The impact of COVID-19 in the Pacific region is severe. Early comprehensive travel restrictions and domestic measures by Pacific governments have been successful at keeping the numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases low to date.
Strict border measures, combined with lower demand for Pacific exports and a collapse in tourism, have come at a high economic cost. As of August 2020, many countries are under significant fiscal and debt distress, key enabling infrastructure services are under pressure, and many families have reduced household incomes due to job losses, reduced work hours or reductions in remittances. Government revenues are falling at a time when there are increasing demands on expenditure.
- COVID-19 has underscored the importance of regionalism – addressing common challenges together, harnessing shared strengths and delivering practical benefits to all Pacific people.
- Pacific island governments have acted quickly and effectively to contain COVID-19, but lockdown has come at a high social and economic cost.
- Building on our Pacific Step-up, Australia is supporting regional solutions to address economic, environmental, security and social challenges, complementing our bilateral support for Pacific countries.