.FSM Health Secretary Livingston Taulung and Foreign Affairs Deputy Secretary Ricky F. Cantero receive Chinese Ambassador Huang Zheng on July 13, 2020. Photo courtesy of FSMIS
Palikir, Pohnpei— The Federated States of Micronesia has received additional Covid-19 protection supply from China, which also promised to supply vaccine to the Pacific nation once it becomes available.
According to the FSM Information Office, FSM officials received 10 boxes of personal protection equipment (PPE) from Chinese Ambassador Huang Zheng on July 24.
Health and Social Affairs Secretary Livingston A. Taulung and Foreign Affairs Deputy Secretary Ricky F. Cantero received the PPE supply donated by Shandong Province.
“We will do everything we can to help the FSM’s people to win this global battle against this global Pandemic, which is the common enemy of humankind,” Huang said in his remarks.
“When the development and deployment of [a] vaccine is available in China, we will make it an international public good for everyone. …It will be offered as assistance to developing countries, including the FSM, who need these vaccines the most.”
Taulung, who also chairs the FSM Covid-9 Task Force, said the assistance from Shandong will supplement and complement what China has already provided earlier.
“I am very pleased to hear that your government is working very hard to make sure that a vaccine is
produced and then shared with the rest of the world,” Taulung told Huang.
China's Covid-19 related assistance to the FSM is approximately $320,000, with $170,000 in cash donations to the FSM national government and Pohnpei state government and the remaining $150,000 through medical supplies.
The FSM national government said it is deeply appreciative of Chinese assistance in helping the nation to prevent Covid-19’s arrival and/or mitigating its affects should it arrive.
China and the FSM will mark 31 years of diplomatic relations on Sept. 11.
FSM also earlier received Covid-19 assistance from the U.S. government under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program.
The PUA program provides temporary financial benefits to individuals whose employment or self- employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of Covid-19.
On July 13, FSM distributed the 65 PUA checks, with an average payout of $4,615, amounting to a total of $300,000.
More than 1,000 applications for the PUA program have been received thus far. The FSM national government projects more than 3,000 total applications for the PUA program, representing approximately 20 percent of the nation’s formal labor force.
In his remarks, FSM President David Panuelo the FSM has been introducing a series of social protection programs to assist its citizens during the pandemic crisis.
“No person should have to suffer the indignity of hunger, or an income insufficient to take care of their family,” Panuelo said. “I thank the United States for their assistance in this program, and thank all of you for your patience and understanding as the FSM government undertakes special procedures to partner with the U.S. for the purpose of the PUA program.”