April 17 curfew extension outrages kava drinkers who ask why schools can stay open

Night time curfews remain in force across Tonga until April 17 – and the kingdom’s kava drinkers are not happy.

The government set new rules governing public behaviour to help stop the spread of Covid-19 that came into force on Sunday.

Under the rules, the boarders will remain closed and there is a night time curfew from 8pm to 6am.

Liquor licensed night clubs and clubs must close

All public facilities, events and gatherings such as a religious, kava clubs, bingo, sports clubs, gyms, sporting events and activities, celebrations of birthdays, marriages and other recreational or related gatherings are prohibited.

Kava clubs are defined as two or more people consuming kava at a public location; or a group of two or more people consuming kava at a private location.

These restrictions do not apply to people living in the same household.

The Ministry of Health said the government made its decision based on the fact Tonga was still Covid-15 free. 

Tongan schools were closed in March and were due to remain closed until April 14.

The government’s restrictions have outraged kava drinkers.

Kava drinkers have asked why kava clubs and clubs are being shut down when schools were allowed to stay open.

Drinkers told Kaniva News kava session and clubs  were major fundraisers for parents to help pay for their children’s school expenses.

They asked how rules on social distancing could be followed on school buses and inside the classrooms.

They said it would be hard for teachers to watch the  children.

Funeral gatherings remain restricted to a total of 10 people indoors and 20 people outdoors with an authorised officer to be present throughout.

Australian aid

Meanwhile, Australia is providing Aus$12 million to help Tonga deal with the Covid-19 crisis.

A total of Aus$7 million will be supplied as budget support.

In addition, Australia is providing Aus$11 million spread over the 2019/20, 20020/.21 and 2021/22 financial years.

The Minister for Finance, Tevita Lavemaau and Australian High Commissioner to Tonga Adrian Morrison signed an agreement for the aid grant in Nuku’alofa today.

The main points

  • Night time curfews remain in force across Tonga until April 17 – and the kingdom’s kava drinkers are not happy.
  • The government set new rules governing public behaviour to help stop the spread of Covid-19 that came into force on Sunday.

For more information

National COVID-19 Restrictions Notice

http://www.gov.to/press-release/35647/

Arrangement between the Government of Tonga and the Government of Australia on budget support and assistance to combat COVID-19 and its impact

http://www.gov.to/press-release/arrangement-between-the-government-of-tonga-and-the-government-of-australia-on-budget-support-and-assistance-to-combat-covid-19-and-its-impact/

Schools shut in Tonga because of Covid-19\

https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/412618/schools-shut-in-tonga-because-of-covid-19

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