Marshall Islands records first coronavirus cases on US military base

James Crump
·2-min read
Kwajalein Atoll, part of the Republic of the Marshall Islands ((WorldMaverik - YouTube))
Kwajalein Atoll, part of the Republic of the Marshall Islands ((WorldMaverik - YouTube))

Two workers at a US military base on the Marshall Islands have tested positive for Covid-19.

The Office of the Chief Secretary announced on Wednesday that two workers at a US military base on Kwajalein Atoll tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving from Hawaii on Tuesday.

Prior to Tuesday’s announcement, the remote Pacific archipelago had been one of the only places in the world yet to record a coronavirus case.

A woman, 35, and a man, 46, flew to Kwajalein Atoll via a military plane from Honolulu on Tuesday, and immediately isolated away from the local community, according to BBC News.

Authorities confirmed that the pair were “strictly border cases” and were in “quarantine” with asymptomatic symptoms. They did not come into contact with anyone from the local community.

The Marshall Islands, alongside a majority of island nations in the pacific, closed its borders in March due to fears its healthcare system could not cope with a large outbreak of Covid-19.

However, the country eased coronavirus restrictions in June and reopened its borders for military base personnel.

The Islands put in place a three week quarantine rule and implemented several safety measures to avoid contact with the community.

The Office of the Chief Secretary urged residents to “remain vigilant” and continue with coronavirus measures, but confirmed that a lockdown will not be ordered.

The Marshall Islands, which has a population of around 58,000 people, consists of a sprawling chain of volcanic islands and coral atolls that are located in the central Pacific Ocean.

The country is a self-governing nation, but maintains a close military relationship with the US, under the Compact of Free Association.

The BBC reported that other island nations, including Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Micronesia are still all yet to record their first Covid-19 cases.

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