Government working out what to do with four cruise liners expected to arrive in Tonga

The Tongan government is still planning its response to the expected arrival of four cruise ships tomorrow.

One ship is expected to arrive in Neiafu, Vava’u and three in Nuku’alofa.

The town officer of Neiafu, Vāvā Lapota, said many countries in the world have closed their harbours to some cruise ships because of the corona virus epidemic. 

Television Tonga said they had contacted Tongan authorities about the cruise ships, but was told work was underway to determine what the government could do about the ships.

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

The Ministry of Health 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.

The expected arrival of the cruise ships comes as another 66 passengers onboard a luxury cruise liner quarantined in Japan have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the number of infected people on the ship to 136.

The Guardian reported that the infected passengers on the Diamond Princess included 45 people from Japan, 11 from the US, four from Australia, three from the Philippines and one each from Canada and Ukraine.

The vessel was quarantined when it arrived in Yokohama after it emerged that a passenger who had disembarked in Hong Kong had tested positive for the illness.

According to the BBC, 103 died in Hubei province in China on Monday. The brought the national death toll to 1016.

However, the number of new infections nationally was down almost 20% from the day before, from 3,062 to 2,478.

1918

In 1918 the passenger ship SS Talune docked in Neiafu during a voyage to Fiji, Samoa and Tonga from New Zealand.

The Talune brought the influenza virus to the kingdom  and killed between five to nine percent of the population.

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