Tonga renews Covid-19 State of Emergency declaration

The previous extension announced on 21 December 2020 ends at 8pm today.

The declaration states that there is a continuous spread of the novel coronavirus disease (“Covid-19”) worldwide and in countries close to Tonga.

The extension is necessary to prevent or minimize risk and the loss of human life to Covid-19

The Declaration of a State Emergency applies over all the land and sea areas of Tonga.

The Government has approved several repatriation flights to allow Tongan citizens stranded overseas to return home.


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Tonga's dog population surges as Covid-19 restrictions keep foreign vets out of the country

The closure of international borders meant foreign vets from South Pacific Animal Welfare (SPAW) couldn't run their free desexing programmes in the country — and without a qualified vet in Tonga, there are now estimated to be more than 20,000 dogs on Tongatapu alone.

Angela Glover, vice-president of the Tonga Animal Welfare Society, said the need for veterinary care has never been more urgent.

Tonga out of list of countries eligible for US seasonal and guest worker visas

Kaniva News reports the H-2A and H-2B visa programmes allow employers to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural and non-agricultural jobs, respectively. 

Tonga has already lost the opportunity to participate in the January recruitment for New Zealand’s RSE scheme. 

The New Zealand government wanted all RSE workers repatriated before Tonga could be allocated a new share of the 2000 employees who were expected to arrive in New Zealand this month.

Tonga was the only Pacific nation with RSE workers left in New Zealand. 

Australia presents vehicles to Tonga army

The Defence Advisor Commander, Jason McBain said the Australian Defence Force is providing the vehicles as part of ongoing support to His Majesty’s Armed Forces.

According to the Australian High Commission, the support is made available under the Australian Defence Cooperation Programme - Tonga.

Australia has five Defence Force personnel posted to and living in Tonga who partner with His Majesty’s Armed Forces in training, maintenance as well as operational and security planning.

Tonga and Japan discuss sports and rugby assistance for Tonga

After raising ¥1, 150, 000 (USD11,073) from a direct appeal to residents of Kochi Prefecture to fund the purchase of rugby balls for rugby development in Tonga, the Embassy was informed that the donation of 200 rugby balls will be provided and intended for the outer islands in Tonga.

Joining the meeting was  Sinali Latu, President of the Tonga Japan Community, and Intern Yukino Saigo, the community said on its social media platform.

Tongans stranded abroad return home

Twenty-four Tongans stranded in Samoa arrived on a government-chartered flight operated by Lulutai Airlines around midday yesterday (Thursday).

A second flight carrying 230 passengers arrived from Auckland, New Zealand.

 According to the CEO for MEIDECC, Paula Ma’u, the flight from New Zealand landed at 2:30pm with 214 nationals.

The other passengers were Samoan nationals who later left for Apia on another flight.

Tonga commits to achieve 70% renewable energy target by 2030

The Department of Energy under the Ministry of MEIDECC is collaborating with development partners to monitor ongoing projects and implement new programmes to help the country reach its ambitious target.

Tonga Energy Bill

A statement said Tonga’s first Energy Bill which is anticipated to set up key governance structures in the energy sector and formalize the functions of MEIDECC’s Energy Department has been approved by Cabinet and it is now with Attorney General’s Office for processing to parliament.

Tonga awaits arrival of two repatriation flights

The first repatriation flight for 2021 will arrive in Tonga from Apia, Samoa at around 12:30pm (local time) with 29 passengers.

The travelers are Tongan citizens, who were stranded in Samoa due to the closure of borders during the Covid-19 global pandemic.

The Lulutai Airlines aircraft will repatriate 21 Samoans who will arrive on another flight from New Zealand on the same day.  

The flight from Auckland will arrive around 1:45pm (local time) with 219 passengers onboard.

Tonga’s Department of Environment plans more projects for 2021

Senior management and staff of the department met this morning to elect new social committee members that would facilitate the tasks and projects.

The department has elected Peti Veikoso as the new President.

The Director, Managers and staff participated in the election and organised plans for the year.

Veikoso replaces Rhonda Hufanga, who was the president of the committee last year.

18 arrested in Tonga for drug-related offences over festive period

All of the accused have been charged and will appear in court at a later date.

The arrests took place in eleven different locations in Tongatapu.

Police seized cannabis, methamphetamine, $6400 pa’anga cash, 645 bullets and drug utensils.

Acting Deputy Police Commissioner Tevita Vailea said the arrests show that those who are seeking to profit from the harm these drugs cause can continue to expect to be targeted by Police.