New Zealand boosts support to Fiji for COVID-19 impact, Six AUSMAT members to arrive in Fiji today


New Zealand is providing additional support to Fiji to mitigate the effects of the current COVID-19 outbreak on vulnerable households, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.

“Recognising the increasingly challenging situation in Fiji, Aotearoa will provide an additional package of assistance to support the Government of Fiji and Fijians most affected by the current outbreak,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

“The assistance includes up to $5 million(US$3.4 million) for the Government to deliver COVID-19 operations, and $5 million(US$3.4 milion) to local civil society organisations working directly with households to mitigate poverty risks, including through the provision of food rations.

“In addition, New Zealand is embedding two medical specialists into a Medical Assistance Team (MAT) alongside our Australian partners to support Fiji in its COVID-19 response,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

A New Zealand anaesthetist will today travel with the six-person Australian team to Fiji on a Fiji Airways flight from Australia and spend seven days in MIQ in Fiji before beginning their 28 day assignment. A New Zealand Defence Force public health/infectious disease specialist will be deployed in the near future.

The team will work with the Fijian Ministry of Health to provide immediate support for health system management and infection prevention control. They will also assist with assessments of Fiji’s priority health needs responding to the current outbreak.

“This assistance will support Fiji to navigate the medium-term challenges posed by COVID-19. New Zealand continues to stand alongside Fiji as it responds to this outbreak and our thoughts are with all affected,” Nania Mahuta said.

The announcement today furthers New Zealand’s package of assistance to date, which includes budget support, operational funding, supplies and equipment.

Meanwhile, the multi-disciplinary Australian Medical Assistance team (AUSMAT) from Australia will be arriving into Fiji today.

This has been confirmed by the Australian High Commissioner to Fiji, John Feakes.

The High Commissioner said this includes six personnel who will be providing assistance in the area of advisory capacity.

The Fijian Ministry of Health had sought he assistance from its Vuvale partner as COVID-19 cases has escalated in the past week.

Minister for Health Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete, said he is happy to receive the six experts who will work closely with his advisory team.