When virus began spreading around the world, the remote Pacific archipelago of Kiribati managed to prevent the disease reaching its shores by closing its borders for nearly two full years.
It finally began reopening this month, allowing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to charter a plane to bring home 54 of the island nation's citizens.
Officials tested each returning passenger three times in nearby Fiji, required that they be vaccinated, put them in quarantine and carried out additional testing when they arrived home.
It has now emerged that even that series of measures wasn't enough.
More than half of the passengers tested positive for the virus, which has now slipped out into the community and prompted the government to declare a state of disaster.
An initial 36 positive cases from the flight had rapidly grown to 181 cases by Friday.
Kiribati and several other small Pacific nations were among the last places on the planet to have avoided any virus outbreaks, thanks to their remote locations and strict border controls. But their defences appear no match against the highly contagious Omicron variant.
"Generally speaking, it's inevitable. It will get to every corner of the world," said Helen Petousis-Harris, a vaccine expert at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.
"It's a matter of buying enough time to prepare and getting as many people vaccinated as possible."
Source : https://news.sky.com/story/covid-news-latest-live-boris-johnson-announcement-today-plan-b-coronavirus-restrictions-12507015?postid=3241004244