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Tonga: Covid cases rising

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  • Tonga: Covid cases rising


    Tonga: Covid hits crucial Australian aid ship bound for tsunami-struck nation
    Published 3 hours ago

    A Covid outbreak has hit a crucial Australian relief ship which was bound for tsunami-stricken Tonga.

    Some 23 cases of Covid were recorded among the crew of the HMAS Adelaide, which left Australia on Friday.

    It comes as Tonga is desperately trying to prevent Covid from reaching its shores as more humanitarian aid begins arriving in the Pacific nation.

    Australia defence minister Peter Dutton has vowed not to put the Tongan population "at risk".

    The Australian Department of Defence said the HMAS Adelaide would continue making its way to Tonga as planned, and is due to arrive on Wednesday.

    It said in a statement that it would ensure its supplies were delivered in a "Covid-safe manner"...

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      Eruption-hit Tonga closes borders as COVID-19 detected
      Agence France-Presse / 10:24 AM February 02, 2022

      NUKU’ALOFA, Tonga — Volcano-devastated Tonga will close its borders Wednesday after Covid-19 was detected in the previously virus-free Pacific kingdom as it struggles to recover from last month’s deadly disaster, officials said.

      Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni said two men tested positive this week in the capital Nuku’alofa and were in isolation.

      He said the men had been working in the city’s port, where humanitarian aid has been pouring in from around the globe since the January 15 eruption...


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          Covid-19 in Tonga: NZ takes island country off quarantine-free travel list
          Sapeer Mayron20:47, Feb 14 2022

          Tonga has been removed from the Ministry of Health’s quarantine-free travel list following a growth in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country.

          The outbreak has swelled to 139, after 75 new cases were identified in the past three days. It comes after a tsunami and volcanic eruption hammered the island nation.

          Quarantine-free travel with the Kingdom began on November 8. Non-NZ citizens needed to be fully vaccinated...


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              'We want one disaster, not two': Tonga struggles to keep Covid at bay
              The Pacific nation, still reeling from a volcanic eruption and tsunami last month, is emerging from lockdown following its first outbreak of the pandemic.
              Feb. 21, 2022, 5:09 AM EST
              By Rhoda Kwan

              First came a volcanic eruption, blanketing Tonga’s main island in thick layers of ash that contaminated water sources. Then came a tsunami, which destroyed homes, left piles of debris and ripped out vegetation, stripping parts of the country’s smaller islands completely bare.

              Now, the South Pacific archipelago nation is emerging from lockdown amid its first coronavirus outbreak, compounding the disasters that took place last month.

              “It happened so fast, and the general atmosphere of the people here is panic,” Seko Vaipulu, a resident in Malapo, a small village on the main island of Tongatapu, said shortly after the lockdown was announced Feb. 2, saying he “felt like a prisoner.”

              Like many other remote countries in the Pacific Ocean — a strategically important region where the U.S. and China are vying for influence — Tonga had largely kept the virus off its shores for much of the Covid-19 pandemic, thanks to border restrictions and quarantine requirements. But the volcanic eruption and the resulting tsunami on Jan. 15 have raised fears that the arrival of international disaster aid could bring the virus with it.

              “We want one disaster, not two disasters at the same time,” said Drew Havea, vice president of the Tonga Red Cross Society.

              Lockdown restrictions eased starting Monday, with retail businesses moving to reopen as officials consider next steps. A curfew remains in place from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., and in-person classes remain suspended.

              The sudden lockdown this month came as no surprise to some Tongans, who have been watching the rising cases in neighboring island nations with concern.

              Kiribati, Samoa and the Solomon Islands have all had lockdowns recently after the virus breached their borders. The Cook Islands reported its first virus case Feb. 13, a month after it reopened its border to quarantine-free travel from New Zealand.

              The outbreak in Tonga, driven by the more transmissible omicron variant, has grown quickly. The nation reported 24 new cases on Friday, bringing its total for the pandemic to 234...