No word on coronavirus test; WHO warns lack of protective gear endangers health workers

Tonga has yet to receive results of the suspected coronavirus sample sent to New Zealand.

And while Tonga waits, the World Health Organisation has warned that the shortage of masks and other protective equipment was putting the lives of health wormers at risk.

As Kaniva news reported earlier this week, Prime Minister Pohiva Tu‘i‘onetoa  confirmed that health authorities have identified the kingdom’s first suspected case of coronavirus.

The suspect is a 21 year-old Tongan woman who flew into the kingdom from Sydney. on Monday.

The woman had flu-like symptoms in Australia, but her symptoms became worse when she got to Tongatapu. The woman went to Vaiola Hospital last week where she was diagnosed with pneumonia.

Health authorities are looking for people the woman has had contact with in Tonga, as well as passengers on the aircraft she arrived on.

Risk

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation has confirmed that Tonga is one of 46 countries to receive additional supplies of personal protective equipment from the international body.

Other Pacific nations to receive help include Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

The WHO warned that severe and mounting disruption to the global supply of personal protective equipment– caused by rising demand, panic buying, hoarding and misuse – was putting lives at risk.

“Healthcare workers rely on personal protective equipment to protect themselves and their patients from being infected and infecting others,” the WHO said.

“But shortages are leaving doctors, nurses and other frontline workers dangerously ill-equipped to care for COVID-19 patients, due to limited access to supplies such as gloves, medical masks, respirators, goggles, face shields, gowns and aprons.”

Cruise ship ban

Weeks after Tonga turned away three cruise ships, Customary authorities in Wallis and Futuna have banned a planned visit by a German cruise ship to protect the population against the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

The cruise ship Soleal is scheduled to sail from French Polynesia via the Cook Islands, Samoa and Wallis to Fiji.

The main points

  • Tonga has yet to receive results of the suspected coronavirus sample sent to New Zealand.
  • As Kaniva news reported earlier this week, Prime Minister Pohiva Tu‘i‘onetoa  confirmed that health authorities have identified the kingdom’s first suspected case of coronavirus.

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