Tonga still waiting for vital components for virus testing

The Minister of Health told Parliament Wednesday that Tonga does not have the right equipment and enough personal protective equipment to fight against Covid-19.

Dr. ‘Amelia Afuha’amango said testing devices for the COVID-19 have arrived in Tonga but other equipment is needed.

The World Health Organisation expects to have more batches of COVID-19 testing equipment delivered by the end of the week.

Kaniva News reports more GeneXpert Cartridges had been delivered, but the batch of control kits destined for the Cook Islands, Nauru, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Tuvalu and Wallis and Futuna was only 80% complete.

The testing equipment can be used once the additional material arrives.

The Minister said if 10 or 20 even 100 people were infected at the same time the equipment would run out of kits within two weeks.

He said there was a worldwide shortage of PPE.

The best option at this stage was for Tonga to continue closing down its border.

Talks have been held with New Zealand and Australian High Commissioners to see if Tongans coming through their countries to Tonga could be quarantined there before proceeding to Tonga.

Tonga received a US$6 million boost to its COVID-19 responses from the Asian Development Bank last month.

The Tonga government said the assistance would help upgrade Tongan healthcare facilities.