Twenty-three people onboard an Australian Navy vessel enroute to help with the recovery effort in Tonga have tested positive for covid-19.
In a statement, the Australian Department of Defence said the positive covid cases, and their close contacts, are being isolated onboard the vessel which has a 40-bed hospital with operating theatres and a critical care ward.
The Department of Defence is adamant the cases will not stop the Adelaide’s mission with the vessel expected to arrive off the coast of Tonga in the early hours of tomorrow morning.
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It said it was confident it could deliver the much needed supplies on board to local authorities in Tonga without transmitting the virus.
Tonga is one of the few remaining covid-19 free countries in the world and the government has made it very clear its priority is keeping things that way.
Air New Zealand to deliver relief supplies
An Air New Zealand flight is scheduled to take supplies to Tonga tomorrow to help with the recovery from the recent volcanic eruption and tsunami.
Chief pilot Captain David Morgan said 18 tonnes of cargo — including fresh water, medical supplies, garments, bedding, and urgent machine and automotive parts — will be onboard.
The flight is scheduled to take off from Auckland at 8am.
The same plane will then turn around and depart from Tonga at 12.20pm tomorrow, bringing back passengers and cargo to Auckland.
Co-chair Jenny Salesa said more volunteers were needed at the Mount Smart Stadium donation centre as hundreds of drums still needed to be packed.
She said people had been so generous and more shipping containers were still needed.
Twenty-five containers are scheduled to be sent to Tonga tomorrow if they are all packed in time.
This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.