TONGA (ABC4) – End of October, the land of Tonga reported its first-ever case of COVID-19 after a traveler from New Zealand tested positive. According to new reports, that traveler was young Missionary of the Church of Latter-day Saints.
as the Associated press releasesTonga is one of the few countries in the world to have avoided outbreaks of COVID-19. Tonga is a group of more than 170 islands, many uninhabited, in the South Pacific, north of New Zealand. Fiji near kon avoid outbreaks until April when the delta variant hit the island chain, infecting more than 50,000 people and killing more than 670.
In a radio address on Friday, Tonga’s Prime Minister Pohiva Tu’i’onetoa said the traveler was one of 215 passengers who arrived on a flight from Christchurch, New Zealand. The traveler was also isolated in a quarantined hotel.
Newscasts in New Zealand and Hawaii reports that the traveler is a youth missionary with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The man was fully vaccinated, according to a church spokesperson and is now in quarantine without symptoms. Before leaving for Tonga, the man had returned a negative COVID-19 test, officials say.
According to Honolulu Civil Beat, the missionary returned from a mission in Africa, worked in New Zealand for a few weeks and was just able to return to Tonga. Now Tongatapu, Tonga’s most populous island, is under a curfew with limited public services, closed non-essential businesses, social distancing and home isolation for seven days. This started at midnight on Monday, Civil Beat reports.
A representative of the Church’s Salt Lake City site did not immediately respond to ABC4’s request for comment.
The Church of Jesus Christ held a groundbreaking for Neiafu Tonga Temple in September. According to the Church, the Tonga Temple is in phase 3 of the reopening process, meaning it is open to all ordinances, with restrictions.