COVID spreads through Tonga following eruption

COVID is spreading through the island nation of Tonga, which did not have a single infection at the time of the volcanic eruption that struck in January.
The violent eruption of an underwater volcano near Tonga in the South Pacific caused a tsunami to hit the island nation’s coastline on January 15.
The omicron variant of COVID, already prevalent in many other parts of the world at the time, appeared in Tonga for the first time after the volcanic eruption. On Thursday, February 10, the number of COVID-19 cases was 64.
Health Minister Saia Piukala said that 31 new infections had been detected in the previous 24 hours, a record for the island nation, which did not have a single active case of the virus when the eruption occurred on January 15.
Piukala said samples sent to Australia confirmed that the highly contagious omicron variant is the one spreading in Tonga.
The origin of the COVID outbreak on the island is unknown. Some have wondered whether the variant arrived along with the tsunami, although suspicions have fallen on ships delivering aid from countries such as Australia, China, France, Japan and New Zealand, despite strict sanitary regulations for handling cargo.
Tonga is under lockdown with only essential services operating. Shops and schools remain closed.
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Tamsin Brown

Originally from London, Tamsin is based in Malaga and is a local reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering Spanish and international news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]