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NZ answers Niue call for COVID-19 help

New Zealand has flown a team of civilian doctors, nurses and defence force personnel to the Pacific island of Niue to help with the country’s COVID-19 outbreak.

Niue, a self-governing state that is in free association with New Zealand, had kept COVID-19 out of the community having largely closed its borders in the early days of the pandemic.

However, following its first quarantine-free flight on June 27 a number of passengers tested positive for the virus.

The NZ defence force said in a statement it had also taken a generator on the flight as Niue had been dealing with power interruptions.

“As a South West Pacific nation, it is an important role for New Zealand’s Defence Force to enable this important support to our neighbours,” Rear Admiral Jim Gilmour, Commander of the Joint Forces New Zealand, said.

In a separate statement the New Zealand government said the decision to send the team followed a request for help from its counterpart in Niue.

Niue, which has a population of roughly 1600, is highly vaccinated.

About 99 per cent of those over the age of five are double vaccinated and 93 per cent of those over 18 have received a booster dose, according to the New Zealand government.

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