High Commission assists Australians in Tonga repatriate

Nuku’alofa – April 21, 2020: 7.10pm (AUST HIGH COMMISSION): The Australian High Commission, under the direction of the Australian Government, has helped Australians return home from Tonga in recent weeks.

The High Commission has assisted three charter flights and facilitated the return of some 50 Australian citizens and permanent residents since 25 March 2020.

The Australian High Commissioner to Tonga, His Excellency Adrian Morrison, said the High Commission was working closely with the Tongan government and other governments, private organisations and airlines to assist Australians and permanent residents, noting that there were limitations in light of Tonga’s own COVID-19 restrictions.

“I thank the Government of Tonga for assisting our repatriations in challenging times. I urge Australians wishing to return home to follow our Facebook page and register their interest with the High Commission in returning to Australia when possible.”

Australia continues to support the Tongan government’s efforts and preparation plans. This includes the Australian Government’s $11 million (US$6.9 million) in budget assistance to Tonga in 2019-20, including up to $7 million (US$4.4 million) to help Tonga respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

Last month, the Australian Government strongly recommended Australian citizens to return home. Australians still in Tonga and abroad are encouraged to subscribe for updates in Smartraveller and monitor the High Commission’s website and social media accounts.

All travellers arriving in Australia will be required to undertake a mandatory 14-day quarantine at designated facilities (for example, a hotel), in their port of arrival. The accommodation will have all of the amenities and services needed during their stay. Accommodation will include safe and hygienic accommodation, food and water and medical support. People placed in quarantine will not incur costs as part of these arrangements.

As travel restrictions are subject to change, Australians are encouraged to check the Department of Home Affairs website regularly. Only Australian citizens and permanent residents are permitted to enter Australia at this time….PACNEWS

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