A family has been under house arrest in Tokelau for almost a year after they refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The tunoa or house arrest was imposed on the family of four by the Taupulega, or council, on Nukunonu, one of the three atolls that make up Tokelau.
The New Zealand dependency with a population of about 1500 has had no cases of COVID-19 since the global pandemic began in early 2020, according to the World Health Organisation.
However, there are strict protocols in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
The general manager for the office of the council of Nukunonu, Asi Pasilio, explained to RNZ Pacific why the council of 36 heads of extended families who serve the atoll’s community, decided to impose tunoa – or house arrest – in August 2021.
Pasilio said there were no jails in Tokelau, but when there is a serious offence the council can just ask people to stay at home. Tunoa takes the place of jail.