Owners leave cargoes from NZ unclaimed at wharf in Tonga in fear of Covid infection, says CEO

    The first shipment of aid sent to Tonga by New Zealand community members and businesses is finally being unpacked after completing mandatory quarantine on Tongatapu. Photo/Aotearoa Tonga Relief Committee

    Dozens of owners and customers have not picked up their goods donated by their families and relatives in New Zealand in fear that that could be a chance for them to contract the Omicron virus.

    The situation prompted Customs CEO Kelemete Vahe to issue a notice this morning, urging customers to collect their cargoes as soon as they can.

    Vahe said these goods can attract charges and liabilities if they continue to stay unclaimed at the wharf.

    Vahe told radio FM 87.5 all front liners at the wharf had been tested and their results yesterday had been negative.

    Vahe said he appreciated some people’s behaviours at the wharf which showed a high level of following hand hygiene practices. He said some people came with their own pen to sign off their cargoes meaning they did not want to use pens which had been made available by his staff.

    Tonga’s current outbreak numbers were 139 cases with 133 cases on Tongatapu and six cases on Vava’u.

    Auckland’s Tongan community sent 51 shipping containers with $1.6 million of food and groceries following Tonga’s volcanic eruption and fatal tsunami.

    The containers were filled with close to five thousand individual pieces of drums and boxes.

    They arrived last week in the kingdom and were being released to the public.

    More aid from New Zealand was on its way to Tonga.

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