Governments cannot openly admit that the "controlled easing” of COVID-19 lockdowns in fact means controlled progress toward so-called herd immunity to the virus. Because there is currently no COVID-19 vaccine, governments have had to find other ways to prevent “excess deaths.” Most have opted for lockdowns, which remove entire populations from the path of the virus and thus deprive it of hosts. But this strategy has a terrible weakness: governments cannot keep their populations locked down until a vaccine arrives. Apart from anything else, the economic cost would be unthinkable. So, they have to ease the lockdown gradually. By Robert Skidelsky
You are here
Results for Health
Friday 29 May 2020
Tonga's CoViD-19 restrictions have been extended from today 8:00pm tonight 29 May until 11 June, the Tongan Government announced today. The restrictions have eased further with a shorter night time curfew from 11:00pm to 5:00am. Borders remain closed up to June 12.
Tuesday 19 May 2020
Preparations get Tonga ready to combat CoViD-19 should it reach the kingdom, are progressing slowly. The Ministry of Health reported delays in the construction of a specialised CoVid-19 testing laboratory, and they are waiting more protective gowns and overalls, and an oxygen generator. The Ministry is still working on a quarantine policy for future incoming passengers.
Monday 20 April 2020
International flights to Tonga have been barred up to 12 June according to a diversion order issued by the Ministry of Health CEO Dr Siale ‘Akau’ola. The order is to prevent the introduction, or spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) to Tonga.
Monday 13 April 2020
An Australian doctor in Tonga warns that it’s too early for children to return to school tomorrow because we do not know for certain if the recent arrivals in Tonga were free of the virus or just had no symptoms. “If they did pass it to people they have contacted, those contacts may still be incubating the disease...To relax these restrictions now risks an outbreak of the disease, with potentially terrible consequences.” he said. There are no CoViD-19 tests here, so Tonga is “flying blind”.
Tuesday 7 April 2020
Three CoViD-19 testing machines and 2000 test kits are expect to arrive in Tonga later this month, although it is still uncertain how they will get here. Meanwhile, the Health CEO warned against public scaremongering: "When people try to force authorities not to accept donations like PPEs to help us fight CoViD-19, it is like the public forcing someone to use a fork and spoon to fight a lion."
Tuesday 24 March 2020
It is likely that eventually, CoViD-19 will become endemic (commonly recurring in the community), and most of us will get infected, says Justin Lessler, an associate professor of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the United States, stressing that it is most important to slow the speed of transmission.
Friday 6 March 2020
Tonga's Health officials are urging sick people, including Tongans, who are planning to visit Tonga, to stay away while they are ill. The plea comes after a 21-year-old Tongan woman travelled while sick with the flu from Sydney to Tonga on Monday, 2 March, and is now suspected of having COVID-19.
Tuesday 3 March 2020
While no cases of coronavirus have been identified in Tonga, the country has raised its alert level from high to very high, in a fourth travel advisory issued today, aimed at preventing the virus from entering the country.
Thursday 9 January 2020
An Otago University study is proposing that malaria in the past may have shaped the genome of Pacific people today, resulting in a genetic predisposition to Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and gout. The elevated levels of uric acids, which can strengthen the immune response to the mosquito-borne disease are also what causes the inflammatory reactions in gout. “Pacific people have their own genetic variants,” says Dr Ana Gosling.
Thursday 26 December 2019
Health services for over half a million people in four Pacific countries, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu, will benefit from a project that is helping to improve overall immunization coverage rates and support greater efficiency of primary health care.
Tuesday 17 December 2019
Seven biomedical engineering students from New Zealand’s University of Canterbury (UC) are spending 10 weeks in Tonga’s hospitals and clinics to repair life-saving medical equipment and to engineer biomedical solutions, as part of a work experience pilot program.
Tuesday 3 December 2019
Samoa is experiencing the deadliest epidemic to hit the South Pacific in the 21st century. The nation’s Government today confirmed 55 measles related deaths with at least 48 of the victims being being children under the age of four. A total of 3,881 measles cases have been recorded by Samoa’s Ministry of Health since the outbreak began in October.
Wednesday 20 November 2019
UNICEF is supporting the Government of Samoa to respond to a measles outbreak in the country. The Government of Samoa officially declared a state of emergency on 15 November 2019, four weeks into the continuing measles outbreak with more than 1000 suspected cases so far. The epidemic has claimed the lives of 14 children under-five years old and one adult. Lesser outbreaks are reported in Tonga and Fiji.
Monday 18 November 2019
A Tonga Body Building Federation brought home 3 gold medals, 1 silver medal and 3 bronze medals from the 25th South Pacific Body Building Championships held in New Caledonia, from 23-27 October 2019. The championship will be held in Tonga next year.
Wednesday 6 November 2019
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF are calling on Pacific communities to vaccinate against measles in response to recent outbreaks of measles in Tonga and Samoa.
Tuesday 5 November 2019
Wellington, New Zealand
The threat that climate change poses to global health is the theme of an annual conference being held by New Zealand’s Otago Global Health in Wellington, New Zealand this week 6 – 7 November. Pacific research will be the focus of the conference.
Thursday 30 May 2019
New York, USA
The immune system – an intricate network of cells, tissues, and organs – is the human body’s primary mechanism for staying healthy. Decoding it should be central to our efforts to understand and fight illness, whether non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, or infectious ones such as tuberculosis, malaria, and Ebola. By fully leveraging the power of our immune systems, we could find new ways to fight disease everywhere. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will be the keys to this achievement - because of the vast size and complexity of the human immune system. It is billions of times larger than the human genome. By Wayne Koff.
Wednesday 30 January 2019
Twenty-four talented cooks from Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, and Samoa, will compete in a reality TV cooking show competition hosted by celebrity chef, Robert Oliver, encouraging Pacific Islanders to make good food choices in a bid to fight non-communicable diseases.
Friday 18 January 2019
One of the biggest obstacles to reducing the rate of unplanned pregnancies is the lack of sex education in schools. If more teenagers had access to sex education and contraception, fewer girls would have their lives interrupted by pregnancy. Only by empowering women and girls with the resources to control their reproduction will the grim statistics that have long burdened Guyana – and many other countries – begin to change for the better. By Patricee Douglas