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The government will bring the first batch of stranded Tongans from Fiji starting next week, the Tonga Prime Minister Pōhiva Tu’i’onetoa has confirmed to Kaniva News Friday.
He said the flight will return medical doctors with their families as well as Tongan students in Fiji.
He said more repatriation flights will follow through which will allow the return of thousands of stranded Tongans and seasonal workers from New Zealand.
Tu’i’onetoa said the repatriation flights from New Zealand will start no later than the first week of August.
He said there were growing concerns about Tongan fruit pickers in New Zealand during the Covid-19 crisis.
He said Tonga will still have closed borders to international passenger flights.
“First the difference between closed border and repatriation flights should be made clear,” the Prime Minister told Kaniva News.
“Tonga’s boarders were still closed to any international passenger flights from other countries except for the repatriation flights for Tongans who wanted to return.”
He said Tonga is still Covid-19 Free because of the closure of its borders.
“But this is the beginning of returning of Tongan stranded overseas,” he said.
“Some countries like New Zealand complain about some Tongan Seasonal Workers.”
The Prime Minister reportedly said “the government is looking at an emergency plan after talks with New Zealand High Commissioner to Tonga Wednesday.”
“Every passenger will be screened three days before leaving New Zealand and go through two weeks’ quarantine in Tonga until it’s safe for them to go home,” he told PMN.
This afternoon’s news comes after he told Parliament last week that the plan to open the border for incoming passengers between New Zealand and Tonga this week was deferred.
He also told the House the government has received two equipment required for screening of Covid-19 patients and that’s meant Tonga was in a better position in its attempt to make sure Covid-19 could not enter the country
SOURCE: KANIVA TONGA NEWS/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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