Australia stands ready to support Fiji; NZ stands by Fiji in times of need

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The Australian Minister for the Pacific says they are keen to assist Fiji in any way necessary to contain the spread of COVID-19 and achieve economic recovery.

Zed Seselja reassured Australia’s aid commitment, a sign of the strengthening Vuvale partnership between the two countries.

The Australian government is committing $600m (US$453 million) to assist Pacific Island countries including Fiji.

Seselja said Australia feels it’s their moral obligation to assist Pacific Island countries in curbing COVID-19 as it is the pathway to economic recovery.

“Our commitment across the Pacific is around $600m (US$453 million) or more in assistance when it comes to the delivery. It is a substantial financial commitment but we see it as a morale necessity for Australia to do this.”

He said they’ve supported Fiji in various ways and will continue to do so in the future.

“But the Prime Minister says it is also an economic necessity and it is important that our entire region is protected from COVID-19 so that we are all protected. The economic impact and likewise when it comes to our family and friends in the Pacific, we want to work with you to ensure everyone in the Pacific is important”.

The Fijian Government through the Ministry of Health is working tirelessly to vaccinate the country’s targeted population.

Australia will be providing 750,000 more doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the near future as part of its one million doses committed to Fiji.

Meanwhile, a second consignment of personal protective equipment and medical supplies has arrived from New Zealand to support Fiji’s COVID-19 containment efforts.

New Zealand High Commissioner to Fiji, Jonathan Curr says over 13 tonnes of medical PPE worth $700,000 (US$491,000) has been sent from Auckland to further boost the Ministry of Health capacity to fight the virus.

This follows the initial deployment of three tonnes of PPE worth $200,000 (US$140,000) sent in May.

Curr said Aotearoa New Zealand is a close friend of Fiji and as natural partners they come to each other’s assistance during these challenging times.

He said their priority is to work in solidarity by sharing resources and supporting the whanau in the COVID-19 response.

Curr said more medical PPE and supplies from New Zealand will aid the health system’s preparedness and boost testing and surveillance efforts.

PPE for healthcare workers includes gowns, face shields, goggles, gloves, disposable face masks, shoe covers, bouffant caps and other supplies such as infrared thermometer, anti-bacterial tabs, biohazard bags, swab kits and many more.

This support is complemented by an additional $14 million (US$9.8 million) to support the Fijian Government’s COVID-19 response and civil society organisations working with vulnerable households, as announced on 21 June by Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta.

New Zealand has also partnered with Australia to deploy a Medical Assistance Team to work alongside the Ministry of Health and Medical Services to provide immediate support for health system management and infection prevention control.

The other areas of support include procuring a RT-PCR testing machine and necessary consumables for Fiji Centre of Disease Control to expand its testing capacity.

Supplies for airvos and ventilators were also shipped from New Zealand to facilitate hospital preparedness.

SOURCE: FBC NEWS/PACNEWS