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As the covid-19 pandemic continues to impact life as we used to know it, the Australian Government continues to support its neighbours across the Pacific with the deployment of Australian Medical Assistance Teams

The AUSMAT, deployed on behalf of the Australian Government by the Darwin-based National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre, have been busy since March in Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea and in Dili, Timor Leste.

The situation in Papua New Guinea has been challenging with a sustained increase in covid-19 cases and deaths prompting the PNG Government to request support from the Australian Government, which included vaccines, and an AUSMAT.

Australia deployed 20 AUSMAT health and medical specialists to Papua New Guinea to support the Government of PNG’s response to the surge in cases.

The forward team arrived in late March followed by the AUSMAT Bravo team of 17 on 9 April.

AUSMAT worked closely with PNG authorities and the Australian High Commission on the next steps and transitional arrangements.

Australia has continued to support the Government of PNG through the existing health program and through a multitude of additional covid-19 response mechanisms.

The team of 20 remained in place for up to four weeks, until returning to Australia in the first week of May and completing 14 days quarantine in Brisbane before returning to their home states.

An AUSMAT of six was deployed to Dili in Timor Leste following heavy rain, which caused significant flooding in the capital and other parts of the country, including Ainaro, Baucau, Manuhafi, Covalima, Bobonaro, Oecusse and Manatutu over the Easter weekend at the beginning of April.

The damage caused by the floods also coincided with an increased number of covid-19 cases.

During the deployment, the AUSMAT team provided expert technical advice, operational support and coordination to the Timor Leste Ministry of Health.

The team included public health, health operational support and an emergency doctor from Alice Springs.