Nearly two dozen COVID-19 cases reported on ship carrying aid to Tonga

Almost two dozen COVID-19 cases were reported on a ship carrying aid to Tonga after a tsunami devastated the country earlier this month.

Twenty-three workers on an Australian military ship were found to be COVID-19 positive before arriving in the country that has only recorded one coronavirus case since the start of the pandemic, The Associated Press reported.

Australian Defense Minister Peter Dutton said the ship will remain away from Tonga and at sea while the workers recover.

“They need the aid desperately, but they don’t want the risk of COVID,” Dutton told Sky News, according to the AP. “We will work through all of that as quickly as we can.”

Tonga has been dealing with internet outages and other damage from the tsunami that flooded its capital and destroyed dozens of buildings earlier this month.

This is the second shipment of aid to Tonga that Australia has had to pause due a coronavirus case among workers, the AP noted. 

Tonga is one of the few countries that have barely had any cases throughout the pandemic due to strict travel restrictions.

Tags Australia COVID-19 Humanitarian aid Tonga Tsunami

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