(CNN) — The remote island nation of Kiribati went into lockdown for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic began two years ago after dozens of passengers on an international flight tested positive for the virus.
Of a population of just 122,391, only 3 confirmed cases had been identified in Kirbati before last week’s flight. That’s partly due to the island’s strict entry controls during the pandemic and its isolation. Kiribati sits in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 3,100 miles (5,000 kilometers) away from North America.
Kiribati’s government said it will enact on Monday a 24-hour curfew in South Tarawa — the main hub of Kiribati — and the nearby township of Beito.
Residents must stay home unless they have to leave for essential work, access emergency services or shop for food or other essential goods, the government said in its statement.
No public transport will be in operation; social gatherings will be banned; and all bars and nightclubs will be closed.
Kiribati at the moment requires all people to wear masks in public spaces, including on public transportation. There is already a curfew in place from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m., and social gatherings are currntly limited to 10 people.
Kiribati and other Pacific nations were spared the worst of the pandemic because many states closed their borders foreign nationals shortly after the virus emerged in late 2019.
Remote nation in the Pacific goes into lockdown for the first time