Tonga still waiting for vital components for virus testing, says closed borders best option

    The Minister of Health told Parliament yesterday Tonga does not have the right equipment and enough personal protective equipment to fight against Covid-19.

    Hon. Dr. ‘Amelia Afuha’amango said testing devices for the Covid 19 has arrived in Tonga but other equipment was needed.

    The World Health Organisation expects to have more batches of Covid-19 testing equipment delivered by the end of the week.

    More GeneXpert Cartridges had been delivered, but the batch of control kits destined for the Cook Islands, Nauru, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tuvalu and Wallis and  Futuna was only 80% complete.

    The testing equipment can be used once the additional material arrives.

    The Minister said if 10 or 20 even 100 people were infected at the same time the equipment would run out of kits within two weeks.

    He said there was a worldwide shortage of PPE.

    The best option at this stage was for Tonga to continue closing down its border.

    Talks had been held with New Zealand and Australian High Commissioners to see if Tongans coming through their countries to Tonga could be quarantined there before proceeding to Tonga.

    Tonga received a US$6 million boost to its Covid-19 responses from the Asian Development Bank last month.

    The Tonga government said the assistance would help upgrade Tongan healthcare facilities.

    The main points

    • The Minister of Health told Parliament yesterday Tonga does not have the right equipment and enough personal protective equipment to fight against Covid-19.
    • She said testing devices for the Covid 19 has arrived in Tonga but other equipment was needed.

    For more information

    ADB boosts Covid-19 response in Tonga and Samoa

    COVID-19: Pacific Community Updates

    WHO Joint External Situation Report#15 –16 May 2020

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