The Human Rights Protection Party has criticised the Government on the delay in taking action to implement a lockdown as soon as they received information from NEOC of its first positive COVDI-19 cases of passengers from last week’s flights.

Deputy Leader of the HRPP, Fonotoe Pierre Lauofo said the flight arrived on Wednesday, the health officials conducted testing and it was confirmed on Friday and questioned why the Government waited until Saturday to implement the lockdown at 6pm.

He said the Country should have been on lockdown as soon as Cabinet received word regarding the positive cases.

As of Wednesday there are 26 confirmed cases.

Fonotoe said the first action that should be taken by the Government is to implement lockdown.

As indicated by the Ministry of Health earlier, the government workers that serviced this repatriation flight, were tested on Friday night and they all went home and it wasn't until Saturday they were all picked up to be quarantined.

This is reckless on the part of the Government, due to the delay in making these hard decisions, said Fonotoe.

He also criticized the timing the extension of the lockdown was announced, by Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa.

On Saturday the Country went into lockdown for 48 hours, which was initially scheduled to be concluded by Monday, however the announcement came close to 6pm and it was too late.

By the time the Prime Minister announced the extension of the lockdown, the public were already on the road, and shopping was underway at the small stores.

“These types of reckless actions are unacceptable and we have yet to hear of a report from the National Emergency Operation Committee as to where the lapse is and if it warrants a Commission of Inquiry, then do so to determine where the negligence has occurred."

The COVID-19 or coronavirus is a deadly virus and it shouldn’t be taken lightly, as their main concern is the safety of the people.

Fonote then suggested to the Government to consult with the village councils on their role in any case the virus does reach out to the community.