All medical personnel in New Caledonia urged to help with COVID-19 outbreak

The New Caledonian government has appealed to all medical and paramedical staff, including veterinarians, to help in the fight against COVID-19.

Sixty-six cases have been recorded since the community outbreak was first detected on Monday and a lockdown has been in place since Tuesday.

There are seven people in intensive care with two in a serious condition.

The positive COVID cases range in age from 20 to 80 and while some are in Noumea hospital, others are in hotels set aside for quarantine.

The virus has been detected across the main island and in the Loyalty Islands, in particular in Lifou.

So far about a dozen clusters have been identified, with contacts being asked to isolate and get tested.

A maximum of 800 tests a day can be done, which means that only people with symptoms are advised to get one.

Vaccinations are being stepped up as only about a third of the population has been inoculated so far.

The president of the customary senate, Yvon Kona, was among those people being vaccinated today and he urged the public to get vaccinated.

Before Monday's outbreak, New Caledonia had recorded fewer than 140 COVID-19 cases in total.