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Health Minister calls for cooperation in tackling spread of coronavirus

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 20/02/2020

The Health Minister says working together is the only way to tackle the spread of the coronavirus – Covid-19.

Dr. ‘Amelia Tu’ipulotu emphasized during a press conference yesterday the importance of cooperation in this time as this is the best way to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

The minister had just returned along with the Health Director from a World Health Organisation Executive Board meeting in Geneva, Switzerland where the WHO had urged member nations to stand together in addressing the new coronavirus outbreak.

Dr. Tu’ipulotu also announced aid from the WHO, in the form of hygiene and protective equipment that is arriving this week to assist in the health workers operations.

She also confirmed that the Tongan athletes evacuated from China to the UK remained in good health and were being well taken care of although she could not confirm details such as the accommodation.

Government are still undertaking measures to ensure the protection of the country and people from the importation of the virus but at the same time they are looking to strengthen existing facilities to serve as quarantine centers specifically for the coronavirus patients, in the event the virus arrives on our shores.

Meanwhile travel advisories for travelers arriving in Tonga are still in place while cruise ships scheduled to arrive in the near future will be closely monitored before being granted permission to visit.

However Dr. Tu’ipulotu was optimistic that with the current projection of the outbreak, these protective measures should begin to be loosen in a month or so, although there was also the possibility that it could last longer.

The minister advised that practicing hygienic lifestyle was a good way of ensuring protection from the virus.

She also addressed the issue of the rise in racist comments towards the Chinese and the wider Asian population since the outbreak, reminding the public that causing further division will not help to stop the spread of the coronavirus and it was more important that everyone stood together to stop the virus rather than turning our backs on each other.

© Radio and Television Tonga News