The 24 new COVID-19 positive cases Saturday, brings the total number of active cases in Tonga to 196, Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni said.
Hu’atolitoli Prison recorded one new case, while the other new cases are in the community.
“The total number of active cases in Tonga is now 196,” he said.
Meanwhile, the 23 repatriates who were announced as positive cases Friday, after they arrived in Tonga last week, had since tested negative for COVID-19 and were considered “recovered”.
Health authorities explained that these cases were probably historical cases, similar to Tonga’s first COVID-19 case last year.
The lockdown restrictions will continue for another week; however, shops and other businesses are allowed to trade this, confirmed the Prime Minister.
All small retail shops are allowed to operate this week from Monday to Saturday from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm.
“Larger shops, including hardware shops, are required to submit their COVID-19 compliance plan to the Ministry of Health for review before they are allowed to start operating”
The plans need to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Businesses can email their COVID plans to the Ministry at email@example.com.
The Prime Minister said all businesses will be supervised or monitored to ensure COVID-19 compliance by the different government departments.
“If any business does not comply, it will be shut down.”
Other businesses such as video shops can operate in accordance with COVID-19 protocols.
Restaurants and cafes can also operate but only serve takeaway food.
The Talamahu Market will not open yet, with the Market Master and his staff to finalise their compliance plan because the area is enclosed.
Marriages and funerals can take place but are restricted to 10 people indoors and 20 people outdoors.
The night-time curfew remains from 6:00pm to 6:00am.
“Government workers can go back to work but it depends on the department CEO’s who will advise how many staff will return, such as 50 percent to start with, ensuring they can comply with COVID-19 protocols.”
Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Poasi Tei said with shops allowed to trade this week, people still need to comply with COVID-19 protocols, such as observing social distancing and wearing masks.
Meanwhile, home school for students will continue this week.
Health Minister Dr Saia Piukala said the Ministry of Health was able to conduct 4, 720 tests, with 11, 705 Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) tests.
Vaccination rate has increased to 99% for the first dose, 90% second dose, 20% for the Booster shot, with 1,093 people still needing their first dose.
SOURCE: TONGA WIRES/PACNEWS