Overstayers qualify for health care says New Zealand’s Minister for Pacific Peoples

Fakahā 'e he Minisitā Ki he Kakai Pasifiki' ki he Kaniva' MP Aupito William Sio 'oku 'ikai ngata hono faka'atā 'a e kau 'ova' ke nau kau ki he ngaahi tesi 'o e mahaki Koviti-19 ta'etotongi ka 'oku toe faka'atā kinautolu ki he ngaahi tokoni ki he mo'ui 'a Nu'u Sila' (Healthare) 'i he fale mahaki mo e ngaahi kilīniki', lolotonga e loka fakafonua ko eni. 'Oku nau toe 'atā ki he ngaahi tokoni fakame'atokoni 'oku ma'u mei he ngaahi kautaha (providers) 'oku totongi 'e he pule'anga' ke nau fakahoko 'a e tokoni ko ia'.

NZ's Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio

The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio said today overstayers qualify for health care during the Covid 19 epidemic.

Speaking to Kaniva News, Hon. Sio said any Pacific person who was in New Zealand with irregular or illegal status would not be denied testing, or healthcare support for Covid-19.

“With the borders closed, these vulnerable Pacific families should be confident in getting tested if they have any of the symptoms of Covid-19 and will not be denied healthcare support.”

The Minister said Pacific providers that were funded to provide support to vulnerable Pacific families would continue supporting these families.

Overstayers, their families and children are particularly vulnerable in the current crisis.

Many have lost their jobs because of the lockdown and do not have accesss to government financial support.

As Kaniva News reported last night, for many, the Tongan cultural practice of fe’inasi’aki , where families and relatives shared whatever they have when things are hard, is the only hope for these overstayers.

Unfortunately, that often means that families who may already be facing financial difficulties are expected to make unrealistic sacrifices.

It can also mean that families are crowded together in inadequate housing, where it is easier for the virus to spread.

For many overstayers the lockdown, medical and financial worries have created a devastating situation, with calls for help from all over the country.

COVID-19 message especially for our vulnerable Pacific individuals and families who are overstayers currently in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

It is very important for you, your family members and all those within your family bubbles to get tested if you have any of the symptoms for COVID-19 or if you think you have COVID-19.

COVID-19 symptoms include:

·         a cough or

·         a fever or

·         sore throat or

·         shortness of breath

·         loss of sense of smell

“Our expectation as Government is that you will be served and tested for COVID19 regardless of your legal status including if you are an overstayer here in New Zealand when you visit either a Community Based COVID-19 testing station, a GP clinic or any of our hospitals. We must collectively as a country #UniteAgainstCOVID19.” 

“Please remember you can always call Healthline for free from a mobile or landline on 0800 358 5453.

“You can be referred by Healthline or your GP for a free COVID-19 test.

“Many of these Community Testing Stations also allow you to drop in, in person for a free test when you fit within public health’s expanded criteria without an appointment.

“Health workers at the Testing Stations will be moving around to support people while they wait so as not to be with any person long enough to be at risk of COVID-19.

“Health workers who are taking the swabs for testing will be wearing full PPE – mask, gloves, gowns, and eye protection which is the same protection the Ministry of Health advises for primary care staff.

“Patients are given written advice about when to expect their results and what to do next. Most results will be sent out via text message, with other options available to people who don’t have a mobile phone. The expectation is that test results will take up to 5 days to be available.

“Please note Community Testing Stations are only for testing.  They will not be providing medical care or assessment. If any of you are feeling sick or unwell enough where you would normally seek the advice of your doctor you should contact your GP and schedule an appointment please.”

For more information

Immigration consultant vows to share “bread he has” with overstayers as concerns for their well-being amid coronavirus lockdown grows