EFESydney, Australia

Tongan authorities on Wednesday were working to evacuate two of its islands most affected by the weekend's volcanic eruption and tsunami, as the entrance of foreign aid presented a threat to the country's Covid-free status.

Saturday's thunderous eruption of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha'apai, which could be heard thousands of kilometers away and clearly seen from space, triggered a tsunami that affected several Pacific nations.

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta on Wednesday confirmed at a press conference that the Tongan Navy evacuation operation was underway to transfer some 150 residents of Mango and Fonoifua islands to others less affected by the natural disaster.

"We are aware there is significant damage to the outer islands. Two of those islands will undergo an evacuation of the numbers that are there and our Navy vessels may well be in a position to help with that effort," Mahuta said.