THE Hon. Prime Minister has announced easing some of the COVID-19 restrictions including a new night curfew and tertiary education to start next week.
The curfew is from 8:00pm-5:00am effective next Monday (February 28).
Tertiary education will begin as well next week.
Hon. Hu’akavameiliku made the announcement during a Press Conference with the media today.
The PM says TVET (Tonga Technical and Vocational Education), TMPI (Tonga Maritime Polytechnic Institute), TIST (Tonga Institute of Science & Technology), TIHE (Tonga Institute among tertiary institution) are among other tertiary institutions that will start next week.
This is while home schooling is provided for high school and primary school level.
He also mentioned that back to classroom school program is tentative for April. This is in line with rolling out of the five to 11 year olds Pfizer vaccinations before primary school starts.
Meanwhile, Hu’akavameiliku also reported 68 COVID new cases which brings the total number of positive cases in Tonga to 355. Out of the 68 new cases, the majority of 42 are positive cases reported from Hu’atolitoli Prison, 1 case reported in Vava’u and rest of the 25 in Tongatapu.
Of the 355, only 178 active cases remain while 177 have been recovered and discharged.
The PM said due to the current situation, the Ministry of Health advised the extension of the national lockdown for Tongatapu and Vava’u. This is to allow the health authorities to closely monitor the situation.
At the same time, the Hon. Health Minister Dr Saia Piukala also thanked the media for their continued support in the fight against COVID. This resulted in 188 people getting their first dose vaccination since Wednesday.
He said despite the coronavirus case number on the rise, none of the 355 patients have been severely ill. On that note, he asserted the media, despite easing some the restrictions, it is essential for the public to continue wearing mask, frequently wash hands and keep the social distances as protection against COVID-virus.
Orange color traffic light restrictions is now in placed for Tongatapu and Vava’u according to the Hon. Minister of Heath, but the situation can be reverted to red traffic light if Covid cases further increases.