New Caledonia

New Caledonian businesses set for faster recovery than other Pacific Island countries

PTI New Zealand Trade Commissioner Glynis Miller said the recent release of the New Caledonia focussed report found that while the pandemic had impacted New Caledonia, the proportion of businesses in New Caledonia that were fully operational at the end of 2020 was significantly higher with 94% compared to 34% for the rest of the Pacific.

Miller commented that the heavy reliance of other Pacific nations on tourism compared with New Caledonia could account for this fact.

Covid-19 bans lifted in New Caledonia

The territory returned to its Covid-free status after a four-week lockdown, but still required people to wear masks in public places.

As of yesterday morning, mass gatherings were again allowed, clearing the way for churches to have services for the first time in five weeks.

Boarding schools have been able to receive students and re-open today.

On 7 March, a cluster of local Covid-19 cases was detected, prompting an immediate sharp lockdown.

A total of 63 infections were recorded since then but none in the past week.

France sends 30 police to New Caledonia

This followed a call for police reinforcement by the administrator in New Caledonia's Southern Province following recent violence around protests related to the Vale nickel plant

The French Overseas Minister, Sebastien Lecornu, confirmed the deployment of another 30 special police and investigators.

He noted that almost 1500 French police were in New Caledonia, more than five times more police than in rural parts of mainland France.

     

New Caledonia lockdown is extended

The French territory entered a lockdown earlier this month after new community cases of the coronavirus were confirmed.

Furthermore, covid cases have exploded in the neighbouring French territory of Wallis and Futuna, adding further risks.

Authorities in New Caledonia suggest the lockdown has controlled the latest surge of infections.

But they have issued an extension to ensure the end of community transmission.

By April, France is expected to have supplied 42,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine to New Caledonia.

     

Vanuatu postpones New Caledonia Tamtam travel bubble awareness

Prime Minister Bob Loughman announced the postponement after two new border quarantine cases were reported in the country.

New Caledonia has reported Covid-19 community transmission cases.

The awareness outreach was to have begin today.

Cyclone Niran causes damage and injures one in New Caledonia

The cyclone hit today generating gusts of up to 220km/h.

RRB radio reported a child was injured by shards of glass from a bay window during the storm.

About 20,000 people are without power and roofs have also been ripped off buildings in the town of Dumbéa, on the outskirts of Noumea.

Several ships have also been forced aground on the coast in Noumea although according to a provisional report, no major damage was recorded following this cyclone, the intensity of which was a little lower than expected.

Severe tropical storm heads to New Caledonia

The category five tropical cyclone Niran has sustained winds of over 200kph and is moving towards New Caledonia at 43km.

Julian Leduc, a Forecaster with the New Caledonia weather office, said the system is 230kms west of the far north of New Caledonia.

"And we begin to have strong gusts on the northern part of the island with 50 knots," he said.

"And its forecast to cross to the main island during the morning, and later today to the southern part of the island."

The system has been hovering in the Coral Sea for the last few days.

New Caledonia delays Vanuatu plane departure over debt

The plane, which had just delivered more than 100 ni-Vanuatu university students to New Caledonia, was held up for an hour before being allowed to return to Port Vila.

The Chief Executive of Air Vanuatu, Atu Finau, said there had been outstanding bills for ground handling at Tontouta International Airport.

He wouldn't say how much was involved but he did say the arrears extended back more than two years.

Finau said the airline had now reached an agreement with civil aviation in New Caledonia to settle the debt.

   

Vanuatu women's group worried about potential travel bubble

The president of the City Centre Women in Business said their members were one of the first to come into contact with tourists, which poses a risk for contracting Covid-19.

Marie Rose Marango said the association had over 60 women and they sold their products in the centre of Port Vila, which was popular with visitors.

Marango said there had been no awareness by health authorities regarding future visitors to the country.

Vanuatu and New Caledonia launch safe travel Tamtam Bubble

From April, the so-called 'Tamtam Bubble' will allow easier travel between the covid-free Melanesian neighbours.

Travel will be restricted to Vanuatu's main island of Efate.

Launching the bubble on Friday, Bob Loughman said it would allow a resumption of business activities in the capital Port Vila and for Vanuatu students to resume studies in New Caledonia while others will be able to return home.

New Caledonia and Vanuatu's borders remain closed to travellers from other countries.