Kiribati to start Covid-19 vaccination rollout

Kiribati has received its first 12,000 doses of the Astrazeneca Covid-19 vaccine via the global covax facility.

Upon receiving the vaccines on Tuesday the Kiribati health minister Tinte Itinteang said vaccinations would begin this week.

The rollout is to start in the densely populated South Tarawa districts of Betio and the Teinainano Urban Council which stretches from Bairiki to Tanaea.

Dr Itinteang said 12,000 more doses of the vaccine were expected in a month's time.

The country has no community cases of Covid-19 but last week two cases of Covid-19 were identified aboard a Taiwanese fishing carrier anchored in the Tarawa lagoon.

One of the people who tested positive is an i-Kiribati fisherman who was returning home after a year at sea.

The other is a foreigner whose nationality has not been confirmed.

Both men have been told to quarantine aboard the vessel for 14 days.

Earlier this week, the Kiribati government suspended its repatriation programme to deal with the cases.

It also imposed a night-time curfew in South Tarawa and Betio.