook Islands

As of 31 July 2021, the Cook Island has not detected any active cases of SARS-CoV-2.[100]

On 5 June 2021, the first positive PCR test result in the Cook Islands was obtained, but it was determined to be a non-infectious historical known case of a person who had earlier completed quarantine in New Zealand.[101][102][103]

Niue

As of 7 June 2021, there have been no cases in Niue. As a precautionary measure, the government has banned visitors from highly affected countries.[104] From 24 March 2021, travellers from Niue can resume quarantine free travel into New Zealand.[105] Niue is beginning their vaccination campaign the week beginning 31 May 2021.[106]

Tokelau

As of 7 June 2021, there have been no cases in Tokelau. As a precautionary measure, boats arriving from affected countries have been banned from landing.[104] On 19 March, all incoming travel was suspended, except for Tokelauans.[107]

On 19 July 2021, the Royal New Zealand Navy warship HMNZS Wellington delivered 120 vials of the Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to Tokelau's Nukunonu atoll, which is sufficient to vaccinate 720 people. Tokelau's population was 1,499 according to the 2016 Census.[108]

Palau

Palau began implementing border controls early on.[109] The President of Palau Thomas Remengesau Jr. issued an executive order suspending all charter flights from China, Macau, and Hong Kong from 1–29 February 2020.[110] By March, the country's borders were closed.[109]

The order also quarantined all non-citizens who recently entered the country for fourteen days.[111]

Palauans began receiving COVID-19 vaccines in 2021.[109] As a signatory of the Compact of Free Association with the United States, Palau has received vaccines from Operation Warp Speed.[109][112]

On 31 May 2021, the first case was confirmed.[113]

Papua New Guinea

On 20 March 2020, the first case in Papua New Guinea was confirmed.[114]

Swabs were taken and sent to the Medical Research Institute in Goroka for testing. Three announcements followed. First the Health Minister Jelta Wong declared a probable case, and Prime Minister James Marape followed up by declaring the result as negative.[115][116] Further tests were conducted and the prime minister confirmed the positive result for COVID-19.[117] Police Minister Bryan Kramer then stated on Facebook that the inconsistent results were due to faulty test equipment, and that requests had been made for further testing to be conducted in Melbourne.[118] As of 19 November 2020, Papua New Guinea had 602 cases, 585 recoveries and 7 deaths.[14]

Bougainville

The Autonomous Region of Bougainville's confirmed its first case of the COVID-19 pandemic on Friday, 7 August 2020, in Arawa, Bougainville.[119]

Samoa

There are two COVID-19 cases in Samoa that were confirmed in November 2020.[120]

Solomon Islands

The first case of COVID-19 in the Solomon Islands was confirmed on 3 October 2020.[121]

United States

While the epicenter of COVID-19 in the USA lies in the contiguous 48 states, cases and outbreaks have been reported in the country's Oceanic jurisdictions. The state of Hawaii has by far the most coronavirus cases in the region, followed up by the territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

American Samoa

On 9 November 2020, American Samoa reported its first three cases.[122][27]

Guam

As of 28 August 2020, the US territory of Guam has had 1,287 confirmed cases of the virus, 488 recoveries, and ten deaths.[123]

Hawaii

 
Map of the outbreak in Hawaii by confirmed total infections per 100,000 people (click on map for date of update)
  10,000+
  3,000–10,000
  1,000–3,000
  300–1,000
  100–300
  30–100
  0–30
  No confirmed infected or no data

The first case was reported on 6 March 2020, and the first death was on 30 March.[124]

In response to the initial spike in coronavirus cases, Governor David Ige issued a state-wide lockdown, which lasted from 24 March to 30 April.[125] After another spike occurred a few months later, a second lockdown was issued from 27 August to 9 September.[126] It was then extended until 24 September.[127]

As of 22 January 2021, the US state of Hawaii had 24,870 cases, 332 deaths and 1,647 hospitalizations.[6] The center of the outbreak is on the island of Oahu, where most Hawaii residents live. Cases have also been reported on Hawaii Island, Maui, Molokai,[128] Lanai[129] and Kauai. No cases have been reported on Niʻihau, Kahoʻolawe and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Out of all 50 states, Hawaii has the least amount of deaths per capita. It also ranks second in least cases per capita, falling only behind Vermont.[130]

Northern Mariana Islands

As of 2 November 2020, the islands confirmed 96 coronavirus cases and two deaths.[23]

Vanuatu

On 11 November 2020, Vanuatu recorded its first COVID case by a man who tested positive after returning from the United States via Auckland and Sydney.[131]

Prevention in other countries and territories

Nauru

As of 18 January 2021, there have been no cases. The government has, however, declared a national emergency as a preventive measure, suspending all but one weekly flight to the country and instituting a 14-day quarantine for all arrivals.[132]

Tonga

On 27 March 2020, Prime Minister Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa announced that the country would be under a lock-down 29 March – 5 April.[133]

As of 18 January 2021, there have been no cases in the country. As a precautionary measure, various travel and quarantining restrictions have been put in place.[132] Cruise ships and yachts have also been banned from docking in the country.[134]

Tuvalu

Circa 26 March 2020, the acting governor general declared a state of emergency.[135] On 5 April, the Queen of Tuvalu addressed the Commonwealth in a televised broadcast, in which she asked people to "take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return". She added, "we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again".[136]

As of 18 January 2021, there have been no cases in the country. As a precautionary measure, visitors will not be allowed to land without first undergoing 14 days of isolation in a third-party state.[104]

United Kingdom

Pitcairn Islands

As of 18 January 2021, there have been no cases in the Pitcairn Islands. As a precautionary measure, all passenger services to the islands have been suspended.[137] The territory's entire population was vaccinated in May 2021, with vaccines that arrived via ship from New Zealand.[138][139]

International aid

In late July 2021, UNICEF and the government of Japan announced US$20.8 million partnership to support Pacific Island governments regarding their battle against COVID-19. Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga had previously announced financial aid to boost health sectors in Pacific island nations during the 9th Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM9).[140]

Statistics

Total confirmed cases

Total confirmed (and probable) cases by country

Daily cases for the most infected Oceania countries:

See also

References

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