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Government announces urgent action to protect Tonga from coronavirus

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 31/01/2020

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday has announced urgent action by the government to protect the country and people from the new virus spreading in China and beginning to spread to other countries worldwide.

Cabinet has directed the Ministries of Internal Affairs and Education to work together on ensuring the safe return of the Tongan students and sports teams currently in China, as soon as possible.

The government is currently seeking assistance from the Australian and New Zealand governments for the temporary quarantine (isolation) of these Tongans arriving from China, in Australia or New Zealand, despite these individuals not holding Australian or New Zealand visas.

It is expected that these students and sports teams will spend a total of 14 days in quarantine (isolation) then if they don’t show symptoms of the virus then they will be brought home, otherwise if they do show symptoms of the virus they will remain in either Australia or New Zealand quarantined to be treated. They are expected to depart China next week or earlier if possible.

Meanwhile the government is also looking into temporarily restricting flights in cooperation with airlines providing services for routes from China to Tonga where they will have to transit through New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, and Samoa.

Government has also accepted to issue funds to the Ministry of Health to prepare resources including facilities to cater for ill persons if the virus arrives on our shores.

© Radio and Television Tonga News