Coronavirus COVID-19 in Bora Bora : is it safe? informations and updates

As of September 18th 2020 there are 0 cases of coronavirus COVID-19 in Bora Bora. We have been very fortunate so far and pray that less fortunate countries see relief soon.

Covid-19 In French Polynesia latest updates

As of September 18th 2020, there are a total of 241 active cases of coronavirus on French Polynesia. Since the re-opening of the borders on July 15th 2020 there have been 1209 cases, 966 have been released from isolation and considered to be cured.

The positive cases of Coronavirus Covid-19 are located in the urban communes of Tahiti (Tahiti is 170 miles/ 277 kilometers away from Bora Bora and 51 minutes away from Bora Bora by plane) . 11 linked cases are isolated in Moorea, 1 in Raiatea and 1 in Tubuai. No cases in Bora Bora.

Last update September 18th 2020 since the opening of the boders July 15th 2020

  • Active cases = 241
  • Released from isolation= 966
  • Total cumulative case= 1209
  • Current hospitalizations= 25
  • Total cumulative hospitalizationss = 60
  • Deaths= 2

Reminder of the results for the first half 2020

  • Number of screenings = 5390
  • Confirmed cases (imported= 32 and Local= 30) = 62
  • Total hospitalisations = 6
  • Deaths = 0

Please click here for official updates on the confirmed cases in French Polynesia (website in French).

French Polynesia entry conditions

The borders of French Polynesia are re-open to international tourism from all countries , since July 15th, 2020. To avoid the spread of the virus local authorities have established the next strong sanitary measures

Entry requirements prior departure

French Polynesia’s authorities confirmed on July 9th the conditions of entry and stay to the country applicable to all travelers arriving by air.

Starting from July 15th, 2020: Quarantine measures will be lifted and French Polynesia’s borders will re-open to international tourism from all countries. All travellers will be subject to the following mandatory conditions:

  • A SARS-CoV-2 virus genome test (list of approved and non approved tests) has to be carried out by all travelers from 6 years old in a health authority center (hospital, clinic, medical centre, Covid-19 testing Center, or medical analysis laboratory) within three days before the flight to Tahiti (at the passenger’s expense).

Ex: If the flight departs on a Monday at 11pm, the passenger needs to take the test the preceding Friday.

Please note for example, that Antigen, Antibody, Self Testing or Rapid Tests of any kind, including rapid RT-PCR tests such as the Abbott ID are not accepted by the Health Authorities of French Polynesia and aircraft boarding will be denied. Consult the list of approved and non approved tests.

The results of this test must be negative and will need to be presented to airline staff upon check-in prior to boarding the flight to French Polynesia.

No boarding will be allowed if the test is positive.

  • Sanitary entry form online (Etis.pf)

After obtaining the negative test results, each adult must fill out a digital Sanitary entry form online on the dedicated platform (Etis.pf) mainly agreeing to:

  • Respect the prevention measures and all health safety instructions issued by the authorities of French Polynesia for the pre-boarding phase, during the flight,  disembarkation and throughout the stay;
  • Call the emergency health line at 40 455 000 in case of cough, fever or respiratory difficulty. If the traveler feels any sign of distress, they should dial “15” (emergency services);
  • Submit to the health surveillance system established by the government of French Polynesia which, among other health protocols, mandates a self-test for the SARS-CoV-2 virus 4 days after arrival French Polynesia;
  • Have travel insurance or personally assume all expenses related to cost of care including hospitalization, confinement, or repatriation, should the visitor fall ill during their stay;
  • Provide information about the stay in French Polynesia (except for residents) : itinerary, inter-island transport, accommodation (e-mail contacts / telephone / dates of stay).

The Sanitary entry form is to be completed online on the dedicated digital platform ETIS.pf [Electronic Travel Information System].

Once completed a receipt with an ETIS number will be issued by email;

A printout of this receipt must be presented upon check-in together with the test results in order to be able to board the flight to French Polynesia and  both documents will need to be presented upon arrival at Tahiti’s Faa’a international airport.

The  printout receipt of the health engagement form is to be kept with the traveler at all times and in all places during their stay in French Polynesia.

In order to find a certified Covid19 testing facility, you may want to check the following web sites :

For the United States :

coronavirus COVID-19 in Bora Bora

Safety requirements during the flight

Safety requirements during the stay

Wearing a mask (from the age of 11 years old) is :

  • mandatory in enclosed public places and establishments;
  • mandatory in outdoor public spaces subject to large number of people, including: shops, water taxis/ferry transportation, airplanes, public ground transport, airports and ferry terminals. Failure to comply with these requirements is punishable by a fine of up to €745.82.
  • Respecting prevention measures at all times and in all places;
  • In case of a change of itinerary, travelers should update the “itinerary” part of their file on the Etis.pf website;
  • In addition to the test required prior to departure, a self-test provided by French Polynesia, will need to be carried out on the fourth day after arrival in the destination. An envelope will be given to each traveler upon their arrival at the airport. This test consists of an oral and nasal swab, to be self-performed at the date indicated on the envelope containing a self-test kit with instructions and an information note.
  • Self-diagnosis of visitors: in case of doubt on the traveler’s state of health (fever and/or flu symptoms), they are required to contact the reception of their accommodations and/or call directly to (+689) 40 455 000. If they feel any sign of distress, they should dial “15” (emergency services);
  • Depending on the diagnosis made by the Health Authorities, follow their instructions which may include isolation measures and / or carrying out an additional RT-PCR test.

When will it be safe to travel again?

French Polynesia borders re-opened to international tourism from all countries, starting on July 15th, 2020.

Bora Bora Resorts Reopening Dates:

  • Four Seasons Bora Bora re-opened on July 15th, 2020. Here is a message from the Four Seasons resort Bora Bora general manager Diego Stembert.
  • InterContinental Thalasso & Le Moana Bora Bora re-opened July 15th, 2020.
  • Conrad Bora Bora Nui re-opened July 15th,2020.
  • St Regis Bora Bora re-opened July 23th ,2020.
  • Sofitel Private Island plans to re-open July 15th,2020.
  • Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort plans to re-open on September 15th 2020 with a soft opening phase and fully re-opening on October 1st 2020.
  • Le Méridien Bora Bora is closed for renovations until 2022.
  • Sofitel Bora Bora Marara Beach Resort : closure for renovations is extended until the end of the year.

Airlines Reopening Dates:

  • Air Tahiti Nui flights will being daily from LAX to Papeete as of July 16th 2020.
  • Air France flights are expected to begin on July 11th – From Paris to Papeete via Vancouver . Not stopping in Los Angeles. Unfortunately boarding not permitted at this time in Vancouver.
  • French Bee flights are expected to resume July 15th, details to be confirmed.
  • Hawaiian Airlines extends the suspension of its operations between Honolulu and Papeete until June 30th, 2020 inclusive.
  • United Airlines flights are expected to resume in August,details to be confirmed.

Is Bora Bora free of coronavirus?

YES. We have been very fortunate so far and pray that less fortunate countries see relief soon.

Faced with the 6 cases of Corona Virus in Tahiti and Moorea, the authorities decided to stringent suspend any access by planes or boats to Bora Bora since March 18th . Because it was easier to control the flow of passengers here than in a much larger country, the island Bora Bora remained unreachable, therefore safe and protected.

Since the re-opening of the borders on July 15th 2020 French Polynesia has experienced a second wave of cases but mostly in Tahiti. From July 15th to August 25th, 2020, there have been 1209 recorded cases. From the 1209 cases, 966 have been released from isolation and considered to be cured. These 1209 cases originated mostly from two clusters that have generated numerous local contaminations. Indeed, the majority of the cases are residents or newcomers who have come to settle in the French Polynesia.  Nearly 12,000 people have been tested since July 15. Only 16 imported cases were detected and only 11 of them were tourists.

Chronology of the coronavirus in French Polynesia

Upon the March 9th mandate, all travellers were required, regardless of nationality, to provide a medical certificate of clean health before entering the country. The certificate must be dated within five days of the last port of departure.

On 11 March, the first case of Coronavirus COVID-19 in French Polynesia was confirmed in Tahiti (but not in Bora Bora). The first patient was Maina Sage, a member of the French National Assembly coming back to Tahiti from France.

The number of cases reported rose to three on 13 March. Three new cases were confirmed on 18 March, and five on 19 March.

On March 11th the Polynesian Goverment announced mandatory 14 day quarantine to all people arriving by plane on international flights.

Faced with the number of increasing cases (6 cases total) in French Polynesia, the authorities decided to take fast and drastic measures to protect the population and suspended access to the territory for all non-residents. The French Polynesia travel ban was effective from March 18th.

On March 18th started the repatriation for all non-resident travelers.

On March 20th, a mandatory lock-down was announced for all the population in French Polynesia. Any flights or boats inter-Island were also suspended to protect all the little islands, including Bora Bora.

Starting on 24 March, alcoholic beverage were forbidden from being sold. This measure was very unpopular and highly criticized.

On March 27th , curfew was imposed, lasting from 8pm to 5am.

After 40 days of strict lockdown, president Edouard Fritch and the French High Commissioner Dominique Sorain said isolation had worked, the pandemic was under control, the curve of Covid-19 was flattened at 58 cases and 0 deaths and the authorities decided to lighten the lockdown from April 29th.

  • Light alcoholic beverages (beers and wines) became available again.
  • Retailers were able to open, whilst ensuring barrier gestures were respected; restaurants and food trucks were therefore able to reopen.
  • Beaches were also re-opened, whilst respecting social distancing, even on the seaside. Individual leisure, sports and nautical activities were therefore be allowed.
  • The reopening of administrations was gradual, prioritizing teleworking where possible.
  • However, bars, discotheques, cinemas but also sports clubs remained closed, collective trainings were still prohibited, as well as gatherings in public and private meetings with the extended family or friends gatherings were strongly discouraged.
  • Maritime and air travel between the islands was still prohibited in order to ensure active surveillance and control of the epidemic. However, access was possible between Tahiti and Moorea.
  • The curfew was maintained but it shifted from 9pm to 5am.

After two months of lockdown, following again the improvement of the health situation with only a total of 60 cumulative cases, the authorities declared the end of lockdown in French Polynesia starting from May 21th, 2020:

  • Access to the territory for all non-residents of French Polynesia was still suspended (since March 18, 2020).
  • Domestic flights started their operations from May 22nd, with Air Tahiti flights serving only 10 islands: Huahine, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Rangiroa, Tikehau, Fakarava, Rurutu, Tubuai, Nuku Hiva and Hiva Oa.
  • Sailing yachts which have been stopped in mooring areas were able to resume their trips.
  • All companies and administrations resumed their activities.
  • Restaurants, bars and nightclubs resumed their activities under usual conditions.

The country’s authorities announced June 5th that the borders will be re-opening to international tourism from all countries. in French Polynesia starting on July 15th, 2020

This rigorous protocol allowed health authorities to rapidly detect the first case of a tourist carrying the Covid-19 virus aboard the Paul Gauguin cruise ship and to isolate this person immediately on August 1, 2020, thus controlling the chain of transmission aboard the cruise ship. No additional cases among the passengers and crew were detected thereafter.

However, as in other countries, The Islands of Tahiti are facing an increase in the number of cases. From July 15th to September 18tht 2020, there have been 1209 recorded cases. These originate mostly from two clusters that have generated numerous local contaminations. Indeed, the majority of the cases are residents or newcomers who have come to settle in the French Polynesia.  Nearly 12,000 people have been tested since July 15. Only 16 imported cases were detected including 11 tourists.

The goverment insist that tourisms is not the cause, but the gatherings without respect for barrier gestures and basic health recommendations. We all know these measures, we share their importance, but unfortunately some may think that it is sometimes safe to be exempt from them. Well no, vigilance must be continuous and there is indeed an individual responsibility.

The authorities believe that the isolation of Polynesia on itself is not a viable solution in the long term. There is need to resume an economic life open to the outside, saving thousands of jobs and more generally the stability of the economic and social life of the territory. It is essential to avoid a major economic and social crisis. The decision to open our borders was therefore taken to allow the lives of Polynesians to resume their course, to protect jobs and to face the economic consequences of the health crisis.

The foreseeable and non-reversible increase of these 1209 cases (only 241 active cases), has pushed the local authorities, to reinforce the sanitary protocol, implementing the following measures though October 15 (subject to extension):

  • Closing of discos and nightclubs.
  • Meetings of more than 10 people on the public highway or in any place open to the public are subject to prior permission from the authorities. This permission should specify the health measures taken by event planners.
  • Application of strict rules in restaurants and bars (patrons must be seated, maintain a minimum distance of 1 meter between each table, and wearing a mask is mandatory by everyone when moving around the establishment);
  • Wearing of masks is mandatory in outdoor public spaces subject to large number of people, including: shops, water taxis/ferry transportation, airplanes, public ground transport, airports and ferry terminals. Requirements will be enforced by controls and sanctions. Failure to comply with these requirements is punishable by a fine of up to €745.82;
  • Informal meetings of more than 10 people is prohibited on beaches, green spaces and public parks, riverbanks, picnic areas and all sites used for this purpose.

The importance of these protective rules and the need for the local population, as well as incoming visitors or returning residents, friends and family, to respect them, was highlighted during the official speech of the President and the High Commissioner on the 11th of August, at the same time as the announcement ofthe above health measures.   

To underscore this need, a reminder of the rules to respect is provided to local and international visitors upon their arrival at the airport which invite them to take the right steps to ensure the well-being of visitors and the local population. 

What is the current situation of coronavirus Covid-19 in Bora Bora?

Being a secluded island in the middle of the Pacific ocean, Bora Bora have remained in a little bubble, safe and protected with 0 cases of Coronavirus Covid-19.

However the coronavirus is causing major problems for Bora Bora’s economy, bringing setbacks that could take years to recover from. 

All resorts, hotels were temporary closed for four months because they couldn’t afford to open without international clients.

Guest houses and small businesses stared to re-open to local inter-island tourism from May 22nd.

We don’t have official numbers about the job count fall in the service and tourist industry. But because Bora Bora is a 100 % driven by tourism, from the 20th of March almost all the island was unemployed.

The hotels helped giving forced paid vacations to their employees and the fallout was softened by a series of relief bills coming from the Government.

Two hotels have decided to use this off time to renovate. Le Méridien and Sofitel Marara have temporary closed, leaving hundreds unemployed.

Due to the travel ban, the island continued on lockdown to any international flights, cruise ships or boats until July 15th 2020.

Right now the resorts are starting to open and welcoming guest back. Bora Bora enjoys the Covid Free status and everybody is happy to welcome tourism again and save the economy.

Please help us to protect our island following the next saftery measures:

I was supposed to visit Bora Bora soon…

You’ve waited for your dream vacation to Bora Bora for long time. After carefully making all the arrangements for your flight, booking a resort – you started to breathe easy and let yourself get excited visiting Bora Bora.

…then the unexpected coronavirus and the travel ban. What should I do?

Contact your vendors

If the coronavirus has affected your travel plans, contact your vendors, resorts, travel agencies and airlines. They are waiving change fees to offer you flexibility with your bookings.

Try to re-schedule if possible to help the island, re-scheduling your trip you will be the reason we will be here in the years to come, THANK YOU 🙂 Click here to find out the best time of the year to visit Bora Bora.

If your travel plans are from July 15th you can start preparing your stay 🙂 Remember that you are going to need travel insurance and a A A SARS-CoV-2 virus genome test (list of approved and non approved tests) negative test 3 days before boarding and to fill out the online sanitary entry form.

The coronavirus COVID-19 in Bora Bora: Final Thoughts

We recognise that traveling to Bora Bora requires planning ahead, coordinating schedules, and saving up those hard-earned dollars to have your dream vacation. We hope that this article has armed you with the facts and the current update on coronavirus disease COVID-19 status on Bora Bora. We recommend that you follow the State’s guidance and come see us this summer!

High CommissionerDisclaimer: This article was written on September 18th, 2020. Sources for this article include French Polynesia Health Department, the French Polynesia High Comissioner and the World Health Organization and is believed to be accurate at the time of posting.

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