After the Pacific island nation verified its first case of coronavirus on Friday, Tongans have been hurrying to get vaccinated.
The infection was discovered in a fully vaccinated person who had arrived from New Zealand on a repatriation aircraft.
Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa, Tonga’s Prime Minister, has warned that inhabitants on the main island of Tongatapu may be subjected to a lockdown next week.
Tonga was one of the latest countries to report an infection with Covid.
The island nation, located north-east of New Zealand, is home to around 100,000 inhabitants.
Only around a third of Tonga’s population has received all of their vaccinations. However, Afu Tei, the national immunisation coordinator, told the AFP news agency that thousands of people had shown up at vaccination centres to get their shots.
On a return aircraft from Christchurch, New Zealand, the infected person was one of 215 persons. Members of Tonga’s Olympic squad, who had been trapped in the city since the Tokyo Olympics, were among those on board.
The individual had tested negative before departing New Zealand, according to the health ministry.
However, authorities in Tonga said a positive result was obtained after a routine test on Thursday, which was conducted when the country was in mandatory controlled isolation.
The infected Tongan had got a second dosage of the vaccination in mid-October, according to Siale Akau’ola, chief executive of Tonga’s health ministry, and authorities were confident the person would not become very ill.
Prime Minister Tu’i’onetoa said he had been persuaded not to impose an immediate lockdown “because the virus takes more than three days to develop in someone who acquires it before they become contagious.”
“We should take advantage of this opportunity to prepare in case additional people test positive for the virus,” he continued.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, more than 246 million coronavirus cases have been reported worldwide since the pandemic began, with approximately 5 million Covid-related deaths.
Some Pacific island nations, such as Tuvalu, have yet to be infected by the virus.
Other nations, such as North Korea and Turkmenistan, have yet to record any cases, but specialists believe the virus is present, even though it hasn’t been formally proven.
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