The Niue government is concerned as allegations emerge of passengers falsifying travel application requirements while the Health Department continues investigations into the origin of the index case of the current cluster of cases.
Premier Dalton Tagelagi told BCN News that people intending to return or visit Niue are being cautioned that they will be prosecuted and heavy penalties imposed if found that they have falsified their pre-departure paperwork.
When asked if the allegations have been confirmed, Premier Tagelagi said that the investigations are ongoing but he is very concerned because of the unnecessary risk to the vulnerable people on the island with underlying health conditions when passengers are not honest with their pre-departure test requirements.
There are currently 11 active cases on the island, ten of the current cluster of cases are linked to the border from a flight two weeks ago and one new case was detected from the 143 passengers that arrived on the island on Monday this week.
BCN news reached out to the Director General of Health and Social Services Gaylene Tasmania but she was not able to comment at this time saying that “It would be inappropriate to comment on the investigation at this time as we have not finalised the findings”.
Tasmania said that “the priority is detection of new cases and containment of the current outbreak”.
Director-General Tasmania did confirm that the health department will be sending the samples from the current cases for genome sequencing in New Zealand to determine the variant in the current outbreak.
Tasmania told BCN News that the omicron variant BA.4 was detected from genome sequencing of the last outbreak in early August which infected some 30 people.
Niue still remains at COVID-19 alert level yellow as local cases exist in the community and are well-controlled and monitored.