Tonga Covid outbreak: 56 new cases; urgent building of isolation facility at Hu’atolitoli prison as more inmates test positive

Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku

Tonga has 14 new cases in the community and 17 new cases at Hu’atolitoli prison.

There are 25 new cases at MIQs which were passengers on flights from overseas.

Prime Minister Hu’akavameiliku said the total number of active cases is 195.

He said on Monday 14 we had 139 active cases and today, Thursday 17, that number rises to 195 active cases. The difference between these two numbers of active cases amounted to 56 new active cases.

The Prime Minister said seven cases had been released from MIQs and six cases had been recovered taking the total number of cases since the outbreak to 208. He said deducting that 13 cases from 208 leaves us with the total number of 195 active cases.

Hon Hu’akavameiliku said all six positive cases previously recorded on Vava’u eventually tested negative.

The Minister of Health Saia Piukala said there are 14 new community cases.

He said the total number of positive cases at Hu’atolitoli prison was 30 and the prisoners contracted the virus through a warden.

He said 11 front line health officials tested positive.

Hon Piukala said the 25 cases from overseas at the MIQs appear to be people who had been at the “tail-end” of their infection.

Hon Piukala said the active cases showed no serious illness except two cases at Mu’a MIQ, with one who suffered a ruptured appendix while the other was having a boil.

Health Chief Officer Dr Siale ‘Akau’ola confirmed during the press conference this morning all passengers arriving from Fiji this week tested negative.

The transmission at Hu’atolitoli prison affected some prisoners and wardens.

The Minister of Prison Samiu Vaipulu said a new facility was currently being built at the prison today to cater for the positive cases.

Hon Vaipulu said two builders who were building the facility tested positive but they were asymptomatic.

The Prime Minister’s press conference this morning was emotional with the Minister of Health and the Minister of Prison trying to compose themselves while trying to respond to some questions from the media.

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