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Traveler turned away at airport for non-compliance with travel advisory

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 17/02/2020

The government’s protective measures at the borders due to the coronavirus outbreak have resulted in a traveler being turned away for failure to comply with travel advisories put in place to protect against the importation of the novel coronavirus into Tonga.

A traveler who was on board on an international flight from New Zealand was denied entry to Fua’amotu Airport last Thursday.

The traveler’s entry was denied on the basis of non-compliance with the Kingdom’s Travel Advisory No. 2, which was issued on 3 February 2020. The traveler was sent back on the same international return flight to New Zealand.

The Kingdom’s Travel Advisory No. 2 requires an international traveler originating from, or transiting via China, to spend 14 days for self-quarantine at the last port of entry. The traveler failed to meet this requirement.

In a statement last week, the Ministry of Health wished to send out a clear message that international travelers intending to travel to the Kingdom, are required to comply with strict precautionary measures that are in place to safeguard the Kingdom from the novel coronavirus global epidemic.

Meanwhile the Ministry issued Travel Advisory No.3 for Travelers arriving in or intending to travel to Tonga as protection against novel coronavirus important into Tonga.

This latest Travel Advisory emphasizes the completion of the Traveler’s Arrival Health Declaration Card by all travelers arriving in Tonga.

It also outlines that international travelers originating from or transiting through China, – including Hong Kong, Macao, and Taipei – must spend at least 14 days self-quarantine outside of China and upon the completion of this period, the international travelers must obtain medical clearance (confirming travelers are free of symptoms of acute respiratory illness) at least 3 days prior to departure from the last port prior to entry into Tonga but this restriction will not apply to – Tongan citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members, and International travelers who have not been in China in the past 14 days of arriving in Tonga.

However those are exempt from this but have been in China within 14 days of their arrival in Tong are required to report to the Ministry of Health Border Control Team for health quarantine measures.

In addition to this, all international travelers who upon arrival in Tonga, reflect symptoms of COVID-19 as determined by the ministry of Health Border Control Team, will undergo health quarantine measures.

All international flights and vessels entering Tonga will be required to use Tongatapu as the first port of entry for border screening prior to re-routing to outer islands.

This travel advisory also strongly recommended that all persons intending to travel to China or any country affected by the COVID-19, postpone their travel arrangements unless necessary.

© Radio and Television Tonga News