Tonga has been removed from the Ministry of Health’s quarantine-free travel list following an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country.
The outbreak has risen to 139, after 75 new cases were identified in the past three days. It comes after a tsunami and volcanic eruption hit the island nation.
Quarantine-free travel with the Kingdom began on November 8. Non-New Zealand citizens had to be fully vaccinated.
The eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano on January 15 filmed.
Starting Tuesday, February 15, travelers will be required to take a RAT on days zero and five and are not required to self-isolate unless they test positive.
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Anyone arriving on and after February 22 will be required to self-isolate for seven days upon arrival and undergo a RAT test on days zero and five.
“Aotearoa New Zealand is committed to continuing to support Tonga in its response to Covid-19, including through vaccine support.
“I also want to acknowledge the efforts of the Tonga government to keep its community safe at this time,” Chief Health Officer Ashley Bloomfield said.
At a press conference on Monday, Tongan Health Minister Dr Saia Piukala said the youngest case in the outbreak was 5 months old and the oldest was 63, according to a news site. local. Matangi Tonga reported.
Of the 139 cases, 133 were in Tongatapu and six in Vava’u.
Some new cases were at Hu’atolitoli prison – four guards and one prisoner – and some were frontline workers at Variola Hospital.
All positive cases to date have been vaccinated, Piukala said.
“A positive case required oxygen due to his asthma and he is fine,” he said. Others had mild symptoms like fever, runny nose and cough.
Recovered cases were released from quarantine.
“A person with the Delta variant can pass it on to one to three other people, while a person with the Omicron variant can pass it on to seven or eight people,” Piukala said.
Tonga’s Covid outbreak began after a devastating volcanic eruption and tsunami in January.
Three people died and hundreds of homes were destroyed.
On February 14, the World Bank said the devastation caused $90.4 million in damage (NZ$136.4 million), with Tongatapu bearing more than two-thirds of the damage.
It accounts for approximately 18.5% of Tonga’s gross domestic product.
In the first comprehensive report on the aftermath of the tsunami, the World Bank found that around 85,000 people in Tonga were affected by the disaster, with the worst occurring in Tongatapu, ‘Ea and the Ha’apai group, which are the nation’s most insular. populated islands.
Tongatapu alone has approximately US$69 million in damages (NZ$104 million).
The report found that a total of 600 structures, about half of which were residential buildings, were damaged or destroyed, costing some $43.7 million in damage.
It also revealed that 85% of farming households were affected in some way, costing an estimated US$20.9 million in damage to lost crops and damage to the shallow reef.
Damage to roads, causeways, power, port/marine and water supply infrastructure and submarine cable is estimated to cost $20.9 million, and ash cleanup alone is expected to cost $5 million.
The island nation went into nationwide lockdown in early February after two port workers tested positive for the virus.
Vaccination rates are high in Tonga, but around 1,344 people are still unvaccinated.
They represent approximately 1.2% of the population of 105,697 people.
At a press conference on February 10, Tonga’s Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni said five samples sent overseas confirmed the variant on the islands was Omicron.