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Passengers leaving Tonga must provide a Covid-19 test

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 23/09/2020

The Health Director says, there is very little chance for the repatriated passengers to have COVID-19 after their 14-days quarantine period as they were repatriated from countries with no community transmission.

Dr. Siale ‘Akau’ola during a press conference yesterday says, this is the reason why the Ministry decided to add another extra week to the 14-days quarantine period in order for them to be able to closely monitor the passengers’ situation.

The concern is because a man in New Zealand this week was confirmed to have COVID-19 after completing his 14-days of quarantine.

However, Siale says, so far – the government has only repatriated stranded citizens from countries with no community transmission.

The extra seven-days, according to Siale, is to ensure passengers stay at home and would be easier for the Ministry to trace their close contacts. However, Siale says, the chance for these passengers to have COVID-19 is very small.

Dr. ‘Akau’ola also elaborated on the need for those travelling outside of the country to carry out COVID-19 tests, despite Tonga being COVID-19 free.

Siale says, when a country starts repatriating citizens, then there is a risk for COVID-19 to be present as these passengers have flown in from COVID-19 hotspots, transited in various airports before arriving in their respective countries and that is the same reason why Tonga requires those repatriated from COVID-19 free countries including Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands to be tested for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the next repatriation flight is expected for next month from Christchurch, New Zealand.

© Radio and Television Tonga News

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