21 Mar 2020

Tonga and Samoa declare states of emergency because of Covid-19

7:45 am on 21 March 2020

Tonga and Samoa have both declared a State of Emergency in efforts to combat the global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Tonga's Prime Minister Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa made his declaration this afternoon to help prepare the kingdom .

All foreign nationals are now banned from entering Tonga in a restriction effective until 17 April.

All Tongan citizens and emergency officials arriving in the Kingdom will now have to go through a 14 day quarantine period.

Nightclubs, bars and kava clubs are to close from 25 March and public gatherings have been restricted to 20 indoors and 40 outdoors.

There have been no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Tonga yet.

Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa

Photo: Tonga government

Samoa closes borders to foreign nationals

Samoa has also declared a state of emergency which comes into effect midnight tonight.

The Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi, announced the measures will be in effect for 14 days.

The order included the shutting down of the border for all except returning Samoan citizens.

There have been restrictions placed on public gatherings to a total of five.

Public transport carrying more than five people is to be temporarily halted and nightclubs, restaurants and cinemas are to be closed.

Street vendors have been told to not operate and people over 60 years of age have been told to remain at home unless seeking medical attention.

Travel to the island of Savai'i has been limited to just three days a week.

Non-essential public servants are also having their hours reduced.

Samoa PM Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi addresses the UN session in Apia

Samoa PM, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi Photo: UN