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Mormon Missionaries Brought COVID-19 to This Tiny Island Nation

Kiribati was one of the last places without a COVID-19 outbreak until Mormon missionaries brought the virus to the island nation.

Because of its early, strict travel restrictions and remote location, Kiribati has been one of the few areas of the world that have been spared from COVID-19.

But after the government loosened border restrictions a month ago, a new COVID-19 outbreak occurred after 54 Kiribati citizens, mostly Mormon missionaries, returned to the country after working overseas.

Despite the fact that the citizens were fully vaccinated and tested three times in Fiji before arriving in Kiribati, 36 of them tested positive for the virus upon arrival.

Positive cases have since risen to 181, and Kiribati is now enforcing COVID-19 restrictions such as lockdowns, curfews, and quarantine sites.

Government officials have declared a state of emergency due to the nation’s lack of intensive care units for its 113,000 residents. 

Just 33 percent of Kiribati’s citizens are fully vaccinated.

Within the last three weeks, outbreaks have been reported in Kiribati, Samoa, Palau, and the Solomon Islands.

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