Fine Tu'itupou-Arnold: Get safeguards in place first

Tuesday May 26, 2020 Written by Fine Tu'itupou-Arnold, Red Cross Published in Editorials
Fine Tu'itupou-Arnold. Fine Tu'itupou-Arnold.

OPINION: From a humanitarian point of view, continued government support for people’s lives and livelihoods is very important in times like this. Right now, none of us know whether this second phase of assistance will be enough, because of the unpredictability of the situation we are in.

Speaking personally, I think it’s a great package and I think we need to look around the world and remember, we have not reached the breaking point of people dying of hunger here or of massive queues at food banks.

With only limited hospital and health resources in-country, as a matter of our immediate response, it is important that people are safe from the virus. Once this is secured, we need to make sure that in the long run that their livelihoods are secured.

Given the importance of tourism for our economy, it is obvious that at some stage we will have to re-open our borders. However, this is where it gets tricky.

I feel strongly that we should not reopen the border until we have a very good response plan in place, that is well-resourced.  We need a Plan A, a Plan B and a Plan C; if all goes well, there will be nothing to worry about; however, it could all go very wrong very quickly if we are not prepared.

We vitally need proper resourcing - more ventilators, ICU units, more PPEs etc – and we need the proper monitoring – enhanced testing – and back up plans. We need all this in place before we re-open the borders.

And for all those reasons, we need to keep up the work of buy-in to social distancing, PPE and ongoing community behaviours.

The next three months are going to be tough – we have not felt the full economic impact of this pandemic.

For this reason, I hope that this economic response plan will continue to flow and able to take us through until our economy is recovered well. At the same time, I pray that we will be able to secure livelihoods and save our economy without having to sacrifice lives.

Leave a comment