Kaniva mediawatch August 28, 2020

Vaccine concerns

The General Secretary of the Pacific Churches Conference Reverend James Bhagwan said this week it was important for churches to discuss the ethical implications of cell lines from an electively aborted foetus being used in the development of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Rev Bhagwan was responding to comments from the Anglican archbishop of Sydney that the use of foetal material raised serious ethical issues.

He said he expected some Pacific churches would share similar concerns.

“The key issue for us [is] to have a proper understanding of the science of the material used and at the same time recognizing that different denominations may have their own viewpoint so there may be some difference of opinion as well,” he said.

“We have diverse range of doctrines within our PCC membership which range from life at conception to what’s the most important thing in terms of saving lives,” he said.

“I think this should not be an emotional conversation but I would encourage as much conversation as possible.”

Workers in Australia

Tongan workers may be able to enter Australia again after the Australian Government agreed that the Seasonal Workers Program and the Pacific Labour Scheme would be able to resume,

Workers will have to quarantine when they arrive.

Tonga joined the Pacific Labour scheme last year. Tongans make up nearly half of the 31,000 workers in the Seasonal Worker Programme.

Australian state and territory governments will have to sign up to the new arrangement, which means there could still be a long wait before large numbers of people are able to travel to Australia.

“Many regions are expecting above average crop production following good rains,” Australia’s Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said.

“But farmers can’t fill harvest jobs because of Covid-19 travel restrictions, with people prevented from moving across state borders, overseas workers and working holiday makers in scarce supply.”

Support for families

There is no shame in asking for help during the Covid-19 crisis, John Kiria from the Mt Wellington Integrated Health Centre in Auckland said this week.

He said more than 13,000 Pacific families in New Zealand had received support from various Pacific agencies since the first outbreak of the virus in March.

“We don’t know how long this pandemic will last so our Pasifika community needs to know, we are here to lean on if they need our support.”

He said help was also available to Pacific people who had been displaced in New Zealand due to the closure of their country’s borders.

The second outbreak had prompted the centre to provide families with grocery vouchers rather than food packages.

The centre could also refer families if they needed mental, physical and spiritual support.

To access a Whanau Ora Family Support Package, please click here.

Information for Pacific Communities

The New Zealand Government has launched a website dedicated to providing all the latest updates regarding COVD-19. See below

Unite against COVID-19 | For Pacific communities in Aotearoa, NZ

Other websites providing up to date information on COVID-19 and other relevant matters, including travel restrictions can be accessed by clicking these links:

NZ Ministry of Health

Safe Travel NZ

World Health Organisation (WHO) Pacific division

SPC – COVID-19: Pacific Community Updates

For New Zealand exporters NZTE has also launched their own COVID-19 site.

Fiji flight

The next repatriation flight from Fiji may arrive in Tonga this Saturday, Health Minister  Dr ‘Amelia Tu’ipulotu said earlier this week.

It is understood that if it occurs, the flight would bring in about 60 to 70 passengers from Fiji and the Solomon Islands.


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