Turnout was only 41.60 percent as pro-independence campaigners boycotted the vote, saying "a fair campaign" is not possible with high Covid-19 infection numbers.
The coronavirus has killed over 2.52 million people and infected more than 113.9 million globally. Here are the virus-related developments for February 27:
French South Pacific territory narrowly rejects independence in a referendum, with the 'no' camp bagging 53.26 percent and the 'yes' camp receiving 46.7 percent of votes.
"An offence was committed, but I found the foreign ministry's response to be proportional to the seriousness of what happened," prosecutor says. Robby Judes was fired after two women said he groped them during an official visit to New Caledonia
There were no immediate reports of damage from two earthquakes, but the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said that waves had been "observed" and could reach up to three metres in height.
Some 175,000 people were eligible to vote in the remote islands where separatists urged indigenous Kanak voters to choose self-determination and throw off the shackles of "colonial" authorities in Paris.
There are fears the referendum could inflame tensions between indigenous Kanak people, who tend to favour independence, and the white population, which boiled over into deadly violence in the 1980s.
France has been in a state of emergency for nearly two years and law enforcement is using the measure as cover to target minorities and political activists completely unrelated to "terror".
New Caledonia's civil security agency made no plans to evacuate coastal places immediately.
Fiji's national disaster office had issued a nationwide tsunami warning after the powerful underwater quake, leading to widespread evacuations and traffic jams.
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