INDEPENDENT NEWS

Pitcairn Island’s Christmas Present: Two-year Covid-19 Lockdown Lifted

Published: Fri 24 Dec 2021 11:18 AM
Pitcairn Island, December 23, 2021 ------- The 50 inhabitants of remote Pitcairn Island, a tiny one-by-two-mile volcanic outcropping in the far reaches of the South Pacific Ocean, have just received the best Christmas present they could hope for:
The island, home to descendants of the ill-famed Mutiny on the Bounty sailors, has just received word that their island will re-open to visitors, commerce, and face-to-face contact with the outside world following nearly two years of total COVID-19 lockdown of the island.
“It gives us great joy to announce that Pitcairn Island’s borders will re-open from March 31st, 2022,” says a news release from the Pitcairn Island Tourism office, received at the Pitcairn Islands Study Center in California.
“COVID-19 free, Pitcairn Island will resume welcoming cruise ships, yachts and other international visitors from 31 March 2022,” says the release.
“With the majority of its community fully vaccinated, remote Pitcairn Island is now preparing to safely receive visitors back to its shores after a near two-year closure to protect its vulnerable population,” notes the release.
The lockdown has been economically devastating to the Pitcairn people since practically all their income has come from cruise ship visits, individual visitors who stay in island homes for a fee, and the on-island sale of a wide variety of home-made crafts and curios. Practically all such income stopped when the island was locked down.
Lockdown also brought complications to the medical treatment of Pitcairners needing off-island care, the closest hospital to Pitcairn being 900 miles way in Tahiti; the hospital being under French control, while Pitcairn is a British overseas territory.
The tourism news release notes that Pitcairn’s supply ship, MV Silver Supporter, will operate three direct services between Tauranga, New Zealand, and Pitcairn Island from April 2022 through to August 2022. In addition to carrying essential supplies to and from Pitcairn,
the ship will carry Pitcairn islanders, contracted workers, and a limited number of visitors.
In 1789, while near the island of Tofua in the Pacific, sailors aboard the British ship H.M.S. Bounty mutinied against their captain William Bligh. Putting Bligh and sailors loyal to him adrift, the mutineers sailed the ship in search of a hiding place, finally settling on Pitcairn Island.
The story of the mutiny has appeared in hundreds of books, and been made into scores of movies and television productions.

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