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Tonga is a small Pacific island nation that you’ve possibly never heard of. It actually has a lot of nice things about it. It’s over 90 percent Christian. It has one of the highest church attendance rates in the world. The country’s constitution declares the Sabbath sacred forever, and as a result all commercial activity shuts down on Sunday.

Sadly, being Christian hasn’t stopped the country from joining the Covid-19 frenzy. The country completely closed its borders in 2020 and kept them closed for more than a year. They imposed weeks-long lockdowns even though they had zero cases of Covid. All of this caused plenty of damage to the economy and people’s lives, but it was pointless. They couldn’t stay locked down forever, and as soon as the lockdown ended, Covid appeared, and this spring they had an outbreak just like the rest of the planet. In January, they were at 1 case, today they’re at more than eleven thousand. And of course, that means more lockdowns and border closures.

And for two Americans, that means being trapped against their will in Tonga.

These two Americans say that the king of Tonga allowed them to land on the island, but now they are being trapped there and not allowed to leave. They’ve spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to charter a small plane to pick them up. They were told that as long as nobody got off the plane, they’d be fine. But at the last minute, the prime minister of Tonga intervened and ordered them to remain on the island. They also say the Tongan government is trying to force them to take the vaccine before they leave.

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Brent Johnson is one of the Americans trapped in Tonga. He joins us along with his liaison C.W.

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