The government announced Monday that Tonga’s main island will be in lockdown for one week after the South Pacific nation reported the first case since the pandemic began.

After a New Zealand traveller tested positive, the far-flung archipelago isolated the virus at a quarantine facility.

Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa, Tonga’s Prime Minster, stated that the lockdown would start at midnight on Tuesday and only apply to Tongatapu where the majority of the population lives.

According to Matangi Tonga news website, the Cabinet of the nation made the order to ‘ensure safety and health for our people.

Tonga's main island will go into lockdown for a week after the South Pacific nation reported its first case of the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, the government said Monday

The government announced Monday that Tonga’s main Island will be locked down for one week following the first case of coronavirus in the South Pacific since the outbreak.

People will be required to isolate at home unless they are buying groceries or medicine, getting medical help, or accessing banking services (file image)

People will need to be able to stay at home if they are not buying groceries or medicines, accessing banking services, or getting medical help (file image).

Schools, bars, and restaurants will be closed during the lockdown. Nighttime curfews will also be enforced. People will be required not to leave their homes unless they need to buy groceries, medicine, get medical help, or access banking services.

Tongans have been lining up at vaccination stations across the country in response to the news. According to Our World in Data research, 31% of Tongans are fully immunized and 48% have had at most one dose.

The infected passenger was one of 215 passengers who arrived from Christchurch on Wednesday.

Christchurch had been immune to the virus for many months, until last week when several cases were reported in the community. 

Officials in New Zealand confirmed that the traveler to Tonga had been fully vaccinated with Pfizer before departing for Tonga.

Tonga is one the few remaining countries that have not been infected by the virus. This is due to its isolation.

Fiji, a neighboring nation, had been immune to major outbreaks up until April, when the Delta variant of the virus infected more people than 50,000 and killed at least 673.

The quarantine also included Tonga’s frontline workers, including police officers and airport staff, who were on duty at the time that the plane arrived.

Tonga is located northeast of New Zealand and is home to around 106,000 people.

Jacinda Ardern announced today it will extend coronavirus curbs for another week in its largest city of Auckland

Jacinda Ardern today announced that it will extend coronavirus curbs another week in Auckland’s largest city.

Jacinda Adern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, has announced that it will extend coronavirus protections for another week within its largest city, Auckland.  

Ardern stated that New Zealand has agreed to a November 10, 2010 re-opening date of retail stores and institutions, as well as libraries and museums, in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Ardern stated that because of Auckland’s high vaccination rates, it is possible to move with greater confidence.

“These decisions are carefully balanced, and allows us release some of the fatigue and pressure that we know exists in Auckland.

The city lifted its limit on outdoor gatherings to 25 people.

Empty streets of Newmarket in Auckland, New Zealand, on October 28 as the city remains in lockdown

Newmarket, Auckland, New Zealand: The streets were empty on October 28th as the city remains under lockdown

New Zealand received international praise for its response to the coronavirus last year, but it has been unable to stop the current outbreak. This has forced it to choose to live with the virus rather than pursue the earlier goal of eliminating it. 

Daily cases have risen to record levels in the past few days, reaching 162 on Monday. 53 people were admitted to hospital, while four were placed in intensive care. A model of the outbreak has been released and shows that the number of cases is expected to continue rising.

Ardern stated that high vaccination rates were necessary to protect against hospital admissions.

“We used to work hard to eliminate every case.” She said that Delta forced us to change our approach but vaccines help us achieve the same goal.

More than 75% of New Zealanders, or around 3.1 million people have been fully vaccinated. While 88% have only received one dose, the total number is now at 75%.

The government stated that an increasing number of cases are occurring among the Maori indigenous community, where the vaccination rate has been lower.