New Zealand is sending 100,000 vaccine doses and additional financial support to Fiji for nursing staff as the country’s covid-19 death toll passed 250.
Fiji reported 1100 new cases and 13 more deaths today, bringing the total death toll to 254.
Of the deaths, 252 of them have come from the April outbreak of the delta variant of covid-19.
Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said New Zealand paid for 100,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine directly from the Spanish government to meet Fiji’s immediate vaccine needs.
The vaccines were due to arrive today.
“Our thoughts remain with Fiji during this incredibly challenging period,” Mahuta said in a statement.
Earlier this year, the government committed to providing up to 500,000 doses.
Commitment still stands
Mahuta said that commitment still stood.
“AstraZeneca is Fiji’s vaccine of choice and these doses will further support the excellent work Fiji is doing in vaccinating its population.”
Mahuta said the nation’s vaccination drive was coming along.
“Fiji’s vaccination programme is progressing well with 25 percent now fully vaccinated, and first doses provided to 82 percent of the population.
“Our commitment stands and New Zealand will continue to work with Fiji to confirm its remaining vaccine requirements.”
She said the government was also funding for 190 Fiji graduate nurses for a three-month period.
“The recruitment of these nurses not only supports Fiji’s response in the short term, but also contributes to the long-term resilience of the health sector.”
NZ responds to requests
New Zealand has also responded to a range of other requests from Fiji.
“In the last two weeks New Zealand has supported the provision and retrofitting of ambulances and medical equipment, provided funding support to civil society partners and begun delivering 700,000 testing swabs and privacy screens for medical facilities,” Mahuta said.
These initiatives build on previous packages of support New Zealand has provided Fiji, including $40 million of financial assistance, PPE, testing equipment and other relief supplies.
New Zealand has also deployed two rotations of medical personnel to the joint Australia New Zealand Medical Assistance Team.
“We remain in close contact with the government of Fiji and civil society partners to support further requests,” Mahuta said.
This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.