Coronavirus

Chinese embassy in Suva hits out at Fiji govt over border closure

Under new measures to contain the Wuhan coronavirus, the Fiji government has banned non-citizens who have been in mainland China in the past 14 days from entering.

However, in a statement, the Chinese embassy said Beijing had taken rigourous containment measures, and there was no need for measures that interfered with travel and trade.

It hoped the Fiji government would minimise the negative impact on the movement of people as much as possible.

Coronavirus: PNG student in China calls for evacuation

Out of fear, Ben Mendel had booked a flight back to PNG through the Philippines but found it had been cancelled when he arrived at the airport.

"Because of the virus, I tried to go back to PNG to stay with my parents and once the situation here is a little bit okay, I planned to come back," Mr Mendel said.

"Unfortunately that didn't eventuate because of the flight ban in Manila."

Promised only a 45 percent refund by the airline, the first year student returned to his school, the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law.

Wuhan coronavirus: Fiji awaits test results from 2 suspected cases

The patients, who are both Fiji citizens, are symptomatic and authorities wore full protection as an ambulance rushed the two into isolation at Nadi Hospital from a local health centre where they had sought treatment after arriving from China on Monday.

The samples are being sent to a WHO 'Collaborating Centre' reference laboratory in Melbourne, Fiji's Ministry of Health said.

Coronavirus: Two in Fiji isolated with 'mild' symptoms

The Fiji citizens arrived in Nadi from the Chinese city of Guangdong on Monday and are being held at Nadi Hospital.

Samples have been sent to Melbourne for laboratory testing, and the ministry said it was managing close contacts of the patients.

The health ministry said there had been no confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus, which has killed more than 400 people in China.

"The Fijian Ministry of Health and Medical Services is monitoring the developing situation and will provide updates regularly to the public," it said in a statement.

Window of opportunity to act, World Health Organization says

Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the steps taken by China to fight the virus at its epicentre were the best way of stopping its spread.

Meanwhile, China's envoy to the UN in Geneva told nations not to over-react.

At least 427 people have died with more than 20,000 confirmed cases worldwide.

The WHO has declared a global health emergency over the outbreak but said the virus did not yet constitute a "pandemic" - the worldwide spread of a new disease. Officials say 425 people have died in China, one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.

Tonga Government sets up taskforce for coronavirus response

A statement said the Government is gravely about the virus and it has established a taskforce to carry out several important tasks.

One of the tasks is to determine the situation and actions necessary to ensure the welfare and potential return of the Tongan students in Wuhan, the Sports Team and Tongan students studying in Mainland China.

The taskforce will also issue a travel advisory that would require quarantine measures to be implemented in order to protect Tonga’s borders and people.

New Zealand to help Pacific neighbours evacuate

New Zealand imposed a two-week travel ban on arrivals from and through China on Monday and also warns its citizens to leave China fast.

Australia, the United States and seven other countries including Fiji, Russia, Japan and Indonesia, have also imposed entry restrictions on people from China, in an effort to limit contagion of the coronavirus from its source in Wuhan.

New Zealand's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said preparations for the evacuation were well under way.

China admits 'shortcomings and deficiencies' on virus response

The Politburo Standing Committee said the national emergency management system had to improve.

A crackdown on wildlife markets, where the virus emerged, has been ordered.

There are more than 17,000 confirmed cases in China, with 361 deaths, and more than 150 in other countries, with one death in the Philippines.

The number of deaths in China, excluding Hong Kong, now exceeds the 349 killed on the mainland in the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak of 2002-03.

Pacific nations move to protect borders from coronavirus

Fiji's borders will now be closed to all foreign nationals who have been in mainland China within 14 days of their intended travel to Fiji.

Similar to newly-instituted policies in Singapore and Australia, no passenger arrivals or transits will be permitted for those falling under these controls, effective immediately and until further notice.

The government said there were no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Fiji.

In New Zealand, foreigners from China are banned from entering the country from today.

Kiribati blocks Chinese travelers over coronavirus fears

Kiribati is the latest Pacific country to impose entry requirements to stop the spread off the virus.

All visitors are now required to fill out a health form and travelers from countries with the coronavirus must go through a self-quarantine period.

Meanwhile, health authorities in Wallis and Futuna have ordered 5000 face masks amid concern over the propagation of the coronavirus.

This is the territory's biggest order of its kind as people worry the respiratory illness could reach the archipelago.