Pacific

NZ Speaker wants better appreciation of Pacific

According to Trevor Mallard, the Pacific parliaments programme, Tai a Kiwa, is a good vehicle for this.

Historically, Wellington has not had a good relationship with Pacific parliaments, said Mr Mallard, and had looked to the UK, the US, Australia and more recently to Asia.

He said it was why he had pushed for Speaker-led parliamentary exchanges in the region, before the Tai a Kiwa programme which was formalised a year ago.

"Firstly, up to Vanuatu and the Solomons," he said.

Pacific caught in balancing act due to Covid-19 efforts

The WHO's Angela Merianos said new initiatives like the Pacific Islands Forum's fast-track humanitarian pathway are helping these efforts.

Dr Merianos leads a new space for more than 20 agencies joining forces against Covid-19 in the Pacific.

She said the team are well aware of the impact of restrictions on tourism-dependent economies.

"I think we really have to again work collectively watch this space, make sure that we're balancing the interest of public health and human safety."

EU will mobilise and redirect €119 million to aid Pacific combat COVID-19

Fifteen partner Pacific islands countries and four European Overseas Countries and Territories will benefit from this support.

The EU action will focus on strengthening partner countries’ health, water and sanitation systems and their research and preparedness capacities to deal with the pandemic, as well as mitigating its socioeconomic impact.

Free support for 'vulnerable' businesses in Pacific region

Business Link Pacific, a programme funded by the New Zealand government, is available for small to medium businesses made up of five to fifty employees in Vanuatu, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands and the Cook Islands. 

Pacific businesses are particularly exposed because of global tighter border restrictions and plummeting demands to travel.

Business Link Pacific Director Steve Knapp says: "Pacific small businesses are vulnerable because they're working in quite small markets and are often reliant on tourism and overseas businesses."

Waiting game as Pacific lags on Covid19 testing

Although only a handful of New Zealand's Pacific neighbours were able to do such testing there were plans to change that.

Anyone who's had the Covid-19 test in New Zealand had their results back within a day or two.

For Pacific neighbours, including the Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga, that wait for results can take a week or more.

Covid-19 testing requires laboratory facilities which only exist in five Pacific locations, including Fiji and Papua New Guinea.

Concerns Covid-19 stresses could increase domestic violence in Pacific

A family advocate in Tonga said the national lockdown and closing of borders had added stress to many households.

Tonga is under a State of Emergency as the government attempted to keep the country Covid-19 free.

Tonga's Women & Children Crisis Centre Director, 'Ofa Guttenbeil Likiliki, said being in confinement could mean those already in violent relationships, could have their situation exacerbated.

She said the community would start to feel the economic crunch of the pandemic measures.

COVID-19: Pacific Community Updates

Globally, nations are taking actions to reduce and control the spread of the virus. 

Between 31 March and 03 April 2020, 36 new cases have been confirmed in the Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs).

As of 03 April 2020, 6 countries (Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas (CNMI), Papua New Guinea, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam and New Caledonia) in the PICTs have reported 153 cases including 4 deaths, excluding the number of cases from USS Theodore Roosevelt currently docked in Guam.

 

In-country COVID-19 testing for 17 Pacific Island countries expected soon

According to the Director of the Public Health Division of the Pacific Community (SPC) Paula Vivili, only five countries currently are able to offer in-country testing.

These countries are Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea

Pacific must be prepared for long battle with coronavirus-Op piece PIPSO's Stephen Lyon

A radio interview with NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on New Zealand’s Newstalk ZB (0740 09/02/20) it seems to indicate the New Zealand Government has not learned from the measles epidemic in Samoa nor have they accepted the criticisms of their own Ministry of Health. And that head in the sand attitude has been continued with this far more deadly new disease.

NZ virus case may mean ban on Pacific flights, government told

There are fears the coronavirus could spell a repeat of an epidemic of measles that spread from New Zealand to Samoa, where it has killed 83 people and made nearly 6000 ill since October.

Samoa's Ministry of Health has already confirmed that two Samoan sailors are in quarantine for 14 days at the Faleolo District Hospital amid fears they might be carrying China's coronavirus.

Samoa has stopped direct flights from China to reduce the risk of introducing the coronavirus.