Tongan nationals

26 Tongan nationals on repatriation flight in quarantine

The flight was chartered by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) to bring back missionaries, university students and citizens who were stranded in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. 

All passengers were required to produce a medical certificate from a doctor before boarding the aircraft last Saturday. 

Returning passengers will be tested for COVID-19 at Tanoa International Dateline Hotel.  

They are undergoing 14 days of quarantine at the hotel followed by one-week home quarantine. 

Tongans trapped in New Zealand since the start of lockdown are finally going home

It is the first Air NZ repatriation flight of Tongans since border restrictions were introduced.

Air New Zealand Senior Manager of Pacific Islands Brent Roxburgh said many Tongans have been stuck in NZ since the beginning of the pandemic earlier this year.

“Air New Zealand is pleased to be working closely with the Tongan government to help facilitate those wanting to return home,” said Roxburgh.

PM confirms Cabinet has no choice but to repatriate Tongans stranded overseas

He confirmed this in Parliament. 

PM Tu'i'onetoa said Cabinet has no choice but to bring back our people.

He said Tongans have been away too long from home.

“Tonga is where their hearts are, their home, and where their loved ones stay.” 

PM Tu'i'onetoa said the Cabinet's decision will have both positive and negative impacts on Tonga but this is the Government's choice. 

He said Tonga is likely to close its borders until 2021, while at the same time, repatriates its people back home. He also mentioned there are risks involved but this must be done.

Tonga’s first repatriation flight to arrive from Fiji

The charter flight will leave Fiji at 10am (local time) and will arrive at Fua’amotu Airport in the afternoon.

A government statement said all passengers must produce COVID-19 test certificates before boarding.

About fifty passengers that will board the flight are made up of medical staff who are pursuing further education in Fiji with their family members, together with students and Government officials.