Labor supports the Morrison Government’s announcement of new measures to assist Papua New Guinea in the wake of the sharp increase of COVID-19 cases in the Pacific nation.
Today’s decisions reflect Labor’s calls for urgent action to tackle the Papua New Guinea outbreak, which is not only jeopardising the health of people in our nearest neighbour at risk but also increasing the risk to Australians.
The announcement that Australia will supply 8,000 vaccine doses, Personal Protective Equipment and other medical equipment and deploy an AUSMAT team needs to be implemented as a matter of urgency.
Labor has also called for the Government to provide Papua New Guinea with more rapid testing kits to boost testing rates and increased health infrastructure to help with testing and vaccination.
If there is not a speedy response from AstraZeneca and European authorities to Australia’s request to deliver one million doses to Papua New Guinea, the Government should also consider the recommendation by health experts to increase the number of vaccine doses from Australian stocks to 20,000.
This assistance for our Pacific neighbour is not only the right thing to do from a humanitarian perspective, it is also in Australia’s national interest to provide whatever support is necessary to help prevent an outbreak in our country.
The Morrison Government must stay on top of the COVID-19 outbreak in Papua New Guinea and take whatever proactive steps are necessary to stop the spread of this virus.