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Government takes action in response to spread of new coronavirus in China

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 27/01/2020

The Ministry of Health has begun taking action in response to the spread of a new coronavirus in China in recent weeks that has also reached Australia.

The Health Director – Dr. Siale ‘Akauola says a team of health workers was sent to work together with the Ministry of Customs at the airport to screen arriving passengers for symptoms of this virus.

Kelemete Vahe from the Ministry of Customs says the team of health workers are carrying out their pre-screening checkups on the passengers before they are allowed to proceed to the customs team to carry out their usual duties at the airport.

In addition to this Dr. ‘Akauola says the ministry is also looking at strengthening the hospitals capability in the event that the virus does arrive on our shores.

Dr. ‘Akauola however explained that they are also working closely with regional partners and trust that the efforts of not only the Chinese government, but the other countries that passengers from China transit through will also do their best to minimize the spread of this virus.

He advised that the public take precaution at this time, particularly with travel plans, similar to precautions taken when the measles outbreak was declared, keeping a hygienic lifestyle and minimize attending large gatherings, even though no official ban on large gatherings has been ordered.

Meanwhile in a statement from the Prime Minister this morning, it confirmed that all Tongan sports teams in China are safe from the virus and are expected to return safely to Tonga next week. It says there has also been discussions with the Chinese Ambassador here in Tonga and the Tongan Ambassador in Beijing, China to ensure the safety of the sports teams currently in China in their return to the Kingdom.

It’s also been confirmed from the ambassador in China that all Tongan students in Wuhan, where the virus was discovered, are in good health and are being taken care of.

© Radio and Television Tonga News