PAPE’ETE (RNZ PACIFIC) — Another 17 people have died of Covid-19 in French Polynesia where the virus has now spread to 45 islands.

Figures released by the health ministry show 340 Covid-19 patients are in hospital, 55 of them in intensive care.

However, for a second consecutive day the government has withheld test results.

Daily new case numbers were lately more than 1,000 and on last officials count, the tally of the pandemic had breached the 40,000-mark.

So far the pandemic has claimed 370 lives and according to a local epidemiologist, 14 percent of them had been fully vaccinated.

Hospitals are at capacity and additional medical personnel are being brought in from France.

After passing a law last week to make vaccinations compulsory for some, the government has now published a detailed list of which type of people must be inoculated within two months.

They include medical staff, people in contact with the public, such as teachers, and people deemed to be vulnerable.

Those refusing to comply face a fine of US$1,700 and risk a suspension of their work contracts, with specifics yet to be published.

Unions have already said they will challenge the new local law in France’s highest court.

So far less than half of the population has had one jab.

Most of the territory is in a two-week lockdown.

The tourism sector said it is being hit by mass cancellations and bookings have dried up.

Paris said it will get the National Assembly to extend the state of health emergency in French Polynesia until the middle of November.

French Polynesia opened its borders in July last year for quarantine-free travel to boost the economy…. PACNEWS

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