New Zealand

New Zealand and Australian doctors at Nadi airport. Photo / RNZ


The New Zealand government is stepping up support for Fiji, which is in the throes of a Covid-19 crisis.

126 new cases of the virus were reported in the Pacific nation on Monday.

The New Zealand government is now allocating up to $ 10 million for Fiji’s response to Covid-19.

In addition, a team of Australian and New Zealand medical specialists have arrived in the Pacific nation to provide assistance.

Suva-based Red Cross Covid-19 coordinator Lauren Bird said many people felt in April there was light at the end of the tunnel.

But she said this recent outbreak has reset the clock.

Most of the cases were in the Suva-Nausori corridor, where about a third of the population is based, Bird said.


“Community transmission is a big concern and this is also happening on the backs of Fiji who are already suffering with the borders closed for the year, people had already lost income or livelihood.”

RNZ Pacific correspondent Lice Movono, who is in Suva, said the Fijian government was reluctant to enter a nationwide lockdown.

“To put it very simply, they cannot afford the national lockdown,” she said.

“They say preventing people from going back to work and reopening businesses means, from a public perspective, they can’t take charge of their health, in terms of being able to put food on the table. . “

To respond to the ongoing situation, the New Zealand government has signed an additional support program.

“The assistance includes up to $ 5 million for the government to carry out Covid-19 operations, and $ 5 million to local civil society organizations working directly with households to mitigate poverty risks, including by providing food rations, ”said Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

New Zealand sends two medical specialists to join the Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) in Fiji.

“They will spend around seven days in MIQ, then a 28-day mission that helps do two things, effectively support the response on the ground, but also undertake a little assessment of what else is needed,” said Mahuta.

An anesthesiologist was part of the six-member Ausmat team that arrived on Monday evening.

Mahuta said a Defense Forces infectious disease specialist will be deployed in the near future.

As Fiji grapples with the outbreak, the country’s health ministry continues to roll out the vaccine, with another 50,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine arriving on Saturday as part of Australia’s government support of one million doses.

New Zealand has pledged half a million doses, which Mahuta says are expected to arrive from July.

However, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern noted that AstraZeneca has not yet been approved by Medsafe.

“Until they are approved in New Zealand, we cannot pass these doses on, so we have instead worked with Australia, who are able to help them with doses earlier in Fiji,” he said. she declared.

Fiji now has more than 1,500 active cases isolated since the outbreak in April. Five people also died.

More about this article: Read More
This notice was published: 2021-06-21 19:53:54


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here