Tonga gov’t 3-day quarantine of “All international Cargo” stirs online debate

Kamata 'aneafi ta'ofi 'oua na'a tuku ange 'i ha 'aho tolu e koloa kotoa 'oku uta atu mei muli' ki Tonga'. Ko e taumu'a' ke kolonitini tu'unga he Kōviti-19. Hoha'a e kakai' pe ko e hā kuo toki fai ai he taimi ni ka ne 'ikai pehē mei he kamata'anga' taimi ne kei lahi ai e mahaki' mo loka fakamavahe'i e kakai' 'i Nu'u Sila'.

A decision by the Tu’i’onetoa government to quarantine all international cargo which arrived in the kingdom has fuelled a debate among Tongans on social media.

The sudden restrictions came into effect yesterday November 16.

Shipping containers at Queen Sālote Wharf. Photo/Kalino Lātū

“3 Days Quarantine of International Cargo unloaded at Queen Salote International Wharf and Halaevalu international wharf,” a press release by the Minister of Infrastructure said.

It said all international cargo arriving in Tongatapu and Vava’u “must be quarantined for three days before releasing to agencies.”

Since there was no further information by the government to explain why the decision was made, online users took to Facebook to share their concerns.

“Don’t know why they do it. If there will be any virus coming with the cargo they will automatically be cleared while the ship was at sea,” a commenter said.

Critics of the decision said they were concerned about the safety and security of their goods sent to their family while they would be controlled at the wharf during this three-day quarantine.

“Why now?” another commenter said implying the government should have done it before and while New Zealand went into lockdown.

Some commenters believed the government made the decision after China has claimed yesterday it’s found Covid-19 on food products imported from New Zealand.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has rejected the claim.

Experts said the virus can survive within refrigerated environments and can live for a time on surfaces outside the human body.

China has reported instances of the coronavirus being detected on the packaging of imported frozen seafood.

“In July China claimed that it had detected the virus in the outer packaging of frozen shrimp from Ecuador, as well as the container walls housing the seafood. However, subsequent tests cleared the food itself of carrying the virus.”

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