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First repatriation flight arrived with 58 passengers

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 13/07/2020

The first repatriation flight from Fiji arrived this afternoon at the Fua’amotu International Airport, carrying 58 passengers. The flight departed Nausori this morning.

The Health Minister – Dr. ‘Amelia Tu’ipulotu during a press conference this morning says, the 58 passengers have all been tested negative in Fiji, as part of Tonga’s policy before allowing them to board the flight.

The Minister thanked Fiji’s Government for offering these passengers to be tested for free while in Fiji as this was the main reason why the flight was delayed from last week, because Fiji’s policy does not require outgoing passengers to be tested for COVID-19.

However, about 30 of the passengers are returning doctors, nurses, and their families along with government employees who were stranded in Fiji, also students who have completed their studies.

Meanwhile, the chief medical officer of the public health division – Dr. Reynold ‘Ofanoa says, talked about how these passengers will be screened for COVID-19. Reynold says, a health team will check their temperatures at the airport and if anyone will be found with CoViD-19 symptoms, they will be isolated.

These passengers will be COVID-19 tested once they arrive at the quarantine facility at Tanoa hotel, also on the 14th day of their stay, before they will be allowed home to their families. Once home, they will be self-quarantined for an extra seven days in Tongatapu before passengers returning to the outer islands will be allowed to return there.

Dr Siale ‘Akau’ola said the Fiji Airways crew on this flight were the airline’s domestic aircrew who had not been in contact with any COViD-19 cases and were considered low risk.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister – Dr. Pohiva Tu’ionetoa told Radio Tonga news the flight from the Solomon Islands is also expected to arrive this week, as the reason for its delay was to allow some time for government officials and frontliners to deal with the passengers from Fiji first.

However, today’s flight is expected to return to Fiji, with Fijians who were stranded in the country.

© Radio and Television Tonga News