SUVA, 10 AUGUST 2020 (FIJI LIVE) — The coronavirus pandemic has shown how inadequate health facilities are across the region, says Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat Secretary-general Dame Meg Taylor.
Dame Meh made the comment during an online workshop last week, saying there was a need for more investment in health infrastructure to prepare for future health disasters.
She said the inadequate health facilities have deepened socio-economic impacts on economies as regional governments have had to come up with stringent action to contain the pandemic.
She said many countries are forecasting a substantial contraction in their economies with Fiji’s economy expected to over 21.1 per cent.
Dame Meg said border closures in many regional countries have resulted in a massive decline in revenue for businesses.
“Border closures have resulted in the temporary shutdown of Pacific airports, grounding of national airlines, staff retrenchment, winding up of businesses and wiping out of customers.”
“Tourism dependent nations foreign exchange earnings, generated from their tourism sector, are facing the reality that it has come to a sudden stop and may take decades to recover.”
Dame Meg said civil societies are reporting an increase in hunger, malnutrition, gender based violence and poverty.
“I think that unemployment is going to be hard for people who have relied on cash income and governments have tried to find all different ways of being able to support those who are dependent on the cash economy.”
“I think there are only a few of our countries that have sufficient safety nets while others have been relying on those who work to be able to support others,” she said…PACNEWS