A Tongan authority has allegedly banned a Chinese passenger from entering the country’s border last night amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Chinese man allegedly failed to show a declaration document to Health authority, who monitors incoming passengers at the Fua’amotu airport, to prove he had been health-checked overseas before boarding a Virgin Australia aircraft, a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Kaniva News.

It is unclear at which destination did the passenger originally board the aircraft.

He was one of more than 100 passengers arriving from New Zealand and Australia on Virgin Australia VA61 AKL TBU which landed in Tongatapu yesterday February 13.

The Acting Minister of Health Poasi Tei responded to our request for comment saying he has cc’d (copied) his Ministry of Health Acting CEO “so he could respond and clarify it to us.”

The Tongan government has imposed a range of travel restrictions and medical requirements in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Ministry of Health previously said all travellers entering the kingdom must complete and submit a Health Declaration Card.

All travellers originating or having transited through China must spend 14 days in self-quarantine at the last port that is free of the coronavirus and obtain a medical clearance within three days of their departure to Tonga.

According to the Aljazeera,China on Thursday removed the top political leadership in Hubei, the province at the centre of the escalating coronavirus outbreak, shortly after health officials there reported 242 people died from the virus on Wednesday – more than twice the number of the previous day and the highest daily toll since the outbreak began. This has raised the death toll to 1,367. 

The province and its capital Wuhan where the infection now known as COVID-19 is thought to have originated in late December also reported more than 14,800 new cases of the infection after adopting new clinical methods to diagnose the virus.

The number of infected across China rose to 59,805.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says it is seeking “further clarity” from China about the changes to how cases of the virus are being confirmed.

China has been accused of suppressing the full extent of the outbreak in the past, says the BBC’s Nick Beake in Hong Kong.

David Heymann, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “What has happened in China is that they have changed the definition of what the disease really is – now they are taking people who have lesser symptoms.

“The deaths are quite worrisome, there is an increased number of deaths reported, but if you look overall at the total number of deaths and the total number of cases, the fatality ratio is about the same as it has been – but it is still high, as high as the death rate in influenza.”

Only Hubei province – which accounts for more than 80% of overall Chinese infections – is using the new definition to diagnose new cases

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