New Zealand is ready to help the people of India, as the country continues to deal with an escalating and equally devastating Covid-19 situation.
Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson has signalled that the Government is working closely with Indian officials to establish what we can do to help.
Speaking to TVNZ’S Breakfast show, he said: “It’s awful. Our heart goes out to the people in India.
“Along with the rest of the international community, we’re poised to support India.
“I know a number of countries have already got oxygen and other things coming in and we’ve just got to back the Indian Government and the Indian community to get past this terrible situation they’re in at the moment.”
The situation in India has become crippling – with more than 2000 deaths and 350,000 new Covid cases being reported each day.
Officials, however, believe those numbers are not the true toll.
Having the health system overwhelmed by the sheer number of Covid-19 cases was a real fear for all the world’s countries, Robertson told the AM Show, which is exactly what is playing out in India right now.
Robertson said the vaccination campaign around the world is giving light at the end of the tunnel.
“But clearly we are going to be living with Covid – as a globe – for a significant length of time.”
Travel bubbles with Pacific on the cards
Robertson also gave an indication of more travel bubbles potentially opening up in what he said is the “near future”.
“We’re going to step out the kind of opening you’ve seen with the transtasman bubble- and we’ll look to do that in some of our Pacific neighbouring countries in the near future.”
Those comments come as countries including the Cook Islands, Tonga and Samoa remain completely Covid-free.
“But Covid will be with the world for a long time – and we’ve got to see that vaccination campaign around the globe before that sense of normality comes,” he said.
“This is a pandemic and New Zealand and Australia – we’ve all done really well here and we’re enjoying a lot of freedoms as a result.
“But across the world there is still a lot of death, unfortunately, a lot of cases and a pandemic that still needs very close management.
Fiji issues 'stop shaking hands' mandate
Fiji, however, is dealing with a lockdown after cases emerged from a funeral that has been dubbed as a super-spreader event.
A total of 12 new positive cases have been confirmed there overnight and officials have now issued a “stop shaking hands” warning to locals.
“Stop shaking hands, touching and embracing,” the Fijian Government wrote on its official Facebook page this morning.
“Our greatest hope is in the hands of every Fijian – please, for the fate of our country and those we love, do what we’ve directed you to do.
“Don’t let this opportunity go to waste.”
Robertson acknowledged what is happening in Fiji: “We are supporting our friends in Fiji at a number of levels – both in terms of their Covid response, but their overall budget as well.
“It is concerning and worrying. They’ve taken pretty drastic and dramatic action – which is what you’d expect in a situation like this. No flights going in and out for a period of time.
“But it just reminds us all – doesn’t it – that the risk of Covid isn’t going anywhere.”
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