A number of business customers have expressed concerns around vaccination hesitancy, which has hindered business prospects during this Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the BSP Pacific Economic and Market Insights - June Quarter, 2021, it is important that government and businesses work on approaches to address vaccination hesitancy as a priority.
BSP Group General Manager- Corporate Banking, Peter Beswick said, “particularly with the Covid-19 Delta Variant lifting infection rates regionally, it has been the catalyst for domestic travel restrictions which hindered business activities. Unless vaccinated, travel is limited to essential business and emergency only.”
“The closure of Pacific Island countries to the rest of the world has allowed several countries in the region to maintain a Covid-19 free status. However, the lack of movement of people and goods is causing economic hardship. As has been Cook Island’s experience, there is hope that quarantine-free travel will be established in the coming months with other Pacific Island countries that are either Covid-19 free or have brought the virus under control,” said Beswick.
He added that; “furthermore, PNG’s international travel quarantine requirements were recently increased from 7 days of home quarantine to 21 days at an approved quarantine facility.”
Despite ongoing concerns, PNG businesses are looking to participate both directly and indirectly in some of the Government infrastructure initiatives to create significant opportunities.
These infrastructure initiatives includes the K582 million package commitment of Australian and PNG Government’s Pacific step-up initiative, the K146 million Lombrum Naval Base project, the K1.1 billion national port, rehabilitation program, the PNG Electrification Partnership with Australia, Japan, the United States and New Zealand 70% coverage by 2030, and also the K692 million JICA & NAC Nadzab Airport Redevelopment.”
Encouragingly, vaccination rollouts are underway with health experts speculating that once vaccinated, the coronavirus may be treated as a simple cold. The vaccine rollouts are ongoing in the Pacific thanks to international partner donations.
A higher vaccination rate will slow the pandemic, reduce loss of life and drive economic recovery in the near future, but vaccine hesitancy is a major hurdle.