- THE BLAZE -
The first signs of the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, surfaced in Wuhan, China, on Dec. 12, 2019. By December 2020, COVID-19 had reached every continent on the planet after the first cases were detected on Antarctica. Through the entire COVID-19 endemic and pandemic, the remote island nation of Kiribati had managed to not have a single case of COVID-19 until Jan. 19, 2022.
Kiribati is an isolated island nation in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with a population of roughly 122,000. Kiribati closed its borders 10 months ago, then reopened the country this month.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chartered a plane to Kiribati this month to bring home 54 of the island nation's citizens. Many of the travelers were missionaries who had left Kiribati before the country closed the border.
There were highly rigorous precautions to ensure that the travelers didn't bring COVID-19 to the unspoiled island nation.
First, everyone had to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Second, passengers had to test negative for COVID-19 three times in nearby Fiji before arrival. Third, they had been in pre-departure quarantine for two weeks before the flight. Fourth, they were put in quarantine with additional testing when they arrived home, according to the Associated Press.
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