The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) has welcomed the government’s move to provide 10,000 vaccines a week to Melanesian countries and Timor-Leste.
The response to the Papua New Guinea (PNG) epidemic also includes a further health assistance package.
A recent poll conducted by YouGov early this month showed that 84 per cent of Australians want the government to support PNG in helping them eradicate the spread of COVID-19.
“The Australian Government is swinging behind our friends in PNG. This is another critical step to tackling the epidemic,” ACFID CEO, Marc Purcell said in a statement.
“PNG cases of COVID-19 have doubled in 16 days and in the last week, and according to report two of the six confirmed deaths from COVID-19 in the Eastern Highlands were health workers.”
Despite low testing rates, Australian epidemiologists have estimated cases in PNG may reach one million by next month.
“Australia’s support for the health systems and the supply of equipment, like testing kits, will be critical in keeping health facilities going and getting a better grasp on the transmission of the virus.”
The peak body commissioned the YouGov polling to test public support for helping PNG.
The survey of 1025 Australians from April 1 to 6 found 84 per cent either ’strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ agree that the government should be supporting PNG to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
“The polling shows Australia is a generous and fair-minded nation. We are willing to help out our mates in tough times,” Purcell said.