Covid-19: Emergency financial assistance planned in Pacific

4:48 pm on 26 March 2020

Governments and organisations around the Pacific are looking at ways to financially assist their citizens and people through the Covid-19 crisis.

An extraordinary session of French Polynesia's assembly has been called for tomorrow to vote on a rescue package in the face of the crisis triggered by the Covid-19 outbreak.

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Photo: RNZ

The labour and tourism minister Nicole Bouteau outlined the measures proposed to offset the sudden halt of economic activity.

The proposed amendment had been approved by the assembly commission.

Employers were being asked to provide a list of staff who could keep working remotely or who could use paid leave.

The people whose contracts had been suspended would be eligible for a $US900 indemnity.

The same sum is to be paid out to self-employed people whose work had dried up because of the crisis.

25 people have contracted Covid-19 in French Polynesia.

Reports said the Swiss tourist diagnosed with Covid-19 two weeks ago had moved out of intensive care.

According to the government one of the 25 was still in hospital.

Tongan Reserve Bank offers help

In Tonga, those who've lost jobs or businesses were being encouraged to get in touch with their bank for assistance.

The Reserve Bank's board of governors met this morning where it agreed a range of measures.

In a statement, it said it had s agreed to support the government and economy through the Covid-19 pandemic, with the governor meeting the heads of commercial banks earlier in the week.

They've agreed assistance measures to help struggling businesses - especially the tourism sector - and people who had lost their jobs because of the Covid-19 travel and gathering restrictions.

Principal and interest repayments for the business sector would be waived, and essential services would continue to be provided during the state of emergency in Tonga.

Tonga Reserve Bank

Tonga Reserve Bank Photo: Kaniva Pacific

Niue's Chamber of Commerce promises help

Niue's Chamber of Commerce has pledged $US58,000 to help the island's struggling businesses.

The chamber sent its economic stimulus strategy to the government yesterday.

The premier, Sir Toke Talagi, said further help for the private sector was likely.

The island raised its alert level yesterday and all public sector workers have been sent home for two weeks.