New Caledonia recorded 16 covid-19 deaths yesterday — the highest single day total since the delta strain of the virus arrived in the territory less than three weeks ago.
A spokesperson for the territorial government, Gilbert Tyuienon, said the archipelago “is going through a crisis never seen in its entire history”.
Fifty-two people are in intensive care and 323 hospitalised, while health authorities say the peak of the epidemic has yet to be reached.
Seventy three people have died so far in the emergency.
According to Medipole Noumea Hospital authorities, the territory is entering the hardest phase of the epidemic and it could last a long time despite measures to try and break chains of transmission.
These include containment and a curfew that will stay in place until October 4.
New Caledonians suffer from many co-morbidity factors, with 67 percent of adults obese and an estimated 10 percent who are diabetic.
These health problems mainly concern the indigenous Kanak and Wallisian populations, which also have the highest mistrust of vaccination.
A member of the government of Wallisian origin, Vaim’ua Muliava, begged his community to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
The president of the custom Senate, Yvon Kona, called on the government to ban the sale of alcohol during the lockdown, reports Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes.
“Too many victims linked to covid are recorded every day as well as the number of deaths,” he said.
The territory has a population if 288,000.
This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.
This content originally appeared on Asia Pacific Report and was authored by APR editor.