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29 Nov 2021

First Covid-19 case in Tonga confirmed as it enters first lockdown since pandemic began

First Covid-19 case in Tonga confirmed as it enters first lockdown since pandemic began

First Covid-19 case in Tonga confirmed as it enters first lockdown since pandemic began (Image: Shutterstock)

More than 19 months since the pandemic began, Tonga has recorded its first Covid-19 case and is preparing to enter a national lockdown for the very first time. 

Tonga is a Polynesian country located 2,382km from New Zealand with a population of 105,000 residents.

The confirmed Covid-19 case was brought into the country from New Zealand, and the individual was doubly vaccinated and tested negative twice during the journey. 

After the Covid case was confirmed last week, the country's prime minister Pohiva Tu'i'onenoa announced the possibility of a potential lockdown but government officials were hesitant to act too quickly. 

In a press conference today, Pohiva Tu'i'onenoa announced the country will enter its first 7-day lockdown at midnight on Monday, November 1.

It is understood there is a high uptake of vaccines in Tonga since the first Covid-19 case entered the country.

Prior to the lockdown announcement, 1/3 of Tonga residents were vaccinated. 

New Zealand is also experiencing a surge of Covid cases and has imposed restrictions in the last number of weeks, having spent many months of the pandemic restriction-free.

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