Japan resumes aid mission in Tonga after COVID-19 cases among members


Japan has resumed its aid activity in Tonga, which was hit by an undersea volcanic eruption earlier this month, after some mission members contracted COVID-19, the Defense Ministry said Saturday.

The Air Self-Defense Force has dispatched two C-130 transport aircraft to bring supplies to Tonga.

But the mission was suspended Tuesday due to coronavirus infections among ASDF members engaged in the mission. Replacement personnel were sent Friday to restart the airlift operation as early as possible.

The additional ASDF members transported about 4 tons of canned food and around 2 tons of drinking water, according to the ministry.

PCR tests were conducted on ASDF troops in quarantine and two more members were found to be infected with the virus, the ministry said. A total of six team members have tested positive for the virus.

The ministry is considering allowing infected members to rejoin the mission once they produce negative test results.

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