Tonga declares Covid-19 confinement, 2nd after tsunami

Sydney, Australia, March 18 (EFE) .- Tonga declared Friday a weeklong confinement after registering a significant Covid-19 infection increase, the second isolation measure since it was hit in January by a tsunami caused by a volcanic eruption.

Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni announced this “strict” confinement from Sunday for the more than 105,000 inhabitants of the island nation, still recovering from the natural disaster that affected more than 85 percent of its population.

This second confinement, which follows a similar measure decreed in early February after the first Covid-19 outbreak since the start of the pandemic was detected, will be accompanied by a night curfew, Radio New Zealand reported.

Residents will only be able to leave the house to go to medical appointments or work on plantations during the day, while shops, including gas stations, must close.

The decreed measure comes after 273 new infections and two deaths were reported Friday, bringing the total number of deaths to four.

The nation, made up of 169 islands, has accumulated more than 2,500 infections, including more than 1,800 active cases, including the prime minister and members of his cabinet, and has administered two doses of the vaccine to 90 percent of its target population.

Tonga, which until the end of January had only registered one imported case of the virus, began to suffer the blow of the pandemic after the arrival of humanitarian aid in the country as a result of the Jan. 15 tsunami, resulting in three deaths.and a great destruction of houses and infrastructures.

In the process of recovering from the catastrophe, the government revealed this week its plan to relocate people who were forced to leave their islands after the eruption of an underwater volcano and the subsequent tsunami, the New Zealand station said.

The island nation, cut off for days after the natural disaster, recovered its communications and internet connection at the end of February by completing the repair of the submarine cable that links it to the outside world. EFE


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