The 2023 Pacific Games is forecasted to become a major economic booster for the country and preparations to achieve the goal cannot be disturbed regardless of the covid-19 situation in the country.
Dealing with Covid-19 and dealing with the Pacific games infrastructures at the same time are equally important issues for the Government and Donor partners and the Government is re-strategizing to balance advancing these two important areas.
Government and Donor funding for the Games infrastructures is fixed and the Government is working closely with development partners and other multi-lateral Agencies to deal with covid-19 in a more strategic manner.
“While attention is now on preventing deaths and illness and slowing down covid-19 transmission across the country, it is also important not to lose vision on growing the local economy and the Pacific Games is one of the country’s economic driver in the long run,” a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister said in response to questions by Opposition Leader Mathew Wale Friday last week.
The statement said the suggestion by Wale that building the Games infrastructure when health infrastructure is urgently needed reflects gross negligence and irresponsible governance by the Government is a wild guess and not true.
The Government remains committed to deal with covid-19 with external support while keeping the economy running under its upcoming Community Transmission Response Policy.
Rather than focusing on just minimizing the spread of the virus in the communities given the speed at which transmission has already occurred, objectives need to focus on risk mitigation, controlling transmission, preventing deaths and aligning COVID19 safe measures in general, similar to what has been done with Malaria, Dengue, Diabetes and other severe Health threats that our society has adapted to and overcome as part of daily life.
A multi- branched approach has been developed with a number of strategies focusing on health, economy, people and operations is proposed to address the adverse outcomes of COVID19.
It emphasizes controlled movement of people, distribution of preventative measures (PPE), enhanced testing capacity, vaccination rollout, and immediate improvement of necessary health facilities, prioritizing care for the most vulnerable, support to businesses, reopening of international borders and above all, effective communication, coordination and preparedness for future waves of COVID19.