King Tupou VI. Photo/Livestream (TBC)

“We are thankful our nation is still safe,” His Majesty King Tupou VI said today.

His Majesty was speaking this morning during a livestreamed address to mark the opening of the 2020/20121 Parliamentary session.

He said that while the kingdom was coping with the threat of Covid-19, it had also faced the devastation caused by Cyclone Harold.

“Disasters such as cyclones do not wait until we find a solution for Covid-19 before they hit,” the king said.

“It is we human beings who have to prepare for when the disaster comes. We have to protect ourselves.”

His Majesty said most nations were in lockdown, cities were quiet and families were  staying in their houses.

Passenger flights had been banned, workplaces were closed and many lives had been lost and the economy declined. This was the effect of Covid-19.

In Tonga Cyclone Harold had caused great damage to the tourism industry, with resorts in Hihifo, Ha’apai , and ‘Eua  badly affect6ed.

“Harold demolished wharves and seaside residences. Such disasters are expected to hit stronger in the future,” the king said.

The environment and crops had been damaged and there appeared to be a famine.

‘We have to do something to overcome the hardship that came with the disasters,” His Majesty said.

“People who can work to overpower difficulties have no laziness and sleeping in their agenda. Their families trust them, they are fearless and they are prudent, when cyclones come, or power outages, lack of water supply, or running out of petrol they have already filled their lamps like the clever nuns.

“We need the Parliament to work together in the future and build the nation for the benefit of the people. We appreciate the aid from overseas countries to help protect the people and we have to prepare to face the changes brought by the Covid-19, which affected our source of livelihood,  the country’s economy, tourism, sports, and communications.”

Despite the devastation caused by Covid-19 round the world, there have been no confirmed cases in Tonga.

However, as Kaniva News reported earlier, the state of emergency will be reviewed on May 15. In the meantime, a night time curfew remains in force, although some restrictions have been lifted.

New Zealand

Meanwhile, Tongans living in New Zealand will be able to enjoy greater freedom of  movement when the country moves to Level Two.

The New Zealand government will make an announcement about whether it will further ease restrictions on Monday.

The government has made it clear it will act according to the best medical advice available on whether it is safe to do so.

However, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the move did not mean the virus had been eliminated and there would still be some restrictions.

“It is very unlikely we have hunted down every case of Covid-19,” she said.

“So we all have to stay on guard.”

The main points

  • “We are thankful our nation is still safe,” His Majesty King Tupou VI said today.
  • His Majesty was speaking this morning during a livestreamed address to mark the opening of the 2020/20121 Parliamentary session.

For more information

Covid-19 coronavirus: What will life look like under alert level 2

Emergency restrictions eased in Tonga

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