First ever COVID-19 case reported in Tonga

  • Tonga’s government will announce on Monday whether the island will be placed under a national lockdown.
  • There was one COVID-19 case among 215 passengers who arrived from the city of Christchurch.
  • About 31 percent of Tonga’s population are fully vaccinated and 48 percent have had at least one dose.

Tongan officials announced that Tonga is no longer coronavirus-free after a passenger from a flight from Christchurch, New Zealand tested positive for COVID-19 virus.

This is the first COVID-19 infection recorded in the Polynesian kingdom since the beginning of the global coronavirus pandemic.

In today’s radio address, Tonga’s Prime Minister Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa confirmed that there was one COVID-19 case among 215 passengers who arrived from the city of Christchurch.

Tu’i’onetoa said the government was planning to make an announcement on Monday on whether a national lockdown will be imposed.

Meanwhile, the prime minister demanded all Tongans abide by physical distancing and to follow coronavirus-related regulations.

According to Tonga‘s health ministry’s chief executive Siale ‘Akau’ola, the health workers, police and the entire staff working at the Fua’amotu airport when the Christchurch flight arrived were placed under quarantine. He added that all those working near the flight had been vaccinated.

Christchurch flight passengers included seasonal workers and members of Tonga’s Olympic team.

Tonga is located northeast of New Zealand, and is home to about 106,000 people.

About 31% of Tongans are fully vaccinated and 48% have had at least one dose, according to research group Our World in Data.

Tonga is among the few remaining nations in the world that have avoided outbreaks of COVID-19. Like many of its neighbors, Tonga’s isolation has helped keep it safe but it faces big challenges should the virus take hold due to its under-resourced health system.

The nearby nation of Fiji avoided significant outbreaks until April, when the Delta variant of the coronavirus ripped through the island chain, infecting more than 50,000 people and killing at least 673.


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