News Item

We must protect our Pacific families as COVID hits potential second wave

News 12 Aug 2020

With a new outbreak of COVID in South Auckland, where New Zealand’s largest Pacific population lives, PCF Chair Fiso John Fiso, has called on agencies and authorities to ensure that these communities are protected.

“Many households in South Auckland, where two thirds of our nation’s Pacific population live, have multiple families living under one roof in a cold, unhealthy house; many live on the breadline; many do not access healthcare when they need to due to fear and cost,” said Mr Fiso.

“It is my worst fear that we have a substantial COVID outbreak in these high density, high needs - and therefore high risk - areas. Our Government should share this concern.

“We all know that during the last lockdown there was not sufficient PPE gear and that it took too long for food and care packages distribution to kick in.

“We simply cannot allow this to happen if the pandemic breaks out.

“I call on our Government to ensure that these families are urgently considered in any pandemic response plan.

“It is often our Pacific people here in New Zealand who put themselves on the front line as health workers, carers, airport staff, security personnel and now, we have a case of COVID among a family in South Auckland.

Yesterday, I urged for caution in opening a travel bubble with the Cook Islands and for families to be put at the heart of decision making to ensure we consider people as well as the economy and trade. I called for our communities here and across the Pacific to be at centre of all the decision making.

“This has become an even starker necessity now,” concludes Mr Fiso.

Image: Pop-up testing centre in Otara, Auckland reopened today as a result of four new COVID-19 cases that have emerged in South Auckland. Source: South Seas Healthcare Facebook page