Aotearoa New Zealand is sending a medical team and supplies to Niue to help it respond to new cases of COVID-19, following the opening of its border to quarantine-free travel last week.
Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare have announced a Medical Assistance Team will head to Niue on a NZ Defence Force C-130 Hercules tomorrow, after the Niuean government requested New Zealand support.
The first quarantine-free passenger flight from New Zealand arrived in Niue on 27th June, and positive cases were detected the following day as part of mandatory day-one testing for the passengers.
“Niue has had considerable success in keeping out COVID-19. We know from our own experiences how challenging it is to deal with this virus,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
“Aotearoa New Zealand has provided support to Niue since the outset of the pandemic, including economic support, assistance for its vaccine programme, support from a principal health adviser, and advice across health and border policy settings.
“Niue has enviable vaccination rates. Around 99 percent of those aged over five years are double vaccinated, and 93 percent of those over 18 years are boosted. These vaccination rates will help provide a strong defence against this virus.
“In line with our shared planning for a response, a public health physician from the Polynesian Health Corridors programme and a laboratory technician from Pacific Pathology Training Centre are travelling to Niue today,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
“Tomorrow, a New Zealand Medical Assistance Team of doctors, nurses and logistics personnel will be deployed on the NZDF Hercules to support the Niuean health system. Personal protective equipment (PPE) and additional rapid antigen tests are also being supplied to supplement Niue’s existing stores,” Peeni Henare said.
“In addition, a New Zealand Defence Force team of five personnel will also travel to Niue to provide medical planning and logistics expertise to directly support the Niuean Government’s response.
“The NZDF always stands ready to work alongside our partners across the Pacific, and New Zealanders can be proud that our Defence Force will play its part as Niue responds to the increase in COVID-19 cases,” Peeni Henare said.
“All New Zealand-based travellers in Niue should follow local guidance and register their details with www.safetravel.govt.nz. Tourists and business travellers to Niue are required to have travel insurance to meet costs for medical treatment and travel delays. They must stay in place if isolating. We are committed to supporting Niue as it responds to this outbreak,” Nanaia Mahuta said.