Prime Minister announces good news on virus test, reiterates WHO advice on personal hygiene during Covid-19 pandemic

Ko e ‘otiō ‘o hono fuofua fakahā fakapule’anga ‘e he ‘Eiki Palēmia ‘o Tonga’ ‘a e fuofua keisi mahalo’i ‘a Tonga he vailasi kolona’

This is a translation of an audio recording provided by the office of Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa. It is provided as a statement of record of Hon. Tu’i’onetoa’s public statements.

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When the Prime Minister went on air to announce the result of a test of the first suspected case in the kingdom earlier this month, he said: “I am happy to announce to all Tongans the latest news of a result of a test of a sample taken from the first person in Tonga to be suspected of showing symptoms of COVID-19 or coronavirus on March 4.”  

On March 8 the Ministry of Health received a report of the results from the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory in Australia, which showed the tests were negative or non-reactive.

“It shows the woman did not contract the COVID-19 disease,” Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa said.

The WHO had advised that two tests must be conducted on any case tested for coronavirus, he said.

“As such, we have sent another sample to New Zealand for reaffirmation tests.”

“We hope the results will arrive on March 9 and that’s when we can conclude whether she was really infected or not.”

Apart from this good news the woman was still being treated and taken care of while she was recovering, he said.

“It was pleasing to hear that her conditions were improved.”

“I warn the nation that there was still a great opportunity for the coronavirus to affect Tonga.

The advice from the WHO was that people should wash their hands after they were in contact with somebody else.

Keep at distances of two or more metres apart with somebody else.  

Hold your nose and mouth if you are coughing with tissues.

Anybody who was sick or coughing or had flu should stay home and contact their doctor.

If you have family or friends overseas, contact and tell them not to come home until they had been isolated for 14 days.  

WHO has provided Tonga with 30 Infrared Thermomat devices for the airport and Hospital. This would make it easier to screen people to see if they were sick easier, Hon Tu’i’onetoa said.

He said the government had imported Personal Protective Equipment which they expected to start arriving on March 9

The Taliai camp had been set up as a quarantine camp, he said.  

The test for the disease could not be done in Tonga because they needed to be done in a levels two or three laboratory, he said. Local facilities were at level one.

The Prime Minister thanked WHO for their assistance to make the people were safe and sound.  

He thanked the CEO of Ministry of Health, doctors, and staff at the frontlines who undertook to look after people because of the COVID-19 disease.

The helps you have for our workers would be a great effort in supporting what they did.

Hon Tu’i’onetoa also thanked Japan for its help at this time of difficulties.

The safety and protection of Tonga from COVID-19 would depend on working together and obeying the rule and laws announced by the Ministry of Health, the Prime Minister said.  

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