Australian Greens Senator for NSW and International Development spokesperson Dr Mehreen Faruqi has called on the Australian Government to act immediately and increase funding to Pacific countries for COVID-19 support, in response to reports that infection figures have more than doubled since last week. Another death was reported in Guam yesterday.
Senator Faruqi said:
“Australia must not forget its Pacific neighbours in this public health crisis. Health systems in the region are already at risk of stretching to breaking point, and a full-blown outbreak could cause a serious economic disaster. A targeted increase in funding is needed right now.
“We have a responsibility to ensure our neighbours have the means to stop the spread. Australia should release new targeted funding to add capacity to their health systems and quarantine facilities, and provide much needed equipment for medical staff.
“Where is the International Development Minister on this? The last media statement from the Minister came almost a month ago when there wasn’t a single reported case in the Pacific. We’re now looking at numbers doubling since last week, only to be met with silence from this Government.
“Stopping the spread should be a key focus in Australia’s work with the Pacific nations, as the health and economic consequences of an outbreak would be disastrous for already vulnerable nations,” she said.