Australian aid boost to fight COVID in Pacific

Australian aid boost to fight COVID in Pacific

The Morrison Liberal Government has announced a $500 million boost to Australia’s aid budget, to help nations in the Pacific region roll out access to a COVID vaccine over the next three years.

The funding boost was welcomed by Micah Australia CEO Rev. Tim Costello. He called it, “a historic act of leadership that will promote security, stability and prosperity in our immediate region.”

“Working to support our near neighbours so they can protect themselves against COVID is both smart and humane,” Rev. Costello said.

“Many economies, industries and livelihoods have already been ravaged by the pandemic. But this commitment clears a pathway back.”

The announcement comes after another funding boost for the region’s COVID measures was previously announced, although those funds were made possible through cuts to other areas of Australia’s aid budget.

UnitingWorld’s partners in the Asia-Pacific region have noted that COVID-19 has had a profound effect on people’s livelihoods, as places like Bali have seen a drastic drop in tourism.

Dr Debora Murthy is UnitingWorld’s Southeast Asia Regional Coordinator.

“People here are more worried about having no food and no jobs than about the pandemic,” Dr Murthy said.

“While that’s understandable, cases in Indonesia are still growing – there are more than 3,000 cases in Bali alone, with almost 100,000 across Indonesia. The threat is very real and we’re doing everything we can to share information about stopping the spread, especially among people who rely on traditional markets, where community transmission is highest.”

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