The Polynesian monarchy had not had a single case of the Covid-19 virus since the beginning of the pandemic back in 2019. However, the first case seems to have induced panic among locals, and many decided to get vaccinated.
Tonga’s Prime Minister, Hon Dr. Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa, gave some details about the positive patient. It appears to have been a passenger traveling from New Zeeland. Sources mention the passenger was fully vaccinated and had a negative test when learning Christchurch airport.
The passenger was at a hotel in quarantine
Because the passenger was isolated at a hotel to follow the Covid-19 traveling guidelines from Tonga, direct contacts have low chances of getting the virus. A local newspaper mentions that the Prime Minister wants people from Tongatapu to prepare for a potential lockdown. This might become a reality if the airport staff who had contact with the infected passenger get infected. However, only after a couple of days can a new infection be confirmed with a test.
The passenger will remain in isolation at Manages Isolation Quarantine (MIQ) Tanoa
While the passenger will recover in isolation, Tonga’s Ministry of Health, CEO Dr. Siale’ Akau’ola, explained that the country could go into lockdown if frontline workers who had contact with the passenger test positive. However, there was no need to rule a lockdown during the weekend because the test results would be conclusive after several days. When a person has direct contact with an infected person, the virus will need time to infect healthy cells, and symptoms will appear after several days, at least three to five.
Frontlines who were direct contacts of the passenger are under quarantine
Frontlines that had direct contact with the passenger traveling from New Zeeland are under quarantine. This includes the airport staff and the bus driver who takes travelers to the MIQ. Although the passenger is experiencing a breakthrough infection, health authorities in Tonga feel confident that the Covid-19 vaccines will help manage the symptoms.