Tonga lifts one-week Covid restrictions; declaring its community virus-free

    Tonga has lifted almost all of its coronavirus restrictions after reporting all health workers and airport employees working on front-line were tested negative.

    Health CEO Dr Siale ‘Akau’ola

    At 11.59 pm tonight local time, all of Tongatapu main island moved to what could be a level two, the second to lowest of a four-tier alert system being used in New Zealand.

    In announcing the lift the Prime Minister said the government after receiving advice from the Ministry of Health and Covid-19 National Committee agreed to lift the one-week restrictions because the front-line workers were cleared in their test.

    Police Commissioner Lord Fielakepa said the state of emergency which was previously renewed for another month to prevent the spread of COVID-19 would remain in force.

    Tongan health workers and airports employees working on front-line were cleared after tests showed they no longer posed a Covid risk, Dr ‘Akau’ofa told a press conference this afternoon attended by the Prime Minister and a team of government officials.

    They had been tested to make sure they did not breach the aircraft safety when the flight  arrived in Tonga on October 27, Dr ‘Akau’ola said.

    He said the series of tests recently carried out on the suspected case showed it was a historical case.

    Analysis of data from a series of test results showed the patient arrived in Tonga without infection, Dr ‘Akau’ola said.

    “It was not a new infection”, Dr ‘Akau’ola said.

    He confirmed the patient was tested positive in Tonga. He previously said it was a “weak positive case”.

    Since Tonga was still safe the Ministry treated him as a new case.

    He will remain at the Mu’a MIQ until his initial 21-day quarantine was over.

    Last week he said the person was tested positive the week before and tested negative on Monday last week.

    The Health Ministry chief executive Siale ‘Akau’ola said on Friday the person had recorded a very weak positive result which likely reflects a historical infection.

    He described the second positive result as “weaker than the first weak positive result”.



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