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This story originally appeared on The Telegraph website. It has been reprinted here in part with permission.
Cyclones and coronavirus: Pacific Island nations face a ‘double-whammy’ catastrophe
Struggling through the aftermath of a devastating tropical cyclone, many Pacific nations would be overwhelmed by even a few Covid-19 cases
Countries in the Pacific Islands have been praised for their swift response to the threat of Covid-19.
After sealing themselves off from the rest of the world to protect vulnerable populations through quick lockdowns and extreme travel restrictions, most nations in the region have remained virus-free.
But after Tropical Cyclone Harold – a category five cyclone that tore through Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga in early April – there is grave concern that these nations will be unable to cope with two crises at once.
As local communities and aid workers attempt to rebuild from the widespread devastation caused by the cyclone, with very little help from the outside world due to stringent lockdown measures, there is concern that even a handful of Covid-19 cases in these islands would have catastrophic effects. (more...)