A shipment of US government-funded medical supplies has left Auckland this afternoon bound for Samoa.
The supplies included nearly 100,000 pairs of gloves, tens of thousands of masks, hundreds of surgical gowns, and huge volumes of hand sanitiser
The US Ambassador to both Samoa and New Zealand, Scott Brown, said the shipment came in response to a request from Samoa's government.
He said although Samoa was currently Covid-free, Samoa sought help in procuring medical supplies to be on standby in case the coronavirus reached the country.
Brown said the supplies would help protect healthcare workers should they be called upon to put their lives at risk to treat Covid patients.
"We're happy to help and the U.S. Department of Defense through US INDOPACOM (the US military's Indo-Pacific regional command) stepped up to get it done."
A release from the US embassy in Wellington said that worldwide the US government had given more than $US20 billion in Covid-related assistance.
"Today's shipment comes in addition to the $US24.2 million that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has already provided to our NGO partners to help prepare and respond to Covid in the South Pacific," the ambassador explained.
The ship carrying these supplies was due to arrive in Apia on 5 October.