Tonga closes borders amid coronavirus fears

Tonga is banning travellers from outside the country in an unprecedented move to seal its borders amid the coronavirus crisis.

A Ministry of Health statement shows all aircraft expected to arrive in Tonga today Monday 23 until Saturday 28 had been cancelled in a bit to prevent COVID-19 spreading to the kingdom.

Tonga has no confirmed case of coronavirus.

When Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa announced on Friday Tonga was in a state of emergency over coronavirus pandemic he told reporters the government was raising the alert to another level.

The government previously said it was too early to make a decision to close down its borders due to various reasons including shifting of pharmaceutical products from overseas countries.

“This diversion order is issued on the basis that I have reasonable grounds to believe that it is necessary to divert the above-mentioned conveyances (aircrafts) to a place outside the Kingdom to prevent the introduction, or spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) which is an Emergency Notifiable Condition under the Declaration of an Emergency Notifiable Condition issued on 12 March 2020, and Gazetted on 13 March 2020, or other significant threat to Public Health of the Kingdom as specified under the Declaration of Public Health Emergency on 12 March 2020, and Gazetted on 13 March 2020,” the Ministry of Health CEO said in statement.

“Pursuant to the authority conferred upon me under section 117(1) and (2)(c)(i) of the Public Health Act, I hereby order the following conveyances (aircrafts) to be diverted to a place outside the Kingdom:

  1. Name of conveyance (aircraft): Fiji Airways (FJ211)

Expected Date of Arrival: 23/03/2020

  1. Name of the conveyance (aircraft): Air New Zealand (NZ 270)

Expected Date of Arrival: 23/03/2020

  1. Name of the conveyance (aircraft): Talofa Airlines (TA 407)

Expected Date of Arrival: 23/03/2020

  1. Name of the conveyance (aircraft): Virgin Australia (VA 95)

Expected Date of Arrival: 24/03/2020

  1. Name of the conveyance (aircraft): Fiji Airways (FJ211)

Expected Date of Arrival: 24/03/2020

  1. Name of the conveyance (aircraft): Virgin Australia (VA 61)

Expected Date of Arrival: 24/03/2020

  1. Name of the conveyance (aircraft): Virgin Australia

Expected Date of Arrival: 26/03/2020

  1. Name of the conveyance (aircraft): Talofa Airlines (TA 407)

Expected Date of Arrival: 26/03/2020

  1. Name of the conveyance (aircraft): Fiji Airways (FJ211)

Expected Date of Arrival: 26/03/2020

  1. Name of the conveyance (aircraft): Virgin Australia (VA 61)

Expected Date of Arrival: 26/03/2020

  1. Name of the conveyance (aircraft): Air New Zealand (NZ974)

Expected Date of Arrival: 26/03/2020

  1. Name of the conveyance (aircraft): Air New Zealand (NZ 270)

Expected Date of Arrival: 27/03/2020

  1. Name of the conveyance (aircraft): Fiji Airways (FJ213)

Expected Date of Arrival: 28/03/2020

  1. Name of the conveyance (aircraft): Fiji Airways (FJ211)

Expected Date of Arrival: 28/03/2020

  1. Name of the conveyance (aircraft): Air New Zealand (NZ 974)

Expected Date of Arrival: 28/03/2020″

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