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16 May 2020 | 02:33 PM UTC

Tonga: Authorities extend COVID-19 state of emergency until June 11 /update 9

Tonga News Alert

Authorities announce extension of COVID-19 state of emergency until June 11 while some restrictions are eased; follow official directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 5/17/2020, 2:00 AM until 6/12/2020, 10:59 PM (Pacific/Tongatapu). COUNTRY/REGION Tonga

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Prime Minister Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa announced on Friday, May 15, that Tonga's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) State of Emergency has been extended until Thursday, June 11. The extension means that a 22:00 to 05:00 (local time) curfew remains in effect throughout the country. Flights also remain suspended until Friday, June 12, with the exception of humanitarian and repatriation flights. However, other restrictions have been eased, with the number of people allowed to gather being increased to 40 indoors and 80 outdoors.

Authorities initially began lifting measures imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on Monday, May 4. As of May 15, social events and gatherings have been permitted and gyms and sports clubs allowed to reopen, although contact sports remain banned. Bars, nightclubs, and kava clubs have also been authorized to open from Wednesday to Saturday.

As of Saturday, May 16, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tonga. 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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