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Discussions underway by Tonga and NZ government for a direct flight from Christchurch

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 10/09/2020

About 140 – 150 passengers are expected to be repatriated from New Zealand next month.

The MEIDECC Minister this morning told Radio Tonga news that those who will be repatriated are seasonal workers from Christchurch alone because of the current COVID-19 situation in Auckland, New Zealand.

Hon. Poasi Tei says, they are currently monitoring the situation in Auckland and hence, why Christchurch is the main focus now for seasonal workers there.

Poasi adds, it has been months now since some of the Tongan women seasonal workers have wanted to come back but cannot due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in Auckland and now they are on the priority list for those expected to return next month.

Discussions are now underway with New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also Air New Zealand for a direct flight from Christchurch to Tonga for those that will be returning home next month.

All quarantine expenses for those repatriated from New Zealand next month, will be paid for by the government.

The government is also looking at repatriating seasonal workers in Australia once their borders are open, with Brisbane the main focus as there are no community transmission there.

Poasi says, the government is carrying out discussions with the government of Australia if they could allow Tongans there to spend 14 days of quarantine there before returning home for their 7days home quarantine period.

However, the issue will be finalized during a Cabinet meeting tomorrow.

© Radio and Television Tonga News