4 May 2020

Emergency restrictions eased in Tonga

3:33 pm on 4 May 2020

Tonga's restrictions under its State of Emergency have been relaxed although a night-time curfew will remain.

Vehicles ply the streets of the capital Nuku'alofa on March 28, 2012.

Vehicles ply the streets of the capital Nuku'alofa on March 28, 2012. Photo: AFP PHOTO / Torsten BLACKWOOD

The SOE, introduced in response to the Covid-9 pandemic, has been in place since 17 April but has been modified until 15 May when it will be reviewed further.

Night clubs, bars and kava clubs may be open on Fridays and Saturdays between 5am and 9pm.

Kava drinking sessions prior to church services, which have resumed, are permitted on Sundays as well.

Mass gathering restrictions, which are limited to 20 people indoors and 40 outdoors, no longer apply to religious services and educational institutions.

All gyms, sporting events and activities, birthday and wedding celebrations are also now permitted. However contact sports are not allowed.

Funerals are still restricted by mass gathering limits, while the night time curfew will continue from 9pm to 5am.

As of late last month, Tonga Police had arrested almost six hundred people since the state of emergency was declared the previous month - most of them were arrested for allegedly breaching the lockdown rules or having obstructed officers.

Meanwhile, King Tupou VI will officially open Tonga's Parliament on Thursday via livestream, because of Covid-19 restrictions in place.

The Lord Chamberlain, has informed the Speaker of Parliament, the King will deliver his Royal Address from the Palace to the Parliament's Chamber.

Tonga has no confirmed cases of covid-19 to date.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs