‘Have courage’: Tokelau records its first four community COVID-19 cases

Vaccine supply in Tokelau (July 2021)

Tokelau remains in lockdown following the announcement of its first Covid-19 community cases.

“We knew that it would eventually get to Tokelau, so we prepared,” Tokelau Government General Manager Aukusitino Vitale said.

Between 15 and 26 May, four community cases were recorded in Nukunonu.

Tokelau is now officially the second to last country in the world to experience community transmission of Covid-19, with Turkmenistan still at zero cases as of 26 May according to the WHO.

On top of the four community cases in Nukunonu, which is the largest atoll in Tokelau, there was one border case and two recorded at the border on Fakaofo.

Vitale said the index border case arrived on the Lady Samoa with more than 70 other people in Tokelau on Sunday, 14 May.

They stopped off in Atafu and Fakaofo and all passengers who disembarked on Nukunonu tested negative on day one but on day three, a 48-year-old male tested positive.

One week later on Sunday, 21 May, the man’s son tested positive, becoming the first community case in Tokelau.

Vitale, who was also on the voyage, said the five-day lockdown which is only in place in Nukunonu ends on 28 May local time.

“Have courage, we have a very good, high herd immunity rate which is really helping with the positive cases, it’s just been flu symptoms, fever is of course the most difficult one but apart from that people are recovering.”

The restrictions in place mean Matiti School on Nukunonu is closed, as well as all government offices.

Essential services like the hospital, co-op store and finance are open with special arrangements in place to minimise people moving about in the village. People are allowed to feed their livestock between 7am to 9am.