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Head of the Psychiatric Ward urges people to be more prepared

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 17/03/2020

Dr Mapa Puloka from the Psychiatric Ward at Vaiola Hospital has highlighted the importance for the public to be serious about the coronavirus that’s currently affecting countries around the world.

He emphasized the need for public to work together with the government officials to prepare now and not wait until an announcement is made should coronavirus reaches our shores.

“There’s a need for action and the time is now.”

He says people are treating the virus very lightly and there is a need to educate and inform the public about seriousness of the issue as covid 19 has claimed thousands of lives globally.

He strongly recommended for officials to impose a temporary ban on kava clubs and large gatherings.

Dr Puloka praised the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day-Saints for their decision to ban public gatherings.

He also hopes Tonga will carry out a national exercise drill in preparation for coronavirus including declaring a state of emergency, schools to be temporarily suspended for a week or two, where people can actively participate in supporting the work the government is carrying out and most importantly for the people to know what to do and necessary actions required.

He also highlighted the importance for the public to use social media wisely in terms of disseminating of information about the latest update on coronavirus as wrong information could create mental health problems.

The Health Ministry continues working with related stakeholders to address mental health issues during this period.

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