South Pacific island nation mandates COVID-19 vaccination

·1 min read
Micronesia's President David Panuelo talks with China's President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing

CANBERRA (Reuters) - The small South Pacific island nation of The Federated States of Micronesia has mandated that its adult population be inoculated against COVID-19 in an effort to continue to prevent the pandemic reaching its shores.

The Federated States of Micronesia, with a population just over 113,000 and covering more than 600 islands, has not recorded any locally acquired COVID-19 cases after it shut its international borders to prevent the spread of the virus.

In a statement issued late on Thursday, the Pacific island nation said everyone over 18 years will have to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

"The [Federated States of Micronesia] still has so much work to do to conquer the pandemic," said the country's President David Panuelo said.

Other Pacific island countries also shut their borders but some have now experienced an outbreak of COVID-19.

In Fiji, which was COVID-19 free until earlier this year, the country has recorded more than 6,000 cases this week that is overwhelming hospitals.

Such is the strain, Fiji can no longer test everyone with symptoms. Only those deemed at greatest risk is tested.

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Michael Perry)

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