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Tonga to access Covid-19 vaccine by December 2021

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 22/07/2020

Tonga is among countries in the Pacific that will benefit from a COVID-19 vaccine that will be produced and available by the end of next year, in December 2021.

During a press conference this morning, the Health Minister – Dr. ‘Amelia Tu’ipulotu says, she joined a video conference yesterday with health experts from 209 countries across the world on the issue where experts from the Pacific requested 3 million doses of the vaccine, which will be relayed to the WHO Director General’s office in Geneva, Switzerland in close cooperation with the Regional Director.

Amelia says, members of the conference were able to classify high income countries, middle income countries and low income countries which includes Tonga and Pacific countries where those from wealthier countries could afford the vaccine while also assisting those from the poorer countries.

The Minister adds, the manufacturing of a vaccine usually takes five to ten years however, health experts around the world are working at a fast pace to be able to produce a vaccine as soon as possible to be able to put an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. The vaccines will be distributed to each country according to their respective populations.

Tonga is one of few countries in the world that is still COVID-19 free with the first repatriated passengers currently isolated at the Tanoa hotel.

The Acting Deputy Police Commissioner – ‘Atunaisa Taumoepeau says, so far no arrests have been made since the Vuna road was closed to the public last week with ‘Atunaisa urging the public to comply with the restrictions imposed.

The concern is because drones were seen yesterday evening at Tano’a and ‘Atunaisa reminded the public that under the Civil Aviation Act, drones are prohibited from the area, during this time, whether on ground or aerial purposes.

The 57 passengers at Tano’a will be released next week after the results of their third tests are received and they will be released to their respective homes BUT will still be monitored daily for an extra week.

© Radio and Television Tonga News