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Government changes plans for medical aid from China

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 1/04/2020

The Prime Minister has announced that the chartered flight scheduled to arrive in Tonga this Saturday with the stock of PPE supplies from China has been cancelled instead the Air Tahiti Nui flight will have to offload the supplies in Nadi, Fiji and will be shipped to Tonga on the earliest shipping vessel.

During the PM’s special program yesterday, Hon. Dr. Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa says, they’ve noticed majority of the people are strongly against this move as Tonga is still in the lockdown period and highly vulnerable to the virus, and it is not safe for the aircraft to land at the airport and especially it’s from China.

The Prime Minister says, Tonga still needs these supplies and changes have been made in order for it to reach our shores.

There are report of European governments having rejected Chinese-made equipment designed to combat the coronavirus outbreak including thousands of testing kits and medical masks as they are below standard or defective.

The Director of Health Dr. Siale ‘Akauola says the assistance is urgently needed by the Ministry especially the Personal Protective Equipment in the form of aprons, gloves and masks as health officials have been using the current stock of PPE in tending to the suspected cases of coronavirus.

He adds the WHO recommends these supplies to be used by health officials in Tonga.

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