Tonga was one of the few countries that has not reported a single case of Covid since the beginning of the pandemic. But on Friday, Tonga Prime Minister Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa confirmed his first positive case of a passenger traveling from New Zealand
The infected traveler arrived in Tonga on Wednesday when he flew from Christchurch, the New Zealand Ministry of Health reports.
The passenger was fully vaccinated, the test in New Zealand was negative before the flight left, and was detected among passengers staying at a hotel used for managed isolation and quarantine for new arrivals in the country.
Tu’i’onetoa said all airport staff who had been in contact with any of the passengers on the flight had been quarantined, and warned Tongans to prepare for a possible national closure after the case, according to the
to the Matangi Tonga news website.
“We should use this time to prepare if more people are confirmed to have the virus,” he reportedly said.
According to news of a positive case, thousands of people rushed to vaccination centers to get Covid vaccinated, Matangi Tonga reports.
Tonga Health Minister Amelia Tuʻipulotu said high turnout in the past few days would increase vaccination coverage in the country.
“More people are applying because we now have a coverage of the first dose of about 86% and the second dose of about 62%, so this is a big turnout today and will increase the overall coverage of the first and fully vaccinated,” Tuʻipulotu said. according to the
to Matangi Tonga.
Tonga is a Polynesian country with more than 170 South Pacific islands and home to about 100,000 people. The archipelago lies about 800 kilometers (497 miles) east of Fiji and 2,380 kilometers (1,480 miles) from New Zealand.
Although no Covid case has been reported so far, the island nation declared a state of emergency in March 2020 and closed its borders to foreign nationals.
Like other Pacific island nations, Tongo has taken early action to protect against Covid outbreaks that could devastate the country, where 22.1% of the population lives. below the national poverty line
medical facilities and equipment are limited.
But strict travel measures have severely affected
the economies of the Pacific island countries, especially those that rely on tourism.
The Pacific states of Tuvalu and Naura are among the only countries in the world that have not reported Covid infection. Turkmenistan
in North Korea
nor have they officially reported any cases, although experts say those claims are unlikely to hold.