Tonga closes border to flights and cruise ships in response to coronavirus

Source: 1News

Tonga has closed its borders to flights and cruise ships this morning in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Pohiva Tu'i'onetoa and the Minister of Health made the announcement live on radio.

All flights to the Pacific Island nation have been cancelled, including an Air New Zealand flight from Auckland that was due to depart a short time ago. 

Meanwhile, six of the eight suspected Covid-19 cases in Samoa have returned negative.

Two outstanding results are pending.

Samoa is allowing just two flights a week to Auckland to facilitate the movement of tests.

Asinate Saumaki was at Auckland Airport to drop four travellers off today, but their flight was cancelled last minute.

Ms Saumaki called the decision "a major impact" and said people at the airport were in tears over the ordeal.

"It's very scary for them, they've been waiting for this day to go back home," she said.

"We were told that all we could do was just wait for the five days that they've stopped the flights. There's nothing we can do really but we're hoping that they do open the borders again so that these people that really want to go back go back."