An international agreement signed on Monday will support health care sector responses to COVID-19 within the Pacific.
The European Union, the planet Health Organization, and therefore the United Nations World Food Programme signed the agreement, which followed the finance deal signed by the ECU Union and therefore the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat to repurpose COVID-19 funding for the Pacific.
Under the deal, the European Union will contribute over $24 million to support Cook Islands, Kiribati, Fiji, the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. The funding includes the World Health Organization’s contribution of $500,000.
“In response to COVID-19 in the Pacific, the priorities of the European Union are to address its health and socio-economic impact,” said Sujiro Seam, the European Union ambassador to Fiji and the Pacific, at the signing ceremony in Suva.
The agreement allocates $20 million euro to strengthen the medical systems of Pacific island countries
The agreement has five main outcomes:
- Increased readiness of countries for COVID-19 responses with special attention to the vulnerable;
- Strengthened ability to test, detect, and monitor for COVID-19 presence in partner countries;
- Reduced risk of spread and excess morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 and other health issues;
- Improved collaboration between environment, animal, and public health sectors; and
- Efficient logistics and delivery mechanism for COVID-19 response.
To date, the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu have yet to report a confirmed case of COVID-19. Fiji has gone more than 250 days without reporting a case of COVID-19 in the community.
The Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu have occasionally reported cases in travelers arriving from overseas, picked up through border quarantine.