Tonga extends lockdown as Covid cases rise

Tonga has extended the lockdown in parts of the country, including the capital, until February 20, amid a growing coronavirus epidemic ...


Tonga has extended the lockdown in parts of the country, including the capital, until February 20, amid a growing coronavirus epidemic which began among aid workers helping the Pacific island nation recover from a volcanic eruption and tsunami last month.

The country recorded its 35th case of coronavirus on Wednesday, Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni’s office said. noted. Since Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai Volcano broke out on January 15 and aid deliveries began, Tonga has recorded 34 cases. Its only previously recorded case was in October last year, in a quarantined visitor.

Tongan authorities declared a nationwide lockdown on February 2 after two workers helping distribute aid shipments at the Tongan wharf in Nukuʻalofa, the capital, tested positive for the virus.

Residents of Tongatapu Island, which includes Nukuʻalofa, and Vavaʻu District, remain under a lockdown order with no access to public transport and a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. . In other parts of the archipelago, the lockdown has been lifted, the local news site Matangi Tonga reported Sunday.

Tonga’s disaster recovery has been complicated not only by a growing coronavirus outbreak, but also by an interrupted internet connection. Cable repairs may not be complete until late next week, The Associated Press reported Wednesday. Tonga main government website seemed to be down Wednesday night.

To help restore the island nation’s internet connection, a team from Elon Musk’s SpaceX has arrived in Tonga to install antennas connected to the company’s satellites, an official from neighboring Fiji has said.

“The shock wave from the Hunga Tonga volcano has shattered Tonga’s internet connection, adding days of heartbreaking uncertainty to disaster assessments,” said Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Fiji’s Attorney General, tweeted. “A SpaceX team is now in Fiji establishing a Starlink Gateway station to reconnect Tonga to the world.”

With the internet down and schools suspended, Tonga’s Department of Education will broadcast home-schooling programs via radio until the lockdown ends, the Tonga government has said.

Tonga will also distribute 20,000 pa’anga, or $8,800, in humanitarian aid in Tongatapu and 10,000 pa’anga, or $4,400, in Vava’u, as well as 100 pa’anga, or about $44, to each household to help pay electricity bills, the government added.

Tonga has fully vaccinated 88 percent of its population of approximately 107,000, and gave reminders to more than 2,000 people, according to official data. On Saturday, 10,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to be administered as a booster were due to arrive. And the UN children’s agency said it had provided 15,000 rapid antigen tests in Tonga.



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Newsrust - US Top News: Tonga extends lockdown as Covid cases rise
Tonga extends lockdown as Covid cases rise
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