A medical and logistics support team has touched down in Papua New Guinea to assist with the nation’s COVID-19 crisis.
Associate Foreign Minister, Aupito William Sio said the PNG Government had formally requested humanitarian and medical support from partner governments to respond to the health crisis, with rising case numbers, hospitalisations and deaths due to the current Delta surge.
“We are deeply saddened by the increasing loss of lives in Papua New Guinea due to the pandemic,” Minister Sio said.
“New Zealand remains committed to supporting our Pacific neighbours to respond to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. By working closely with our partners in the region, we can make a tangible contribution to COVID-19 resilience.”
A logistics component comprising two New Zealand Defence Force logisticians and an Environmental Health Officer will support the PNG National Control Centre in Port Moresby, while a clinical component comprising two doctors and three nurses from private company Respond Global, two Fire and Emergency New Zealand logisticians and a representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will be based in Bougainville to support the Bougainville Department of Health.
Since the first COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, New Zealand has provided over $14 million in COVID-19 related support to PNG. This support has included personal protective equipment for health personnel, procurement of medical equipment for a new COVID-19 field hospital, supporting transportation of COVID-19 supplies to remote areas, and funding United Nations and non-government organisations’ response efforts.
The majority of the support team departed yesterday on a Defence aircraft and will be based in PNG for approximately one month, the Minister confirmed.