News Item

Coronavirus support for Pacific

News 5 Mar 2020

RT HON WINSTON PETERS: Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand is partnering with countries in the Pacific to ensure they are prepared for, and able to respond to the global threat of Coronavirus (COVID - 19).

"There are currently no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Pacific, but it is vital that New Zealand is working hard in partnership with our neighbours to ensure the region is safe and as prepared as can be," Mr Peters said.

New Zealand is jointly funding the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Pacific regional coronavirus response plan, in partnership with Australia, in response to requests for assistance from Pacific island countries.

New Zealand is providing $1 million to the WHO in Suva to support their Pacific Action Plan for COVID-19 preparedness and response.

The New Zealand Government has also signed a contract with the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) for countries in the South Pacific to send samples of potential COVID-19 cases to ESR's laboratory in New Zealand for testing, free of charge.

Supporting the Realm countries has been another focus of New Zealand's preparations related to Coronavirus.

"In partnership with WHO, New Zealand has deployed a team to Cook Islands to support COVID-19 preparedness, with further joint trips planned to Tokelau and Niue from next week," Mr Peters said.

Information on travelling to the Pacific (Safe Travel guide)

Pacific island countries are introducing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to the Pacific. All travellers to the Pacific should check the entry requirements for their destinations before travelling.

Samoa has reduced the frequency of international flights from New Zealand to Samoa. Contact your airline, travel agent, accommodation provider and travel insurance provider to confirm your travel and related arrangements. Airlines and other travel providers will have the most up-to-date information about flight availability.

Travellers entering Samoa from or transiting through New Zealand are required to undergo a medical examination by a Registered Medical Practitioner within three days before arrival. This medical clearance report will be required at check-in prior to the issuing of a boarding pass.

Image: Medical staff at work in a hospital on the Marshall Islands. Source: ADB / CC BY-NC-ND