French Polynesia’s President Edouard Fritch. Source: Blondet Eliot/ABACA Press
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  • French Polynesia evacuates 12 COVID-19 patients from the overseas territory in the Pacific some 15,700 kilometres to Paris to ease pressure on medical services
  • The collection of islands with a population of 280,000 is experiencing a spike in cases, with 167 people in hospital and 50 in intensive care
  • Daily case numbers, however, have decreased over the past week and the Government plans to ease some restrictions from Monday

French Polynesia is evacuating 12 COVID-19 patients some 15,700 kilometres to Paris to ease pressure on hospitals in the overseas territory.

The collection of islands in the Pacific has a population of 280,000, of which nearly 150,000 have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

However, a new outbreak in July has deteriorated into the territory’s biggest spike in cases since the onset of the pandemic.

Three-quarters of the 585 deaths from the virus in French Polynesia have occurred since the start of August.

On Thursday, health authorities reported 167 people were in hospital, with 50 in intensive care.

In a first of its kind operation, patients are being transferred on Friday on a France Bee charter flight equipped with oxygen and breathing equipment, from the Pacific island to mainland France.

Daily case numbers, however, have begun to decrease, and today the President of French Polynesia Edouard Fritch and High Commissioner Domonique Sorain announced there would be a progressive lifting of restriction from Monday.

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