A New Zealand Medical Assistance Team of doctors, nurses and logistics personnel will travel to Niue today on a NZ Defence Force C-130 Hercules 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 announced the support, 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.
Minister Mahuta says, “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.
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,” adds Mahuta.
A public health physician from the Polynesian Health Corridors programme and a laboratory technician from Pacific Pathology Training Centre travelled to Niue yesterday. Personal protective equipment (PPE) and additional rapid antigen tests are also being supplied to supplement Niue’s existing stores.
Minister Henare says, “ 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,” says Henare.
Minister Mahuta says New Zealand is committed to supporting Niue as it responds to the outbreak.