COVID-19 disrupts aid flight to tsunami-hit Tonga

An Australian aid flight headed to tsunami-hit Tonga was forced to return to base due to a positive COVID-19 case onboard, a defence official said on Friday.

An Australian defence spokeswoman said, The Australian aid flight left Brisbane on Thursday afternoon but was turned around mid-flight after being notified of the positive COVID-19 case.

Tonga is COVID-free and has a strict border control policy, and is requiring contactless delivery of aid that began arriving by plane.

“All crew had returned negative rapid antigen tests before departure, but PCR tests later showed the positive result.

“The supplies were moved to another flight that took off on Friday.

The first flights from Australia and New Zealand landed in Tonga on Thursday with supplies of water for sanitation and hygiene as well as shelter, communication equipment and power generators.

A New Zealand maritime sustainment vessel, carrying 250,000 litres of water and able to produce 70,000 litres a day through a desalination plant, was expected to arrive on Friday.

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Kamila/Reuters
 
COVID-19 disrupts aid flight to tsunami-hit Tonga

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