The Director of the Health department is very concerned about the health of the Niue patients on medical referral to New Zealand who have not been able to leave the island because of the lack of vouchers to New Zealand quarantine facilities.
Dr. Akauola told BCN news that they are still struggling to secure vouchers for their patients. “When we secure the appointment but don’t get the voucher, that means that we have to re-arrange with the doctors and clinics in Auckland to push their appointment back until they get their vouchers.
The Director says that he is very worried “If something happens to these patients then I will be very very sad because we have done our very best but because of this voucher situation, they can’t go”.
In January several patients with conditions ranging from eye diseases to cases such as lumps suspected of cancer were not able to get on the fortnightly flight to New Zealand.
Today, Dr. Akauola told BCN news that they now have a case with heart complications due to rheumatic fever who needs to go on the next flight but he is not confident that they will be able to get vouchers.
Which is why he is calling on the authorities of both the Niue and New Zealand governments to do something to address this issue and hope for a faster determination of the one way quarantine free travel for passengers from Niue to New Zealand.
“A request and a cry from our hearts but we sincerely hope that one way quarantine free travel should start. Anything that we can by-pass this voucher business then it will be a great help for our patients”.
The Niuefoou hospital is limited in diagnosis and specialist options of many health conditions which is why many of Niue’s patients are referred to New Zealand.
Dr. Akauola first raised this with BCN news last year when the voucher system was first introduced by New Zealand authorities that all passengers arriving into New Zealand must secure a voucher for accommodation at their quarantine facilities before they can get on the plane.
Niue is a Realm country of New Zealand remains one of the few countries in the world without a case of COVID 19 since the pandemic started. The other realm country, the Cook Islands has already started quarantine free travel to New Zealand two weeks ago but Niue is still waiting for the go-ahead to start quarantine free travel.