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Micronesia last of bigger nations to have COVID-19 outbreak

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND (AP) – Micronesia has likely become the final nation in the world with a population of more than 100,000 to experience an outbreak of COVID-19.

For more than two-and-a-half years, the Pacific archipelago managed to avoid any outbreaks thanks to its geographic isolation and border controls. Those people who flew into the country with the disease didn’t spread it because all new arrivals were required to quarantine.

But as has been the case in several other Pacific nations this year, those defences couldn’t keep out the more transmissible Omicron variant forever.

On Tuesday, the government announced it had become aware of multiple cases across two of the nation’s four states.

Authorities said that in Kosrae State, 25 people tested positive after showing up at a local hospital. An additional 10 people from a family of 11 tested positive after a medical team visited them.

Authorities said they also found seven community cases in Pohnpei State.

A plane flies over the Pohnpei International Airport in Micronesia. PHOTO: AP