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Coronavirus [COVID-19] is now affecting 75 countries, with the total number of cases over 90,000 and the global death toll at more than 3000.
To date, there are no confirmed cases in the Pacific islands or Timor-Leste. However, Australia remains vigilant, especially as the possibility of a global pandemic is now widely acknowledged.
Australia is working in partnership with neighbouring countries to keep our region safe from coronavirus.
“We have responded quickly to a range of early requests for assistance from our Pacific partners for laboratory diagnosis, personal protective equipment for healthcare workers, risk communication strategies, and national response planning and budgeting.
“We are providing personal protective equipment and medical supplies for healthcare workers in Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Fiji.
“We are also helping Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Palau, Tonga, the Federated States of Micronesia and Fiji with planning, surveillance, risk communication and case management,” a joint statement from the Australian government said.
Australia’s Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has deployed specialist advisers to work with the World Health Organisation and the Pacific Community in Suva.
“They are also working with the health ministries of Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tuvalu, and are undertaking contingency planning to provide a surge clinical response capacity in the event of an outbreak.
“Australia and New Zealand are jointly funding the WHO’s Pacific regional coronavirus response plan.
“Australia’s contribution is helping Pacific island countries to access medical supplies from the WHO’s global and regional stockpiles and technical advice in areas such as infection prevention and control, and clinical management.
“We are supporting some of Australia’s premier health and medical research institutions to work with regional partners on infectious disease prevention, detection and control. The Doherty Institute, the Menzies School of Health Research, the University of Newcastle and the Australian National University will lead assistance in laboratory strengthening, disease surveillance, field epidemiology and infection prevention and control,” the statement said.
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