Tiny Island Nation Facing Lockdown After Reporting First COVID-19 Case Since Onset of Pandemic
15:02 GMT 30.10.2021 (Updated: 16:48 GMT 30.10.2021)
View north from Tonga
Around 32 percent of people in Tonga are fully vaccinated against coronavirus, while 49 percent have had at least one dose, according to Our World in Data.
The Pacific island nation of Tonga is staring down the barrel of a potential lockdown next week after reporting its first COVID-19 case since the onset of the pandemic – after a visitor from New Zealand tested positive on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Pohiva Tuionetoa warned that should the infection spread, the tiny nation of 106,000 people, namely the country's main island Tongatapu, would be locked down next week.
“The reason the lockdown won’t happen this weekend is because I have been advised that the virus will take more than three days to develop in someone who catches it before they become contagious. We should use this time to get ready in case more people are confirmed they have the virus,” Tuionetoa explained.
Up until now, the isolated kingdom was among only a handful of countries that have managed to maintain zero COVID-19 cases. Earlier this week, a tourist arrived in Tonga on a flight from Christchurch, New Zealand and later tested positive for the virus. According to the prime minister, the traveller was among 215 passengers who had arrived on the same flight and had quarantined in a hotel.
It's understood that the person had been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer jab, and New Zealand's Health Ministry stated that they had tested negative before taking off from Christchurch.
According to Our World in Data, some 32 percent Tongans are fully vaccinated against, while 49 percent have had at least one dose of a vaccine.