Now it can be told.
Twenty island nations didn’t partake in the Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games 2022 that concluded last Saturday, as Nauru wasn’t able to send its 35-strong delegation to the 10-day sporting event due to COVID-19, according to Pacific Games Council CEO Andrew Minogue.
“Their charter flight was cancelled due to their first ever COVID-19 outbreak,” he said.
Minogue said Nauru informed the Pacific Games Council that they were pulling out of the Games the same day the opening ceremony was held.
During the parade of nations last June 17 at the Oleai Sports Complex, the island country was conspicuously absent as only a flagbearer represented Nauru.
A story from Loop Pacific last June 3 indicated that Nauru was about to send 35 athletes to the 11th staging of the quadrennial event. They were bannered by the island nation’s weightlifting team made up 17 athletes, 10 for track and field, and eight tennis players.
The press release also noted that the weightlifting team was comprised of a number of promising youth athletes that Nauru’s weightlifting federation hopes to develop in the next few years.
The athletics team, meanwhile, was composed of athletes who performed admirably during Nauru’s Constitution Day sports day. The tennis team, on the other hand, was competing again in the region after being absent for a number of years.
Nauru’s chef de mission to the Games, Gay Uera, said a couple of weeks before their supposed flight to Saipan that the team will endeavor to abide with the host country’s (CNMI) COVID-19 protocols and encourage team managers and athletes to sanitize daily and wear masks.
Radio New Zealand reported yesterday that the number of COVID-19 cases on the island nation continue to rise as there are now 2,392 active cases in the community.
Nauru President Lionel Aingimea said 53%—or approximately one in two people—tested are positive with eight people in the acute care unit in the hospital.
In addition, there are three moderate to severe cases in the hospital, two are adults with underlying illnesses, and one is a child with a high fever.
To help stop the spread of the coronavirus, Aingimea’s government has issued a prohibition order on mass gatherings that bans a long list of social activities in order to slow the spread of the virus.
The list of prohibited activities include bingo, church, sports such as karate, market days, birthdays, weddings, and drinking at kava bars.
Aingimea said there are still reports of people that have tested positive leaving their homes and of others gathering in groups and socializing. He wants to remind people that anyone who does not comply with the orders could face a fine of up to AUS$10,000 or go to jail for up to six months.