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2600 people registered for repatriation to Tonga

Ministry of Health CEO Dr Siale ‘Akau’ola
Source: Matangi Tonga

Nuku'alofa, TONGA — Tonga is looking at more repatriation flights to bring nationals home from low risk countries, but the cost of quarantine for repatriated passengers over a three-month period is estimated to be around $1 million pa’anga, the Ministry of Health CEO Dr Siale ‘Akau’ola conjected this week.

“It’s not a cheap exercise.”

Dr ‘Akau’ola said that while the exact cost of quarantine would have to be confirmed by the Ministry of Finance, it would be close to the $1 million pa'anga mark. 

The Tongan government is paying for the quarantine, which includes accommodation and other things associated with it.

Future repatriation flights

More repatriation flights from low risk countries such as the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Samoa are being looked at, he told a press conference this week.

“We will start [repatriation] from CoViD-19 free countries and then move on to low risk countries that don’t have community transmission, like New Zealand,” said Dr ‘Akau’ola.

The Prime Minister’s office is looking at how Vanuatu and Samoa are repatriating people successfully, using hotels and halls for quarantine.

“And we are learning from their processes and what we could do in Tonga.”

For Tongans stuck in New Zealand, the government is reported to be looking at starting repatriation flights in August.

Read more at Matangi Tonga