Australia's Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Alex Hawke, has announced that Australia will provide technical assistance and supplies to the Pacific and Timor Leste to deal with the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID‑19). This includes personal protective equipment for health workers and assistance to improve laboratory diagnosis. Australia is also helping with surveillance, planning, and response budgeting.
Assistance to the Pacific will come from within Australia’s existing development assistance program. Funding is being drawn from both the humanitarian emergency budget and bilateral country programs.
Experts recommend that Australia provide further ongoing technical assistance and medical supplies to help Pacific nations to deal with COVID-19, as well as suggesting the need for longer-term financial assistance to the region, possibly through loans.