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Australia vaccine diplomacy tested as COVID slams Papua New Guinea

Vying with China for Pacific influence, Quad member aims to win over skeptics

Australian officials deliver thousands of initial AstraZeneca vaccine doses to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, on March 23.   © AFP/Jiji

SYDNEY -- Papua New Guinea long appeared to have escaped the worst of the coronavirus crisis. But a surge in cases since February has brought the remote Pacific island's largest hospital to the brink of collapse.

For the nation's much larger neighbor, Australia, the outbreak is considered a serious threat as well as a critical moment in a broader "vaccine diplomacy" campaign.

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