THE number of COVID-19 positive reported cases continues to hike week by week as the latest update today reaches a total of 645.

Last Friday, the number of Omicron cases was totaled at 355. Today, there are 342 reported active cases and 303 patients have recovered.

The Hon. Health Minister Dr. Saia Piukala revealed this during a press conference with the media this morning. 
26 Covid positive cases were reported last Friday, 20 cases last Saturday, while 59 were reported on Sunday. On Monday alone 57 positive new cases were reported. The trend hikes to 100 new cases the next day (Tuesday). 
Of the 100 positive new cases reported on Tuesday, 83 are reported covid cases from Hu’atolitoli and 17 community transmission. 
28 new covid positive cases were reported yesterday.
Of the total 645 covid cases in Tonga, this includes the one positive case in October last year, 637 from Tongatapu and 7 from Vava’u. Six patients have been discharged in Vava’u while one is in home isolation.
Hon. Dr. Saia Piukala says despite the increasing number of Omicron cases, good news is, no patient has been hospitalised or admitted to intensive care. 
CEO of the Health Ministry, Dr. Siale ‘Akau’ola asserted the public wearing protective gears at all times is strongly recommended. That includes wearing a face mask, keeping social distances, and washing of hands frequently to minimize Covid transmission.
Dr. Toakase Fakakovikaetau of the Health Ministry said even though the number continues to rise, the situation is satisfactory given it has not peaked yet. She said Omicron is here and to avoid transmission is for people to always wear protective face mask. 
Hon. Piukala also confirmed that ‘Eua, Ha’apai and the Niuas remains Covid-free. Two covid surveillance testing conducted in Ha’apai and the 105-specimen tested came negative. Similar test conducted in ‘Eua for more than 50 people all came negative. 
Meanwhile Hon. Piukala said the Covid target population number was reviewed in accordance with the latest 2020 census, and new first dose vaccination rate drops to 97 percent not 99 as previously recorded. The Health Minister reminded media the new statistics should be anticipated as Health authorities consider people and seasonal workers who were here during the census. 
New second dose vaccination rate is now 88 percent with booster shots rate at 40 percent. He also reported many people are due for their covid second and booster shots.
At the same time, 174 MIQ at Tanoa from the recent repatriation flights have been released home on Tuesday. Meanwhile, a family of seven are being monitored at Taliai Camp with five positive cases and 2 negative.  The two negative cases remain in isolation at Taliai for completion of the quarantine period.
Hon. Piukala urges the public not to take Omicron lightly but should adhere to Covid rules and Health Protocol to minimise its spreading.
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