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26 Apr 2020 | 01:34 AM UTC

Tonga: Authorities extend COVID-19 restrictions until May 1 /update 7

Tonga News Alert

Tongan authorities extend national COVID-19 restrictions until May 1; follow authority directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 4/26/2020, 12:00 AM until 5/8/2020, 10:59 PM (Pacific/Tongatapu). COUNTRY/REGION Tonga

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On Friday, April 24, Prime Minister Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa announced the extension of nationwide restrictions in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for a further week through to Friday, May 1. The restrictions include a national curfew from 21:00 to 05:00 (local time). Nightclubs, bars, gyms, and other recreational establishments will remain closed and large gatherings will still be prohibited. People are, however, allowed to attend church events on Sundays only. Social distancing must be practiced at all times and non-essential movement is prohibited, requiring individuals to stay at home with the exception of those buying food or medicine, traveling to the bank, or for workers of an essential service provider.

As of Thursday, April 23, police forces have arrested at least 357 people for violating restrictions during the state of emergency, which was introduced on Sunday, March 29 and has been extended until Friday, May 15. Individuals were arrested for either breaching lockdown measures or obstructing officers during the restrictions. According to reports, a further 211 people have been arrested since the state of emergency was initiated for other crimes including domestic violence charges, public drunkenness, possession of illicit drugs, and other violent crimes.

On April 17, Tongan authorities extended the closure of its borders until Tuesday, June 12, except for humanitarian and repatriation flights.

As of Saturday, April 25, there have been no cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the country. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay. 

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.


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