21 March, 2021
The delivery of the PPE follows the Government’s announcement on Friday that New Zealand is providing additional support to PNG following the spike in COVID-19 cases there.
New Zealand has supplies of PPE in Auckland, ready to deploy to Pacific countries as required. The delivery of PPE was based on PNG’s assessment of its priorities and needs. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has arranged for eight tonnes of PPE for PNG, which is enough for clinical teams to treat 1000 COVID-19 cases. Half was taken to PNG yesterday with a second flight to PNG being planned.
The PPE includes hand sanitiser, goggles, biohazard bags, thermometers, gloves, gowns and surgical face masks.
RNZAF Air Component Commander Air Commodore Shaun Sexton said aircrew on the RNZAF Boeing 757 successfully completed a contactless delivery on Saturday.
“Our personnel have robust COVID-19 prevention procedures in place and we are well versed in contactless delivery of essential equipment, including when taking emergency relief supplies to Pacific countries following tropical cyclones. The NZDF always stands ready to assist our Pacific neighbours in times of need.’’
The cargo was sanitised in New Zealand before being loaded on to the aircraft. It was offloaded from the aircraft on to the tarmac at Port Moresby International Airport, for collection by PNG workers after RNZAF personnel were clear of the site.
Aircrew on RNZAF flights undergo a range of measures to prevent any potential spread of COVID-19 including health screening prior to departure, COVID-19 swab testing, hand washing/hand sanitising, wearing face masks and gloves, and physical distancing.