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Foundation calls for Pacific families' protection

The Pacific Cooperation Foundation [P.C.F.] will aim to protect Pacific families as Auckland braces itself for a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

With a new outbreak of the pandemic in South Auckland, which is resident to New Zealand’s largest Pacific population, P.C.F. Chair John Fiso has urged local agencies and authorities to ensure that Pacific communities are protected. 

“Many households in South Auckland, where two thirds of our nation’s Pacific population live, have multiple families living under one roof in a cold, unhealthy house; many live on the breadline; many do not access healthcare when they need to due to fear and cost,” Mr Fiso said in an interview with the Samoa Observer.

“It is my worst fear that we have a substantial COVID outbreak in these high density, high needs and therefore high risk areas. Our Government should share this concern. 

“We all know that during the last lockdown there was not sufficient P.P.E. [personal protection equipment] gear and that it took too long for food and care packages distribution to kick in.

“We simply cannot allow this to happen if the pandemic breaks out. I call on our Government to ensure that these families are urgently considered in any pandemic response plan."

According to Mr Fiso, Pacific people often have to put themselves on the front line, through their work as health workers, carers, airport staff and security personnel. 

“It is often our Pacific people here in New Zealand who put themselves on the front line as health workers, carers, airport staff, security personal etcetera and now, we have a case of COVID among a family in South Auckland. 

Yesterday, I urged for caution in opening a travel bubble with the Cook Islands and for families to be put at the heart of decision making to ensure we consider people as well as the economy and trade. 

"I called for our communities here and across the Pacific to be at the centre of all the decision making. This has become an even starker necessity now.”

A Samoan, who did not want to be identified and is a front line worker, said it is disheartening that the pandemic has resurfaced again in New Zealand.

"As a frontline worker, I am very saddened with the coronavirus new cases here in South Auckland because I work in one of the hospitals it only means that we will have to be very careful because we also have families to go back to. However, we are still hopeful and praying that this will pass eventually," she added.

The New Zealand Ministry of Health on Thursday afternoon reported 14 new cases of COVID-19, which when added to its active cases brought its total to 36 of which 17 were linked to a recent outbreak, according to a media release published on the Ministry’s website.

“There are also 13 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 to report in the community today. They are all in Auckland and are all linked to the four people from the same family in Auckland previously reported,” stated the Ministry’s media release.

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