An Australian navy ship carrying aid arrived in Tonga on Wednesday, a day after Australia’s defense minister said 23 people on board had tested positive for coronavirus.
Sione Hufanga, the United Nations spokesman for the remote Pacific nation, said the ship HMAS Adelaide docked in Tonga on Wednesday evening.
“It’s in front of me now,” he said. No one has entered the vessel and its cargo is being unloaded by machinery, he added.
Two weeks ago, Tonga was The world’s largest volcanic eruption in decades, and a tsunami ensued. The country has melted to ashes and submerged, complicating efforts to deliver aid, especially on remote islands.
At least three people have been killed and the scale of the disaster continues to draw attention, in part due to the eruption that has divided the country. only connection to the internet. The outbreak on board the Australian ship is raising fears that aid workers may inadvertently bring the virus to Tonga, which reported its first case in October.
Japan’s national broadcaster reported on Wednesday that the country’s Defense Ministry had suspended its aid mission to Tonga because some members of the Japan Air Self-Defense Force had transferred aid to Tonga since then. on Saturday from a base in Australia – was tested positive for the virus.
Tonga requires incoming travelers to be quarantined for 21 days, and about 60% of the country’s population has received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Australia’s foreign affairs, defense and international development ministers said in a joint statement on Wednesday that HMAS Adelaide had arrived in Tonga carrying helicopters, technical equipment and medical and humanitarian supplies. . They said they were “implementing a completely contactless distribution of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief supplies.”
Peter Dutton, Australia’s Defense Minister, was said at a press conference on Tuesday that 23 people on board the ship who tested positive for the virus were quarantined.
“Under no circumstances will we compromise the health and well-being of the Tongans, who have made a joint effort to fight the virus,” he said.
Tonga has a population of about 100,000 people. Its geographical isolation – the country’s main island 1,100 miles northeast of New Zealand – has largely helped it contain the coronavirus outbreak.
The country’s only Covid pandemic case came from a person who arrived in October on a commercial flight from Christchurch, New Zealand.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/25/world/asia/tonga-aid-ship-covid.html Australian aid ship docked in Tonga with a violent outbreak