Coronavirus related developments throughout the Pacific Islands

The total number of Covid-19 cases across the Pacific stands at 314, with new cases reported this week in New Caledonia, Northern Mariana Islands and Guam.

New Zealand is under increasing pressure, both internally and from across the region, to consider Pacific countries as part of its proposed travel ‘bubble’, alongside, or even in place of, Australia. The foreign minister, Winston Peters, initially rejected including Pacific island nations, but later backtracked.

There are growing concerns in some Pacific countries that measures designed to safeguard public health are being used to undermine civil rights and democratic principles.

The Samoa Observer argues the prime minister is using emergency powers to push his own ideological preoccupations by seeking to ban all commercial activity on Sundays.

In Papua New Guinea, the new – but retrospective – public health emergency bill may be the subject of a constitutional appeal by the opposition. The government stands accused of wasting millions of kina in the early days of the crisis and the bill would make oversight of government expenditure more difficult.

A three-country study by Plan International Australia has shown supplies of pads and tampons have dropped, and prices increased, during the coronavirus pandemic, leading women to have to decide between their sanitary needs and food.

Please click here to read the full “Coronavirus in the Pacific: weekly briefing” article published at Guardian, written by Griffith Asia Institute, adjunct researcher, Tess Newton Cain and Dan McGarry.