Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne says Papua New Guinea is clearly at a “point of crisis,” requiring immediate support from Australia and international partners. The Pacific Island nation has continued to grapple with the emerging coronavirus crisis as hospitals risk reaching critical capacity.
The Commonwealth has sent 8,000 vaccines to PNG to assist it with its vaccination program but has requested the European Union free up one million of the 3.8 million vaccines owed to Australia for humanitarian aid. Minister Payne told Sky News that Australia has already
provided a “wide range of support” but recognized that more is needed. We have indicated to the EU we would be grateful to see a million of those vaccines made available for PNG at this crisis time,” she said. “We also know that in our immediate region, Papua New Guinea needs our support, and frankly now needs this international support as well so that we can endeavor to help them in addressing these issues.”