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4 June, 2020, 3:44 pm
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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Outbreak

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Outbreak

By fijivillage
Tuesday 17/03/2020

An in-depth read on COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, and Fiji's state of preparedness as we deal with the virus reaching our shores.


Police await more medical statements in the investigation of Fiji’s first COVID-19 patient

By Iva Danford
Sunday 31/05/2020
According to the Public Health Amendment Act, a person faces upto $10,000 fine or 5 years imprisonment or both, for breaching the self-quarantine directives. [image: Fij Police Force]

Police are still waiting for more medical statements before proceeding in the investigation of the 27-year-old flight attendant from Lautoka who was Fiji’s first COVID-19 patient.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says after the patient was cleared of COVID-19 by medical authorities and completed his second mandatory quarantine isolation, he was questioned and released.

Qiliho says investigations were earlier put on hold regarding claims that the flight attendant had given false information to officials about his health status as investigators awaited medical clearance.

The man had travel history to the USA and New Zealand and allegedly spread COVID-19 to a few people in Fiji.

Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete had earlier stated that the first patient had allegedly gone out to party in San Francisco, stayed with family there, also went around San Francisco, and was also coughing while wearing a mask and serving passengers on the New Zealand flight from Nadi.

Fiji had 18 cases of COVID-19, 15 patients have recovered and 3 are still admitted in isolation facilities.

According to the Public Health Amendment Act, a person faces upto $10,000 fine or 5 years imprisonment or both, for breaching the self-quarantine directives.




Police officer who was allegedly drunk among the 36 people arrested last night for breach of curfew

By Iva Danford
Sunday 31/05/2020
Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho says the taxi driver took the officer directly to the Lautoka Police Station [Image: Fiji Police Force]

36 breach of curfew arrests were made from 10 pm to 5 o’clock this morning which includes a police officer who was allegedly drunk and hired a taxi in Nadi to go to Lautoka during curfew hours whereby he stated he needed to get to work.

Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho says the taxi driver took the officer directly to the Lautoka Police Station as he was acting in a suspicious manner and was allegedly intoxicated.

Qiliho says a 31 year old man was arrested at Jittu Estate after he was found moving around after midnight and could also possibly face an additional charge of found in possession after dried leaves believed to be marijuana were allegedly found in his possession.

He says 13 arrests were made in the Raiwaqa area including juveniles as they were found moving around during the curfew hours.

The Commissioner says the Southern Division recorded 23 reports, 8 in the Western Division, 3 in the North and 2 in the Eastern Division.



Fiji’s 9th COVID-19 patient Mohammad Saheed granted bail

By Iva Danford, Mohammed Feroz
Saturday 30/05/2020
54-year-old Mohammed Saheed from Soasoa in Labasa

54-year-old Mohammad Saheed from Soasoa in Labasa who allegedly breached self-quarantine orders after arriving into Fiji has been granted bail by the Labasa Magistrates Court.

Saheed appeared before Magistrate Senileba Levaci and is charged with one count of Failure to Comply with Orders.

He returned from a religious gathering in India and allegedly spread COVID-19 to a few people in the country.

It was revealed in today’s special court sitting that Saheed did not comply with the directives from Health officials to self-quarantine for 14 days from 24th to 31st March.

He has been released on strict bail conditions.

As part of the bail conditions, Saheed has been ordered to report to the Labasa Police Station once every fortnight.

He was Fiji’s 9th COVID-19 patient and was investigated by Police after he recovered from the virus.

The Ministry of Health had confirmed that they were able to trace a total of 834 people who had come into contact with the man who is the 9th case of COVID-19.

The case will be called again on the 22nd of June.




Seven people arrested for playing soccer in Grantham Road

By Iva Danford
Saturday 30/05/2020

Seven people who were playing soccer along Grantham Road were arrested yesterday for breaching COVID-19 restrictions on sporting activities.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says arrests for breaching sporting restrictions are creeping in once again.

Qiliho says another 9 people were arrested in Naodamu in Labasa last night for breach of curfew.

He says 28 arrests were made over the last 24 hours for breach of COVID-19 restrictions where 21 arrests were made between 10pm to 5am today for breach of curfew.

Qiliho says the Southern Division recorded 7 arrests for breach of curfew, the Western Division recorded 2 reports and 3 in the Eastern Division.




China donates US$100,000 and more medical supplies to Fiji

By Priteshni Nand
Saturday 30/05/2020
China’s Ambassador to Fiji Qian Bo. [image: Department of Information]

China has injected US$100,000 and medical supplies to help in Fiji’s fight against COVID-19.

China’s Ambassador to Fiji Qian Bo says through the China–Pacific Island Countries Anti-COVID-19 Cooperation Fund they have given US$500,000 to the Pacific.

The supplies they have donated include 200,000 face masks, 200,000 pairs of surgical gloves, 50,000 protective suits, 10,000 COVID-19 test kits and 300 infrared thermometers.

Bo says China had donated USD1.9 million as the first batch of assistance to Pacific Island countries.

He says with this new assistance of USD500,000 the total assistance given to the Pacific Island countries amounts to USD2.4 million.

China has also donated US$200,000 to the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme to support the Secretariat in its efforts to address priority concerns of Pacific Island countries who suffer from both climate change and the COVID-19 crisis.

China will also donate US$ 100,000 to the South Pacific Tourism Organisation to help the Pacific tourism-driven countries affected by the epidemic.

Bo says China is a genuine friend to Fiji and they are committed to assisting their friends in Fiji and the Pacific.




Special court sitting for Fiji’s 9th COVID-19 patient today

By Semi Turaga
Saturday 30/05/2020

The 54-year-old man from Soasoa in Labasa who allegedly breached self-quarantine orders after arriving into Fiji has been charged and will appear in a special sitting in the Labasa Magistrates Court today.

He was Fiji’s 9th COVID-19 patient and was investigated by Police after he recovered from the virus.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho has confirmed the accused has been charged with one count of Failure to Comply with Orders.

The man returned from a religious gathering in India and allegedly spread COVID-19 to a few people in the country.

The Ministry of Health had confirmed that they were able to trace a total of 834 people who had come into contact with the man who is the 9th case of COVID-19.



“Act of God” amendment to the Employment Relations Act is sheer sacrilege - Chaudhry

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 29/05/2020
Fiji Labour Party Leader Mahendra Chaudhry

Fiji Labour Party Leader, Mahendra Chaudhry says the categorisation of the COVID-19 pandemic as an “act of God” after the amendment to the Employment Relations Act is sheer sacrilege, and he has also raised the question on how can a man-made disaster be attributed to God.

An act of God is a legal definition in the bill.

Although Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says employers have to prove that they have no work to provide to an employee due to the impact of COVID-19 before laying off the employee, Chaudhry says the amendment is dangerous as it paves the way for employers to terminate workers willy nilly under the guise of the COVID-19 crisis.

Chaudhry says the Fiji Airways Flight Attendants Union had earlier stated its intention to take legal action at the manner in which some 475 of its members were terminated on 25th May in breach of their collective agreement.

He believes the amendment is meant to frustrate court action by the union in this particular case. Chaudhry who says that the Labour Party will be working with FTUC to fight their cause has warned that the legislation could not be used retrospectively, or backdated. Chaudhry also says that it is clear the government has to borrow more money now as government revenue has continued to drop in the past years. He says the consecutive years of growth was also fuelled by consumption and borrowings which are now seriously affected.

He also says it is now understandable that the government has to take more overseas loans as Chaudhry believes the government has borrowed more than enough from FNPF.

Earlier,


Bill passed to allow employers to let go of their workers if they cannot provide work due to an act of God which includes COVID-19

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 28/05/2020
Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad. [image: Parliament of Fiji]

Parliament has today passed the Employment Relations Bill that allows employers to let go of their workers if they cannot provide work due to an act of God which includes COVID-19 - as the definition of an act of God in the passed bill now also includes a pandemic declared by the World Health Organization.

Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum stresses that the employer has to clearly prove that they have to let go of their employees due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bill sets out the employers’ duty to provide work unless the worker has broken his or her contract, the contract is frustrated or its performance is prevented by an act of God.

Sayed-Khaiyum also says National Federation Party Leader, Professor Biman Prasad should stop thinking that money is just lying around for the government.

The Minister for Economy says government revenue is down by $1 billion, expenditure is only down by $300 million, and most of the tax revenue is down as there are no more tourists at this stage.

Sayed-Khaiyum also says they are fully aware and have already said that as the weeks and months go ahead, things will get tougher if the economy does not bounce back and the travel bubble does not open up.

National Federation Party Leader, Professor Biman Prasad believes the government needs to do more as civil servants have already sacrificed a total of $40 million due to the reduction in their FNPF contributions.

He also says the FNPF Withdrawal Scheme and government subsidy is being done in a progessive, sustainable and deliberate manner, rather than just giving money out.





Government revenue likely to drop by almost 50% in the next financial year if things do not pick up - AG

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 29/05/2020
Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. [image: Parliament of Fiji]

Government revenue has decreased by almost $1 billion for the current financial year and is likely to drop by almost $1.5 billion in the 2020/2021 financial year if the economy even becomes more sluggish.

Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says if government revenue decreases by $1.5 billion, that would be 50 percent of the total annual revenue pre-COVID-19.

Sayed-Khaiyum says revenue in the current financial year has been buffered somewhat by the fact that the government had the asset sale of Energy Fiji Limited to FNPF that injected over $200 million into government coffers.

However Sayed-Khaiyum says revenue is drying up as the expenditure was reduced only by $300 million to ensure that government services continue.

He confirms that normal revenue like VAT, corporate tax, personal income tax, Environmental Climate Adaptation Levy, immigration fees and departure taxes have all been affected.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the government’s job is to try to boost the confidence and get businesses to get into construction activity. He says whilst demand for our goods and services offshore may remain muted, there are opportunities in the construction sector as the sector will create jobs from within.

The Minister for Economy has also raised the question on what the former Reserve Bank of Fiji Governor, Savenaca Narube means when he says that the government should inject $1 billion into the economy. He raises the question where the money will come from. Sayed-Khaiyum says the government has already stated that the plan is now to get more borrowings from offshore rather than onshore as Fiji also has to increase it’s foreign reserves which is down due to no tourism and reduced remittances. He confirms that foreign reserves stand at 6 months of import cover for now.

The Minister for Economy also says they have seen bank deposits of residents increase from $2 billion in 2006 to around $5 billion now. He says this shows there is a lot more wealth accumulation so when people have more savings, they can fight poverty.

Sayed-Khaiyum also says the fortnightly unemployment benefit will also assist people for now and they would like people to get back into employment as soon as opportunities arise.

The Minister for Economy says COVID-19 has had such a dramatic and immediate impact on the global economy that no government ever anticipated this.

He says even a country like Australia that has had 23 years of economic growth went into a shock, and had to go out and borrow large sums of money.

Sayed-Khaiyum says it is no minor feat for any of the economies of the world to be able to deal with this using the normal economic framework.




The government now has a huge focus on offshore borrowings – AG

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 29/05/2020
Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad. [image: Parliament of Fiji]

Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum confirms that the government now has a huge focus on offshore borrowings when asked by National Federation Party Leader, Professor Biman Prasad where will the government borrow from as government revenue may be lower than $2.5 billion.

Professor Prasad says no doubt the deficit will be higher as government revenue continues to drop.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the next National Budget will have the details however negotiations have started for offshore loans.

The Minister for Economy also says some countries have come forward to provide direct budget support. He says the Australians and Europeans have already done this while the New Zealanders are also planning to do the same.




3 civil servants allegedly breach curfew

By Semi Turaga
Friday 29/05/2020

Three civil servants were arrested for breaching curfew hours in the Southern and Northern Divisions in the last 24 hours.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho confirms that these civil servants were found heavily intoxicated by officers out on patrols.

Qiliho says 47 people were arrested over the last 24 hours for COVID-19 related breaches.

He says 24 were for breach of sports, 22 for breach of curfew, and one case of breach of quarantine.

Qiliho adds that the lone case of breach of quarantine involves Patient 9 from Soasoa who had allegedly breached self-quarantine orders after arriving into Fiji.

He has been charged with one count of failure to comply with orders and will be produced at the Labasa Magistrates Court today.

The Northern Division recorded 6 cases, 5 for breach of curfew, and one for breach of self-quarantine.

The Southern Division recorded 36 cases in total, 12 for breach of curfew, and 24 reports of a breach of sporting activities.

The Western Division recorded 3 reports of a breach of curfew while the Central Division recorded two cases.




Pandemic is manmade and China is not in heaven - Anthony

By Semi Turaga
Friday 29/05/2020
Fiji Trades Union Congress National Secretary Felix Anthony. [image: Felix Anthony/Facebook]

Fiji Trades Union Congress National Secretary Felix Anthony is sending a strong message to the government saying the pandemic is manmade, and China is not located in heaven.

Anthony's statement comes following parliament passing the Employment Relations Bill that allows employers to let go of their workers if they cannot provide work due to an act of God which includes COVID-19 – as the definition of an act of God in the passed bill now also includes a pandemic declared by the World Health Organisation.

He says the lockdowns were imposed by Governments, not God.

Anthony says the Government has moved to assist businesses with a reduction in FNPF contributions and other tax incentives, and now the reduction of Paternity and Family Care leave, and finally decided to blame God for the pandemic.

He says this is outrageous.

Anthony says they note that Governments while doing all for employers has done absolutely nothing for workers.

He also says that no obligation is placed on employers for all the concessions that are being given to them.

Anthony adds that it is no justification to terminate workers just because other airlines or employers have done so.

He further says that the difference is that workers who are terminated abroad are assisted by their Governments and have social safety nets like unemployment benefits or special stimulus packages for workers who have lost their jobs. Anthony says they see nothing of that sort here in Fiji so, let’s compare apples with apples.

The FTUC National Secretary adds that the loss of jobs at Fiji Airways and many other major employers is causing great hardship to thousands of families around the country.

Fiji-Airways-sm


He says many have ongoing financial commitments for housing, rents, motor vehicles, hire purchase, utility bills, and everyday food bills.

Anthony stresses that these are the realities that workers and their families have to face.

He adds that they understand the current pandemic crisis affects all businesses however, there does not appear to be a similar understanding of the workers’ plight.

Anthony says the Fiji Airways terminations send a very wrong signal to other employers who think now they can terminate workers overnight without any further obligation.

He adds that the government’s sanctioning of such behavior is worrying, to say the least.

Anthony says no one disputes the challenges that Fiji Airways faces but what is abhorrent is how they have terminated workers.

He says there was absolutely no dignity accorded to workers and least of all total lack of good faith despite telling the world that Fiji Airways employees were one happy family.

Anthony says the family has been tossed out the window.

He says this is simply shameful behavior.

Anthony adds that it is becoming clear that Fiji Airways wishes to do away with the union and start afresh with individual contracts, reduced wages and salaries, and benefits.

He says many employers likewise have done extremely well over the past decade posting huge profits and expanding their businesses but found themselves on their knees when the lockdown occurred.

Anthony says surprisingly, they wish to make us believe that their balance sheet was not as strong as they appeared to be.

He adds this crisis has really shown that many (not all) businesses have absolutely no loyalty or commitment to their employees.

Anthony says this is a clear message to all workers in Fiji.

He says they have demonstrated that there is no such thing as corporate social responsibility in their policies.

Fiji Airways has said it appreciates the impact of the announcement on their colleagues who have regrettably had their employment terminated.

Fiji Airways Managing Director and CEO Andre Viljoen says this was an extremely difficult decision, and one that was made only after all other avenues were exhausted, in order to ensure Fiji Airways’ survival.

Andre-Viljoen-sm

Fiji Airways Managing Director and CEO Andre Viljoen. [image: file]

Viljoen adds Fiji Airways is in the same position as most other airlines, having to pay recurrent fixed costs, but earning next to zero revenue.

He stresses that in the circumstances, it was simply not sustainable for the company to continue to pay salaries to employees who are not working.

Viljoen further says today’s terminations were based upon the company’s inability to provide work to affected employees; this was not a restructuring or redundancy process.

He adds all Fiji Airways employees have been regularly updated on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the company, and the need for increasingly drastic actions if the situation did not improve.

Viljoen says all applicable laws were adhered to.

He adds that this is a sad day for the company, and their thoughts are with their colleagues who, like many people around the world, have lost their jobs as a consequence of this unprecedented global pandemic.




Family Care and Paternity Leave days to be reduced during the COVID-19 period due to an Act of God

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 28/05/2020
Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. [image: Parliament of Fiji]

The Family Care Leave and Paternity Leave of 5 days each will be reduced to 2 days each during the COVID-19 period and resume to 5 days each when a decision is made by the Minister for Employment.

While tabling the Employment Relations bill in parliament, Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the bill seeks to amend the Act to provide for a more realistic work environment which enables the sustainability of jobs and businesses, and to clarify the meaning of “an act of God” in the act during the COVID-19 period. In this case, the “act of God” includes a pandemic declared by the World Health Organization.

The proposed changes include reducing the entitlement to paid Family Care Leave to 2 days, reducing the entitlement to Paternity Leave to 2 days during the COVID-19 period and providing for the transition to the reduced family care and paternity leave entitlements during the COVID-19 period.

Sayed-Khaiyum also says those who have taken more than 2 days of this leave will not be affected.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the increased maternity leave days will not be reduced. He also says annual leave, sick leave and bereavement leave days are also not affected.

Debate on the bill will take place this afternoon.




There is no more presence of COVID-19 however we cannot afford second or third wave – Waqainabete

By Dhanjay Deo
Wednesday 27/05/2020
Minister for Health Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete

Minister for Health Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete says their testing is telling them there is no more presence of COVID-19 in our communities however they cannot afford a second or third wave of the disease.

While delivering his ministerial statement, Waqainabete says their testing for COVID-19 is beyond the World Health Organisation criteria as they are testing aggressively and widely.

He says all patients admitted to the Intensive Care Unit with symptoms of severe acute respiratory illness have also been tested for COVID-19.

Waqainabete says in addition to this, they have identified 10 health facilities around the country to be sentinel testing sites for patients with respiratory symptoms for COVID-19, adding further surveillance capability.

He says as of yesterday, 2,431 tests have been conducted for COVID-19.

They are doing 121.5 tests per confirmed case and by this measure Waqainabete says Fiji compares favourably with the rest of the world where Australia does 133 tests per confirmed case and South Korea does 69.1 tests per confirmed case for COVID-19.

He says 40 fever clinics have so far seen 16,757 people as of yesterday while 142 people that were seen at these fever clinics were then required to have testing for COVID-19 and all results have been negative.

The mobile fever clinics where house to house visits were conducted saw 809,704 people getting screened.

Waqainabete says today marks 36 days since our last confirmed case of COVID-19 was reported.

While responding to Waqainabete’s statement, NFP’s President, Pio Tikoduadua says Fiji Airways staff and many thousands of victims of COVID-19 deserve government’s attention and assistance and they cannot use the COVID-19 excuse to compromise the health and well being of Fijians because of the inability of government.

Tikoduadua-SM




More job lay offs expected in the coming weeks in the tourism industry

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 26/05/2020

As the tourism and hotel business transitions into the next phase of survival, operators involved in the tourism industry will be considering extended Leave Without Pay options, terminations and redundancies in the coming weeks.

More than 150,000 people are directly or indirectly employed in the tourism industry.

The Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association says tourism operators are struggling to continue holding on to staff with their current arrangements.

Hideaway-resort-sogatoka-sm

Association CEO, Fantasha Lockington says they are optimistic that things will pick up eventually, however this may take months and even years to get to the visitor arrival levels that Fiji was used to.

Lockington says they are expecting a slow start, which in turn will translate to a smaller uptake in employment until the demand grows.

She says tourism has a proven capacity to bounce back and drive the recovery of other sectors.

For this to take place, Lockington says Fiji needs strong tourism businesses, a viable national airline and an innovative national tourism office; all of whom need nationwide support.

hotel-sm

She says the Association notes the increasing anxiety of their tourism members as the current options of reduced hours and Leave Without Pay timeframes are due for review in the next few weeks.

Lockington says while revenue earnings have ground to a halt since government shut the borders to protect Fiji’s population, expenses and operating costs still remain and there is great concern for businesses remaining viable during what is now looking to be a long drawn out hibernation period. She further says that with travel and tourism being very labour intensive it is expected that not only are many more jobs at risk, but that this will be felt throughout the whole tourism value chain.

Lockington also says of even greater concern is that we can also expect that this will affect the most vulnerable groups of the population such as women, youth and rural communities.

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She says they are hopeful that the Tourism Bubble discussions between our governments continue positively but there is a need to understand that this is not going to happen anytime soon until safety concerns are adequately addressed.



Government to guarantee Fiji Airways loans totaling $455 million

By Dhanjay Deo
Monday 25/05/2020
Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Parliament has approved the motion by Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum for the government to guarantee Fiji Airways loans totaling $455 million.

This includes domestic borrowings of up to FJ$191.1 million and off-shore borrowings of up to US$117.1 million.

This will be valid for 3 years effective from May 30th.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the FNPF is providing a loan of $53.6 million, the Reserve Bank of Fiji through the export finance facility loan will lend $75 million to the Fiji Development Bank which will then on-lend to Fiji Airways as RBF cannot do direct lending.

This will be at a rate of 3 percent, ANZ is providing $52 million in lending, Bred Bank is giving $10.5 million in the loan, DAE Capital is providing 9 months rental deferral of the two A-350s of $US20.2 million, Avalon is providing 9 months rental deferral of the A330-300s of $10.1 million, GCash has provided nine months rental deferral of two Boeing Max 8 of $8.9 million, KfW IPEX-Bank export credit agency is also providing 12 months loan repayment deferral on Max 8s which is $22.2 million.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the Asian Development Bank will also provide a loan of US$50 million. He says the ADB draw-down will not take place unless and until the situation prolongs into next year.

He told parliament that despite earning near-zero revenue, Fiji Airways has to pay monthly fixed costs of $38 million and this comprises of aircraft loans and leases of $20.2 million, employee costs, fixed payments for aircraft maintenance, and other costs totalling $6 million.

He says in addition to the fixed costs, ongoing flight suspensions and cancellations are contributing towards increased customer refunds and even if tickets are being sold as non-refundable, Fiji Airways is obliged to refund customers as the service is not being delivered at all.

He adds that all expatriate pilots’ contracts have been terminated, and most of the Fijian pilots except for five will have their jobs as they need them and when they get any good news on international travel, these pilots will be used to fly our planes.

While contributing to the motion, SODELPA MP Aseri Radrodro said the manner in which this motion has been brought to parliament is questionable and raises doubts about the intentions of the motion.

Aseri-sm

National Federation Party Leader, Professor Biman Prasad says we should guarantee this loan as we do not have any option.

Biman-Prasad-sm

However, Prasad says there are some pertinent questions that need to be answered about Fiji Airways' profits before the COVID-19 pandemic.



Fiji Airways terminates contracts of 758 employees, lets go of all expat pilots and some expat managers, and implements 20% pay cut

By Vijay Narayan
Monday 25/05/2020
Fiji Airways hanger at Nadi International Airport. [image: flicker]

The country’s national airline, Fiji Airways has today announced the termination of contracts of 758 of their staff, termination of contracts of their expatriate pilots and other management team members, and has also gone into negotiations regarding the loans of the airline company and raising debt finance.

Fiji Airways says in order to ensure the airline’s survival, given its critical and strategic importance to the Fijian economy, 51% of employees from across the Airline Group who do not have work today or in the foreseeable future have had their employment terminated. The company says the 758 workers will be paid a minimum notice period of 1 month (despite most employees having a two-week notice period), plus any accumulated leave and other entitlements.

All 79 expatriate pilots have had their contracts terminated and eight expatriate executives have had their employment terminated, with five expatriate staff remaining, including the CEO.

hanger-1-sm

The airline has six local executives, who will all retain their jobs and now constitute the majority of the leadership team. The responsibilities of the remaining executives and management have been expanded to absorb the work of those terminated.

Fiji Airways Managing Director and CEO, Andre Viljoen says these employee terminations are based on work available today and for the foreseeable future. Viljoen says these decisions have been carefully considered, and they have retained staff in operational areas who have critical skills, training and experience, including those who are required to carry out ongoing aircraft maintenance programmes, as well as all regulatory and safety-related post-holder positons as per Civil Aviation Authority requirements.

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Fiji Airways Managing Director and CEO, Andre Viljoen

Viljoen says a minimal level of staff is required in non-operational areas of the business in order to keep it functioning.

He says in all areas, they have retained staff based on objective and fair criteria such as performance, disciplinary record, and aptitude for the role.

Viljoen also says a 20% permanent salary reduction has been implemented for all retained employees effective 1st June 2020. He says in the short term, retained staff will work between 2 to 5 days per week, and will only be paid for actual days or hours worked.

The CEO also says that employees will be permitted to utilise annual leave days on days not worked, in order to top up their weekly pay.

The company says these workforce reduction measures will result in a 50% reduction in the company’s payroll cost base.

Viljoen says many of their dear colleagues affected by these reductions have contributed enormously to the airline over many years, and they owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

He says the measures they have announced today are painful and difficult, but ultimately necessary for the airline’s survival.

Viljoen says many large and respected airlines around the world are collapsing as a consequence of this unprecedented crisis.

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He says the company will do everything within their power to ensure that Fiji Airways does not suffer the same fate.

Viljoen says the adjustments are necessary and unavoidable as the COVID-19 crisis endures, causing the further suspension of scheduled international services and ensuring that the airline will receive virtually zero revenue in the coming months.

He says Fiji Airways is also negotiating with its lenders and aircraft lessors for loan and lease payment deferrals, and arranging debt finance from a number of financial institutions.

Fiji Airways has also recently extended the suspension of international flights through to the end of June, and is in the process of reducing scheduled flights for July and August.




Sayed-Khaiyum announces concessional loans for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises

By Naveel Krishant
Sunday 24/05/2020
Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has today announced concessional loans for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, and people can put in their applications from 7th June.

Sayed-Khaiyum says that for new and existing micro-enterprises, they will be able to access up to $7,000 in a way of loan and the interest rate will be 0.5%.

He says that the loan repayment will have a payable term of five years whereby the first year will be a grace period where no interest will be applicable.

The Minister says they have come with a new scheme as to how assessments will be done adding they have been working with a number of stakeholders.

He adds that the applications will be assessed by the Business Assistance Fiji which will have institutions such as Fiji Institute of Accountants, Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Fiji Employers and Commerce Federation and the Ministry of Commerce, Tourism, Trade and Transport.

He says this Business Assistance Fiji will also provide help to people who will be looking at setting up new micro-enterprises.

Sayed-Khaiyum says for existing small enterprises who are facing difficulties, they can apply for loans of up to $14,000 with an interest rate of 1%.

He says the same five-year repayment term will apply.

The Minister adds that what they will do is work out an amount that needs to be repaid in a year and it will be up to the people how they do the repayment as long as they cover the amount set for a year.

Sayed-Khaiyum says that for the existing medium enterprises, they will be able to access loans of up to $21,000 with a concessional interest rate of 1.5%.

He adds that at the moment the concessional loans for small and medium enterprises is only available for existing businesses.



Man allegedly assaults Police officer after he was arrested for breach of curfew

By Naveel Krishant
Sunday 24/05/2020
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

A 23-year-old man from Waiyavi, Lautoka who was arrested for breaching curfew hours faces an additional charge of serious assault after he allegedly attacked a Police officer with an empty bottle.

The incident happened at Votualevu in Nadi.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the officer sustained minor injuries and has been treated and sent home.

Qiliho says breach of curfew reports continue to be recorded and between the hours of 10pm last night to 5am this morning, 35 cases have been recorded.

The Southern Division recorded 18, Eastern Division recorded 9, Western Division recorded 6 while the Northern and Central Divisions recorded 1 case each.

Qiliho says in the Southern Division, officers from the Raiwaqa Police Station while attending to a report of excessive noise arrested two women who were found walking along Leys Road in Raiwai last night.

He adds similar arrests were made in the Southern Division involving those found walking around during curfew hours were made along Fletcher Road, Nailuva Road, Jittu Estate, Rewa Street, Narara Street, Navua Town, Caubati and Nadera.




Fiji’s COVID-19 tracing mobile app expected to be ready by next week

By Semi Turaga
Friday 29/05/2020
Sayed-Khaiyum says they are harnessing the use of non-location tracking technology by using Bluetooth with privacy and security central for the design of the app. [Image: Parliament of the Republic of Fiji]

Fiji’s COVID-19 tracing mobile app is expected to be ready by next week and Minister for Economy and Communications, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the Care Fiji mobile app is based on a Bluetooth trace protocol developed by the Singaporean government.

He says the app mirrors the COVID Safe mobile app widely adopted by millions of Australians in their campaign to eliminate COVID-19.

Sayed-Khaiyum says they are harnessing the use of non-location tracking technology by using Bluetooth with privacy and security central for the design of the app.

He says they are currently doing tests on Google PlayStore and Apple Store and hope to finalise it by the end of this week.

Sayed-Khaiyum says they hope to have the Prime Minister launch it sometime next week.

He says the app works through Bluetooth technology and Bluetooth signals will bounce off each other and the Health Ministry won’t have access to that information.

Sayed-Khaiyum says in Fiji 92.5% of people who use phones have an android phone and 7.4% of the people have an Apple phone and the others have different systems which is 0.08%.




Police seek further legal advice before Soasoa man will be produced in court

By Iva Danford
Friday 29/05/2020
Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho confirms that their investigators will be seeking further legal advice before the 54-year-old man from Soasoa in Labasa will be produced in the Labasa Magistrates Court.

The accused returned from a religious gathering in India and allegedly spread COVID-19 to a few people in the country.

He has been charged with one count of failure to comply with orders.

Qiliho says the accused remains in custody.

The Ministry of Health had earlier confirmed they were able to trace a total of 834 people who had come into contact with the man who is the 9th case of COVID-19.




2,982 arrests for breach of COVID-19 related restrictions however there is a significant drop in other offences

By Iva Danford, Tifa Vataiki
Thursday 28/05/2020
Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho. [image: Fiji Police]

A total of 2,982 arrests for breaching COVID-19 related restrictions were made from March to yesterday however Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho says there is a significant drop in other offences.

He says the total number of arrests in breach of social gathering so far is 1,586 while the total number of curfew breaches is 1,355.

Other arrests for other offences between March and yesterday was 37.

Qiliho also confirms that as they continue to monitor these breaches, other crimes are also on their radar like drugs.

He says Kadavu was thought to be the main supplier of marijuana, but suppliers have also moved into areas of Tailevu and Vanua Levu.

The Commissioner says with this in mind, they have introduced body cameras and drones to help them in monitoring.

Qiliho says they will be acquiring more drones and body cameras.

He also says the drug dealers are now being rattled as Police have a lot more information on how the drugs are being packed and distributed.

Qiliho says there are also social issues that comes with the COVID-19 pandemic and this is what they are working hard on as this can affect the criminal landscape, which will fall on the responsibilities of the police.




Bala calls on businesses to re-think how they are doing business

By Dhanjay Deo
Thursday 28/05/2020
Minister for Employment Praveen Bala and National Federation Party Leader Pro. Biman Prasad. [image: Parliament of Fiji]

Minister for Employment, Praveen Bala is calling on employers and corporate organisations to start thinking of ways and means of continuing or re-configuring their operations.

While delivering his ministerial statement, Bala says as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and current medical projections do not give them a concrete timeline, people need to continue to re-think how they are doing business and create lines of employment that work within the health realities and guidelines currently in place.

Bala adds that they have continued to negotiate where workers were affected to re-instate hourly rate on the minimum wage based on different sectors and for some redundant workers to be supplied with groceries for a period of time.

He says in addition, the government has given assistance through FNPF and other top-ups and financial support for micro and medium enterprises.

While responding to Bala’s statement, National Federation Party Leader, Professor Biman Prasad says there is a great need for the establishment of a Workers Solidarity Fund as he thinks the situation will worsen in the next six months.




Fiji’s 9th COVID-19 patient yet to be questioned for breach of Public Health Amendment Act

By Iva Danford
Thursday 28/05/2020
Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho

Police are yet to interview the 54-year-old man from Soasoa in Labasa who returned from a religious gathering in India and spread COVID-19 to a few people in the country.

Investigators are still gathering statements from those who reside in Suva.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho also says the 27-year-old flight attendant from Lautoka who was the first confirmed COVID-19 case was questioned and released.

He says investigators are still waiting for more medical statements before proceeding.

According to the Public Health Amendment Act, a person faces upto $10,000 fine or 5 years imprisonment or both, for breaching the self-quarantine directives.

Fiji had 18 cases of COVID-19, 15 patients have recovered and 3 are still admitted in isolation facilities.




Magistrate discharges a person who breached the curfew as there are two conflicting decisions in the High Court regarding offences under the Public Health Act that need to be resolved by the Fiji Court of Appeal

By Vijay Narayan, Semi Turaga
Thursday 28/05/2020

Suva Magistrate Jioji Boseiwaqa has discharged a person earlier charged with one count of disobedience of lawful order as he said that there are two conflicting decisions in the High Court regarding offences under the Public Health Act 2009 that need to be resolved by the Fiji Court of Appeal.

Sixtus Torokana was earlier charged with disobeying a lawful order by being found without reasonable cause at Rewa Street at 1.10 am on April 3rd this year within the curfew hours announced by the Prime Minister.

Torokana had pleaded guilty to the charge and also admitted the summary of facts.

Magistrate Boseiwaqa says the court has considered the defendant’s mitigation. He says Torokana is married at 38 years of age, is a graduate student at the university in forensic accounting, he works for Solomon Islands Ports Authority, pleaded guilty, is a first offender, showed remorse and cooperated with the Police.

The magistrate says he has considered the High Court decision by Justice Vincent Perera on April 16th, Justice Salesi Temo’s decision on May 14th and also considered the declaration and order of the Acting Chief Justice Kamal Kumar on May 18th purporting to review and rescind the judgement of Justice Temo.

Torokana has been discharged under the Criminal Procedure Act 2009.

Justice Perera’s decision

Court


On 16th April, 2020, High Court Judge Justice Vinsent Perera set aside the ruling of Nadi Magistrate, Siromi Turaga who had earlier acquitted two people charged with Failure to Comply with Orders of the Public Health Act.

Magistrate Turaga had said in his ruling that the prosecution is prosecuting the accused on a non-existent law and the charge is bad in law.

Justice Perera reviewed the magistrate’s ruling after the matter was handed to him for review by Acting Chief Justice Kamal Kumar.

Justice Perera set aside the orders made by Magistrate Turaga on the grounds that the charge did say the accused failed to comply with section 69(1)(c) of the Public Health Act 1935 and the Public Health (Infectious Disease Regulation, 2020), the orders were issued by the Ministry for Health, the magistrate should have allowed the prosecution to amend the charge by deleting "Prime Minister' to "Minister for Health"; and the implementation of curfew orders was approved by the Minister for Health and Medical Services.

Justice Perera also stated that the notice of the directives was given by the Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services via Extraordinary Gazette No.32 published on 4th April 2020.

Appeal on Justice Perera’s decision

A Petition of Appeal has been filed against the decision of High Court Judge Justice Vincent Perera to set aside the ruling of Nadi Magistrate Siromi Turaga.

It has been filed in the Court of Appeal by law firm Vosarogo Lawyers on behalf of the appellants Ravin Rohit Lal and Shalvin Chand.

These two men who had pleaded guilty in the Nadi Magistrates Court on 10th April were acquitted by Magistrate Turaga on 15th April.

Magistrate Turaga had ruled that even though the two men had pleaded guilty, they had pleaded guilty to a charge that was bad in law and the prosecution was prosecuting the accused on a non-existent law.

Under the particulars of the charge by Police, Lal and Chand on the 9th of April, 2020 in Nadi without lawful exercise failed to comply with orders of the Prime Minister of Fiji by breaking the curfew hours, an order that was deemed necessary for the protection of public health from an infectious disease, namely Novel Coronavirus.

In his judgement on 15th April, Magistrate Turaga said the prosecution is relying on a declaration by the Prime Minister but not made by the Minister of Health pursuant to his powers set out in section (69)1 of the principal Act nor made pursuant to the Public Health [Infectious Diseases] Regulation 2020.

Lal and Chand intend to appeal against the revision decision on several grounds.

The first ground is "that the learned judge erred in law in making the orders that it did, to the prejudice of the Appellants without giving them the opportunity to be heard either by themselves or by their lawyers as mandatory under Section 262(2) of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009."

They are also appealing on the ground "that the learned judge was prevented by-law under section 262(1)(b) of the Criminal Procedure Act 2009 from exercising revision jurisdiction on an order of acquittal by the Magistrates Court and that the proper course of action was for the State to appeal against the decision of the Magistrates Court, which procedure wasn't exercised."

The third ground is "that the learned trial Magistrate was correct in identifying that the charge was defectively pleaded and that no such application to amend was made by the State and as, the consequential result would have been an acquittal based on law."

Lal and Chand also want the revision judgement dated 16th April 2020 of the Suva High Court be set aside and the consequential orders therein be quashed as being manifestly unsafe, perverse and a miscarry of justice.

They also want the Court of Appeal to confirm the orders of acquittal of the Nadi Magistrates Court dated 15th April 2020.




Family Care and Paternity Leave days to be reduced during the COVID-19 period due to an Act of God

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 28/05/2020
Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. [image: Parliament of Fiji]

The Family Care Leave and Paternity Leave of 5 days each will be reduced to 2 days each during the COVID-19 period and resume to 5 days each when a decision is made by the Minister for Employment.

While tabling the Employment Relations bill in parliament, Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the bill seeks to amend the Act to provide for a more realistic work environment which enables the sustainability of jobs and businesses, and to clarify the meaning of “an act of God” in the act during the COVID-19 period. In this case, the “act of God” includes a pandemic declared by the World Health Organization.

The proposed changes include reducing the entitlement to paid Family Care Leave to 2 days, reducing the entitlement to Paternity Leave to 2 days during the COVID-19 period and providing for the transition to the reduced family care and paternity leave entitlements during the COVID-19 period.

Sayed-Khaiyum also says those who have taken more than 2 days of this leave will not be affected.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the increased maternity leave days will not be reduced. He also says annual leave, sick leave and bereavement leave days are also not affected.

Debate on the bill will take place this afternoon.




AG says they want Australia and New Zealand to change the narrative on the travel bubble

By Semi Turaga
Wednesday 27/05/2020
Attotney General and Minister for Economy, Civil Service and Communications Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum [Image: Parliament of the Republic of Fiji]

Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says what they are trying to get Australia and New Zealand to do is to change the narrative with regards to the travel bubble and to say they can open it to Fiji or respective countries within the Pacific region as opposed to treating everyone as a whole group.

Sayed-Khaiyum told parliament that the talk coming out from Wellington and Canberra is the Pacific will be included in the bubble but what Fiji has said is that different countries in the Pacific have different experiences and capacities pertaining to COVID-19.

He says Fiji is the only Pacific island country that actually has a WHO certified COVID-19 testing lab while all other pacific island countries sent all their swabs overseas.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the rate of testing in Fiji is also significantly higher and there have been no fatalities in Fiji.

He says as far as the conditions are concerned, they are hearing sometimes about having a health passport.




Two thirds of companies in Fiji surveyed by IFC believe COVID-19 has increased employees’ experiences of domestic and sexual violence

By Priteshni Nand
Wednesday 27/05/2020
The International Finance Corporation

Two thirds of companies in Fiji that were surveyed by the International Finance Corporation about the impact of COVID-19 believe the pandemic has increased employees’ experiences of domestic and sexual violence.

The International Finance Corporation is a member of the World Bank Group and the Fiji Human Resources Institute.

Fifteen companies were surveyed as part of an International Finance Corporation and Fiji Human Resources Institute webinar series called Rakorako: Building a Safe and Resilient Business to help the private sector address childcare demands and workplace responses to domestic and sexual violence.

According to the survey, some businesses had safe systems in place to allow their employees to work safely or use flexible options for work through providing laptops and mobile devices.

However, some businesses were not prepared for more complicated scenarios that might impact their employees such as an increase in childcare demands, clients’ aggression or domestic and sexual violence.

The survey also found that businesses needed support in mental health programs for employees, wage subsidies and financial support.

The findings will be discussed by businesses at the next session of the Rakorako webinars which will be held today and tomorrow.

Fiji Human Resources Institute President, Kameli Batiweti says employer supported childcare and workplace responses to domestic and sexual violence are relevant now more than ever to promote a safe and resilient business as companies cope with the impact of COVID-19.

He says overall, the survey found out that 93 percent of the businesses have been negatively affected by COVID-19 with main impacts centering around restrictions on operations, cuts in demand and in turnover or cash flow.

Batiweti says some companies have sent staff on leave and implemented home-based work.

He says COVID-19 has impacted the world all over and most economies are struggling to find solutions for the new normal.

International Finance Corporation Resident Representative for Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Kiribati and Tuvalu, Deva De Silva says as businesses find solutions to survive, it is important they are also creating safe, family friendly and resilient workplaces.

FNPF Human Resources General Manager, Ravinesh Krishna says the Fiji National Provident Fund is providing counselling to its employees on parenting, domestic and sexual violence and financial stress management in COVID-19 times.

The series is built on the findings of two IFC reports released last year on the Business Case for Employer Supported Childcare in Fiji and the Business Case for Workplace Responses to Domestic and Sexual Violence.

IFC’s work in this area has been supported by the governments of Australia and New Zealand under the Fiji Partnership.




9 people arrested for breach of COVID-19 restrictions

By Naveel Krishant
Wednesday 27/05/2020

9 people were arrested over the last 24 hours for COVID-19 related breaches which includes people playing touch rugby.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says in the Northern Division, a 25-year-old man from Soasoa was arrested after Police pursued the suspect after he failed to stop his vehicle at a checkpoint.

Qiliho says four of the nine arrests were for breach of sporting activities in the Southern Division.

He says the four which included a 17-year-old juvenile were found playing touch rugby in Tacirua.

Qiliho further says 3 arrests were made in Tamavua-i-Wai whereby a woman and two men were found drunk and moving around during curfew hours.




FNPF pensioners to get $300 to $900 as COVID-19 Relief Payment

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 26/05/2020
Chief Executive Officer Jaoji Koroi

More than 7,000 Fiji National Provident Fund pensioners will receive a COVID-19 relief payment today.

The payment, which ranges from $300 to $900, will be disbursed directly to the Fund’s active pensioners.

Chief Executive Officer Jaoji Koroi said the Fund was able to provide this one-off payment to pensioners, following amendments to the FNPF Act.

Koroi says these amendments have allowed the Fund to distribute surpluses in the Retirement Income Fund to eligible pensioners.

He also says the provision of this relief for pensioners, is attributed to the successful Reform of the FNPF Pension Scheme in 2012.

The FNPF CEO says the Fund is now in a strong position to consider specific benefit improvements for the FNPF Pensioners and they are able to fund this relief assistance from the surplus in the Retirement Income Fund.

Pensioners who have received a pension payment up to 1st May 2020, will have their COVID-19 relief paid directly to their bank account or by pension order; whichever method they normally receive their monthly pension.

Those pensioners who have not received any monthly payment for March, April and May, will need to contact the Fund to verify and validate their accounts to enable them to access the COVID-19 payout.

Dependents and nominees of pensioners who have passed away, but the guaranteed pension payments are yet to be completed, will be eligible for this relief payment, however they must ensure their account status is active, in order to qualify.

Koroi also says that on Monday 1st June, the Fund will publicize the list of Pension IDs for pensioners whose accounts are suspended or inactive. These pensioners will need to contact the Fund before June 30th, 2020.




Government to guarantee Fiji Airways loans totaling $455 million

By Dhanjay Deo
Monday 25/05/2020
Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Parliament has approved the motion by Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum for the government to guarantee Fiji Airways loans totaling $455 million.

This includes domestic borrowings of up to FJ$191.1 million and off-shore borrowings of up to US$117.1 million.

This will be valid for 3 years effective from May 30th.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the FNPF is providing a loan of $53.6 million, the Reserve Bank of Fiji through the export finance facility loan will lend $75 million to the Fiji Development Bank which will then on-lend to Fiji Airways as RBF cannot do direct lending.

This will be at a rate of 3 percent, ANZ is providing $52 million in lending, Bred Bank is giving $10.5 million in the loan, DAE Capital is providing 9 months rental deferral of the two A-350s of $US20.2 million, Avalon is providing 9 months rental deferral of the A330-300s of $10.1 million, GCash has provided nine months rental deferral of two Boeing Max 8 of $8.9 million, KfW IPEX-Bank export credit agency is also providing 12 months loan repayment deferral on Max 8s which is $22.2 million.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the Asian Development Bank will also provide a loan of US$50 million. He says the ADB draw-down will not take place unless and until the situation prolongs into next year.

He told parliament that despite earning near-zero revenue, Fiji Airways has to pay monthly fixed costs of $38 million and this comprises of aircraft loans and leases of $20.2 million, employee costs, fixed payments for aircraft maintenance, and other costs totalling $6 million.

He says in addition to the fixed costs, ongoing flight suspensions and cancellations are contributing towards increased customer refunds and even if tickets are being sold as non-refundable, Fiji Airways is obliged to refund customers as the service is not being delivered at all.

He adds that all expatriate pilots’ contracts have been terminated, and most of the Fijian pilots except for five will have their jobs as they need them and when they get any good news on international travel, these pilots will be used to fly our planes.

While contributing to the motion, SODELPA MP Aseri Radrodro said the manner in which this motion has been brought to parliament is questionable and raises doubts about the intentions of the motion.

Aseri-sm

National Federation Party Leader, Professor Biman Prasad says we should guarantee this loan as we do not have any option.

Biman-Prasad-sm

However, Prasad says there are some pertinent questions that need to be answered about Fiji Airways' profits before the COVID-19 pandemic.




Hotels and resorts are empty but have to pay insurance premiums – Sayed-Khaiyum

By Dhanjay Deo
Monday 25/05/2020
Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says during the COVID-19 situation, the only certainty we have is the uncertainty.

He made this comment while speaking on the debate on Reserve Bank of Fiji Insurance 2017 Annual Report where Sayed-Khaiyum stated that there is a big issue in the tourism sector where hotels and resorts are empty but they have to pay insurance premiums.


Sayed-Khaiyum says no revenue is being generated, however these hotels and resorts have to pay premiums.

Sayed-Khaiyum says some of the insurance companies are working with these businesses.




Fiji Airways to make formal statement today after some workers report that more than 700 workers have been asked to go home

By Vijay Narayan
Monday 25/05/2020

Fiji’s international carrier, Fiji Airways will release a formal statement later today as reports are coming in from the workers that more than 700 airline workers are being let go from the company due to the effects of COVID-19 and closure of the international borders.

FijiVillage has been contacted by some cabin crew members who have received their termination letters, and being asked to return all the airline company’s property within 48 hours.

Fiji Airways employs upto 1,500 workers.

Stay with us as we are waiting for the statement from Fiji Airways.




Man arrested for breach of curfew after found hiding in a drain in Nabua

By Dhanjay Deo
Monday 25/05/2020

A man was arrested for breach of curfew last night after he was found hiding in a drain near the Muslim League Settlement in Nabua.

Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho says the 27-year-old man is one of the 14 that was arrested in the Southern Division for breaching curfew hours. The Southern Division includes Samabula, Tamavua, Tacirua, Nabua and Nasinu, and other areas outside of the Suva Central area.

In total, 16 arrests were made last night. The Northern and Western Divisions both recorded a case each.

Other arrests made in the Southern Division include a 40-year-old man who was found to be allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol when stopped by officers at a checkpoint in Pacific Harbour.

Two passengers aged 30 and 35 years of old were also arrested.




Restrictions and health measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic shouldn’t dampen Eid celebration - NFP

By Naveel Krishant
Sunday 24/05/2020
National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad

National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad says restrictions and health measures due to the COVID-19 pandemic shouldn’t dampen the celebration of Eid.

In his Eid Message, Professor Prasad says the celebration of Eid is a significant event in our multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious nation.

He says fasting is an act of both seeking purification and making a sacrifice for the blessings of the almighty for peace, unity and prosperity.

The NFP Leader adds thus, Eid is a celebration about seeking righteousness taking the solemn pledge to lead a righteous life.

He says this is an occasion to also remember the pioneer leaders of the Islamic community in Fiji adding they also acknowledge the immense contributions made by the Muslim community in the development of Fiji.

Professor Prasad further says they perfectly understand that COVID-19 and austerity measures prevent the Muslim community from celebrating Eid with fanfare and with friends and relatives like previous years.

He adds while it shouldn’t dampen spirits, it is important for all of us look after our families and share what we have with those who are less fortunate and underprivileged.

He says they also note the restrictions that have been put in place as travel bans and lockdowns stranding family members relatives in various parts of the country and the world.

He adds but that does not take away the significance of Eid and the sacrifices made during the month of Ramadan.




47 people arrested for curfew breaches

By Naveel Krishant
Saturday 23/05/2020
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

47 arrests were made last night for curfew breaches.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says 5 men were arrested in the Northern Division for failure to comply with orders and also face additional charges for allegedly resisting arrest.

Qiliho says the Southern Division recorded 17 arrests, the Eastern Division recorded 11 while the Western Division recorded 14.

Qiliho adds that in the Southern Division a taxi driver and a farmer were arrested in Navua after producing an expired inter-island bus ticket to officers manning checkpoints.

He is advising people to plan their activities well and avoid being caught out during curfew hours.




Fijian Police officer currently in India tests positive for COVID-19 – Qiliho

By Naveel Krishant
Friday 22/05/2020
Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho. [image: file]

A Fijian Police Officer who is currently in India with his family has tested positive for COVID-19.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the officer who is based at the Labasa Police Station flew to New Delhi, India on the 13th of February accompanying his wife and daughter who was to undergo medical treatment.

He says on the 18th of May, medical clearance tests were conducted and the results which came out on the 21st of May returned positive for the Police Officer, and results for his wife and daughter returned negative.

Qiliho says they have communicated his status to the Permanent Secretary for Health.

The Police Officer is now admitted at the Max Hospital in New Delhi and is in stable condition.




A travel bubble that includes Fiji with Australia and New Zealand would do far more good than any aid or assistance - Sayed-Khaiyum

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 22/05/2020
Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. [image: Fijian Govt]

Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says a travel bubble that includes Fiji alongside Australia and New Zealand would do far more good than any aid or assistance.

Fiji wants to join Australia and New Zealand's plans for a coronavirus-safe travel bubble, proposing a restart to South Pacific tourism and temporary worker programs.

Scott Morrison and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this month agreed to create a trans-Tasman tourism zone, allowing flights between the two countries as soon as coronavirus lockdowns are eased.

Sayed-Khaiyum has proposed Fiji be included, taking advantage of any move to restart international travel more than a month after Fiji's last confirmed COVID-19 case.

He told The Australian Financial Review the country was on the way to eliminating local community-based transmission, having successfully used border closures, aggressive contact tracing, isolation rules and World Health Organisation-certified testing.

Sayed-Khaiyum says Fiji is also developing a bluetooth-based contact tracing application, based on the COVIDSafe app designed for the Australian government.

He says we embarked on the largest health mobilisation campaign in Fijian history, with nearly 95 per cent of our population screened by medical teams going door to door to take temperatures and check for symptoms.

Sayed-Khaiyum says we’re incredibly grateful for the help of our larger regional neighbours, Fijians yearn to swim sustainably, not just be kept afloat. The Australian Financial Review says any move to include Fiji could also help fill labour shortages in New Zealand and Australia, with the Fijian government also eager to attract manufacturing and supply-line businesses.

Urbis chief economist Richard Gibbs says the Australia-New Zealand bubble would boost confidence and help restore some of the AUD$19 billion two-way trade between the nations.

Ardern and Morrison have warned implementing any new travel arrangements would take months.

Australia’s Trade and Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham has said broader international travel was likely not possible for the rest of 2020.




Schools to remain closed until no cases of COVID-19 in Fiji

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Friday 22/05/2020

Schools will be closed until there are no more COVID-19 cases in Fiji.

This has been highlighted by Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama during his visit to the island of Vatulele.

Bainimarama says one reason why schools are closed for a long period is that children can transmit this virus easily to their elders and this is why the government is always urging children to stay away from their elders.

He says this virus is similar to a tsunami where those that are fit can survive and those that are weak will perish.

The Prime Minister adds we are fortunate that the Health Ministry has done a good job in combating this virus, where no fatalities have been recorded.

He says Fiji had 18 cases of COVID-19, 15 patients have recovered and 3 are still admitted in isolation facilities.

School is expected to resume on the 15th of next month.



33 days without a new COVID-19 case – PM

By Naveel Krishant
Thursday 21/05/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says Fiji has gone 33 days without recording a new COVID-19 case.

Bainimarama says they are working with all stakeholders including the private sector to develop a long term containment strategy which upholds the health of every Fijian and instills confidence in our citizens, businesses and our international partners that Fiji is responsibly managing a return to normalcy.


The Prime Minister further says as soon as they decide there is a manageable risk to resume recreational contact sports, he will let the people know.

Bainimarama adds when it is safe to do so , we will resume full scale sporting tournaments in a way that puts the well-being of fans and athletes first.




Plan your activities in advance to avoid getting caught moving around during the curfew hours from 10pm to 5am - Qiliho

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 22/05/2020
Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho is reiterating the call to people to plan their activities well in advance to avoid getting caught moving around during the curfew hours from 10 pm to 5 am, as they will be arrested.

21 people were arrested over the last 24 hours which included 5 for breach of sporting activities.

The 5 arrested include a 16-year-old juvenile as they were found playing touch rugby at the Nasole Grounds.

The Southern Division recorded 15 breach of curfew arrests while the Western Division recorded 1 case.

5 of those arrested for breach of curfew were heavily intoxicated at the time of arrest and were trying to get back to their homes.

Qiliho says restrictions on sporting activities remain and will only change once an official announcement is made.




Fiji one of few countries poised to completely eradicate community-based transmission of COVID-19 - PM

By Naveel Krishant
Thursday 21/05/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says they are working with all stakeholders including the private sector to develop a long term containment strategy which upholds the health of every Fijian and instills confidence in our citizens, businesses and our international partners that Fiji is responsibly managing a return to normalcy.

Bainimarama says Fiji has gone 33 days without recording a new COVID-19 case.

The Prime Minister further says that makes us of the few countries on Earth poised to completely eradicate community-based transmission of COVID-19.

He adds but we cannot afford for our health protection measures to end as quickly as they were first introduced.

Bainimarama says as soon as they decide there is a manageable risk to resume recreational contact sports, he will let the people know.

Bainimarama adds when it is safe to do so, we will resume full scale sporting tournaments in a way that puts the well-being of fans and athletes first.




Beware of street-smart professional beggars trying to take advantage of the current situation – Dept of Social Welfare

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 21/05/2020

The Department of Social Welfare says if you are able to assist a person in need please do so however do verify their claims as there are street-smart people out there who know how to get to the hearts of the people and take advantage of the current situation.

While there are genuine cases on the ground, Director Rupeni Fatiaki has also highlighted cases of a man being dropped off every morning to beg on the streets and then picked up every afternoon by his son, people owning properties however still begging on the streets, youths and adults begging to get money for drugs and those people who have relatives who can look after them however they prefer to stay on the streets.

Many people have also started using children to move around with them to ask for money.

People are asked to verify these cases.

He says the genuine people also want to get out of poverty and do not want to sit on the streets all their lives.

The beggars are categorised as professional beggars, mentally challenged cases, social welfare recipients, child beggars, the homeless, and part-time beggars who move around during major events.




78% recovery rate has successfully broken the chain of COVID-19 transmission in Fiji- Dr. Waqainabete

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Thursday 21/05/2020
Minister for Health Dr.Ifereimi Waqainabete

Fiji’s COVID-19 recovery rate is at 78% and this has successfully broken the chain of transmission of the virus.

This was highlighted by Minister for Health Dr.Ifereimi Waqainabete as he addressed the 73rd Session of the World Health Assembly via the virtual de minimis platform.

Dr Waqainabete says that the COVID-19 pandemic was an extraordinary event for all humanity and has brought suffering to countless families and communities across the globe.

He also acknowledged the strong and decisive leadership of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and the Fijian government which enabled Fiji’s effective containment of the pandemic.

The Health Minister stressed that the World Health Organisation including the global leaders should focus not only on the pandemic but more so on the other issues confronting the global community such as the impact of climate change.

The 73rd session of the WHA was officially opened by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres where he stressed to world leaders that despite the call for solidarity, very little has been achieved and that COVID-19 was a wake-up call for all, saying that if the world cannot address this virus, the economy can never recover.

Guterres also called upon all leaders to take responsibility to provide a stronger and resilient society and have human rights in all that they do, including the continuous battle and commitment to address the climate risks among the vulnerable community.

Other notable leaders including President Xi Jinping of China, President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, President Emmanuel Macron of France, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Prime Minister Mia Mottley of Barbados and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea also addressed the floor during the opening segment and impressed on the urgent need for global solidarity now than ever before.

The main agenda for this virtual WHO Session this year firstly is to coordinate a global response amongst Health and Political leaders to address the COVID-19 pandemic and second, to ensure that the governance mechanism of the organization continues through the appointment of new Executive Board members including the review and approval of the proposed program budget.




Police arrest drunk truck driver during curfew hours

By Semi Turaga
Thursday 21/05/2020
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

Fourteen arrests were made last night for breach of the nationwide curfew hours.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says one case in particular involved a 52 year old heavy goods truck driver who was arrested in Korovou after 11pm as he was allegedly found driving under the influence of alcohol.

Qiliho says upon checking the suspect’s documents issued by employers as proof to indicate that he was supposed to be moving around between the hours of 10pm to 5am, officers discovered the suspect to be drunk.

The driver was arrested and is currently in custody.

Qiliho says this was the lone case recorded in the Eastern Division, while the Southern Division recorded 11 cases, whereas the Northern and Southern Divisions recorded one case each.

He says officers will be coming down hard on those using authorised documents issued by their employees to move around other than for its intended purpose.




Four juveniles allegedly breach curfew

By Semi Turaga
Wednesday 20/05/2020
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

Four juveniles were arrested in the Southern Division in the last 24 hours for breach of curfew.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says of the 18 arrests made, four were juveniles aged 16 and 17 years old.

He says the juveniles were arrested by a team of officers on beat patrol along the road near the Delai Nabuni Settlement in Cunningham.

Qiliho says the Southern Division recorded 15 of the 18 arrests made for breaching the nationwide curfew hours.

The Southern Division includes Samabula, Tamavua, Tacirua, Nabua and Nasinu, and other areas outside of the Suva Central area.

The Western, Eastern, and Northern Divisions all recorded one report of breach of curfew each.




Lower earnings for Fiji in the first quarter of 2020 - RBF

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 19/05/2020
Tourism earnings declined by 19.3 percent [Image: Fiji Airways]

Tourism earnings declined by 19.3 percent over the first quarter of this year to $522.5 million, due to reduced earnings from New Zealand and Australia.

The Reserve Bank of Fiji also states that lower prices of fruits, vegetables and yaqona underpinned the -2.8 percent March annual inflation outcome, lower than the -0.9 percent in December.

The RBF confirms that holdings of foreign reserves were $2.198 billion at the end of March 2020, sufficient to cover 6.9 months of retained imports of goods and non-factor services.




Fijian economy is expected to decline more sharply than -4.3%

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 19/05/2020
Reserve Bank of Fiji [Image: File Photo]

The Reserve Bank of Fiji has stated that the national economy is now expected to decline more sharply than the earlier estimate of -4.3% on account of the catastrophic impact of COVID-19.

In it’s latest quarterly report for 2020, the RBF says with travel restrictions and border closures imposed by Fiji’s major trading partner countries, the tourism industry along with the broader economy is expected to be severely affected.

The RBF says the economic contraction this year is in line with the anticipated recession in all major trading partner countries, except for China and India.

The Reserve Bank further says that the halt in tourism activity and its negative effects on other key sectors are expected to hinder growth during the year.

While efforts have been made to ensure supply chains are not affected, weak domestic demand and softening business confidence will be a drag on economic activity going forward.

Anaemic labour market conditions, reflected in reduced working hours and job losses, especially in tourism and related sectors, will also result in weak consumer spending in the short to medium term.

The stalling of large construction projects and slowdown in Government capital projects will also be a drag on construction, real estate and investment activities in 2020.

The Reserve Bank also confirms that tax revenue collections by Government are anticipated to fall significantly this year given the weak domestic and global economy.

To cushion the impact of a deep and prolonged recession, the RBF says it lowered its Overnight Policy Rate to 0.25 percent and recalibrated an existing lending facility to support businesses facing financing difficulties.

The Overnight Policy Rate is the interest rate at which a depository institution lends immediately available funds (balances within the central bank) to another depository institution overnight.

It also states that the Government announced fiscal stimulus initiatives by increasing funding to priority sectors and offering tax concessions to businesses.

The RBF says in light of these expansionary policies, the Fijian economy is expected to recover in 2021. However, the expected recovery is dependent on the resumption of global travel and trade, lifting of local restrictions and effectiveness of policy responses.




Muslims urged to monitor people visiting them on Eid to control crowding

By Rashika Kumar
Tuesday 19/05/2020
Eid is expected to be celebrated this weekend. [Image: File Photo]

The Fiji Muslim League is urging families to strictly monitor maximum gathering restrictions in their homes as people will be visiting their friends and families during Eid.

The League says people must take note that congregating in groups always has the risk of exceeding 20 people and has the potential of violating the social distancing rules.

They are also strongly recommending members to offer Eid prayers with families at homes as places of worship remain closed as per the government directive.

Meanwhile, League President Haji Hafizud Dean Khan says all Muslims are advised to break their fast at home with their household family members only.

Meanwhile, Eid is expected to be celebrated this weekend.




Badminton, Squash and Bowling now permitted- Qiliho

By Naveel Krishant
Tuesday 19/05/2020
Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says following further consultation and clarification on the sports that will be permitted,  non-contact sports namely Badminton, Squash and Bowling will now be permitted.

Qiliho says as most of these sports are played at their respective clubs, operators are warned that their bars must remain closed and there is to be no sale of alcohol.

Qiliho had earlier confirmed that people can play single non-contact sports like golf, tennis and volleyball.

However, he had stressed that the clubs are to remain closed.

He says those intending to get together for a friendly volleyball match are advised to limit the numbers to those playing and watching to less than 20 as any number above 20 will be considered a breach.

Qiliho says contact sports like touch rugby, soccer, basketball and others are still not allowed to be played.




12 breach of curfew arrests

By Semi Turaga
Tuesday 19/05/2020
12 arrests were made in the last 24 hours for breach of curfew. [Image: Fiji Police Force]

12 arrests were made in the last 24 hours for breach of curfew.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the Western Division recorded four cases while South recorded eight cases.

He says there were no cases recorded in the remaining three divisions.

Qiliho says while the reduction in numbers and the zero number of cases recorded in three other divisions is commendable, they know that the number can be reduced further.

The Police Commissioner says trends have shown that at the beginning of the week the number of arrests is usually low and as we head towards the end of the week and into the weekend, numbers spike again and the arrests can be avoided if people adhere to the nation-wide curfew hours from 10pm to 5am.




500 Jacks staff are jobless from today

By Rashika Kumar
Tuesday 19/05/2020
Jacks of Fiji

500 Jacks employees have been let go from today.

Jacks of Fiji had issued the notice of termination on the 20th of April.

Some staff who are part of the 500 workers who now do not have a job were being paid for 10 hours known as COVID-19 hours at a reduced rate.

CEO, Bhavin Khatri is yet to respond to these claims.

We were provided payslips where it showed an employee who was previously paid $3.64 an hour was being paid $3.12 an hour.

Khatri had said that he would not comment however they will issue a press release in due course which will answer the queries.

Khatri had earlier said that a significant number of employees are being impacted as their business is predominantly tourism related.

The company has outlined the redundancy package these staff are receiving.

They will be given one week’s pay per completed year of service provided they have completed a year of service while one week’s pay will be given for the staff who have not completed the one year of service.

The ex gratia payment would have been paid for the last 4 weeks.

900 workers continue to stay employed at Jacks Fiji.




Visitor arrivals at 678 for April due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic

By Vijay Narayan
Monday 18/05/2020
From the 678 visitors that came in last month, 6 came by air while 672 came by sea. [Image: Fiji Airways]

The provisional numbers show that visitor arrivals to Fiji for April 2020 totaled 678.

The Fiji Bureau of Statistics says this decrease in numbers can be attributed to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions on international travel due to closure of most international airports.

In comparison, in 2019, visitor arrival numbers for April stood at 76,813.

From the 678 visitors that came in last month, 6 came by air while 672 came by sea.

The sea visitor arrivals were mostly seamen on fishing vessels, who were already in Fiji waters when international travel was restricted.

Meanwhile a total of 7,608 Fiji residents departed our shores during the month of March of which 5,855 or 77 percent were for a short-term absence of under three months and 1,122 or 14.7% were for over three months and within 12 months period.




Police get legal advice in Veiraisi church service case

By Semi Turaga
Monday 18/05/2020
24 breach of curfew arrests were recorded from 10pm to 5am this morning. [Photo: Fiji Police Force]

Police are getting legal advice before taking further action in the case where 13 people were allegedly found conducting a church service in Veiraisi near Nadawa in Nasinu yesterday at a place of worship.

Social gatherings of 20 people or fewer are allowed while places of worship are not allowed to open as announced by the Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says all of the 13 people have been released.

Qiliho says investigators will be forwarding their case file for legal advice.

He says a total of 37 arrests were made in the last 24 hours and the majority were found sitting around at bus shelters or by the side of the road for absolutely no valid reason.

24 breach of curfew arrests were recorded from 10pm to 5am this morning.

The Southern Division recorded 13 cases, the Western Division recorded 5 cases, the Eastern Division recorded 4 cases while 2 cases were recorded in the Central Division.




13 people questioned and released for church service at place of worship

By Semi Turaga
Monday 18/05/2020
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

13 people have been questioned and released after they were allegedly found conducting a church service in Veiraisi yesterday at a place of worship.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says all 13 have been released as investigators will be forwarding their case file for legal advise.

A total of 37 arrests were made in the last 24 hours and the majority were found sitting around at bus shelters or by the side of the road for absolutely no valid reason.

24 breach of curfew arrests were recorded from 10pm to 5am this morning.

The Southern Division recorded 13 cases, the Western Division recorded 5 cases, the Eastern Division recorded 4 cases while 2 cases were recorded in the Central Division.




12 students who were arrested for allegedly playing soccer released on bail

By Shanil Singh
Sunday 17/05/2020
3 of the 12 students that appeared in court today for breaching COVID-19 restrictions.

12 tertiary students who were arrested for playing soccer at the Queen Elizabeth Drive beachfront on Friday have been released on bail.

All students who are from Vanuatu appeared before Suva Magistrate, Liyanage Wickramasekara today.

All have been released on a bail bond of $2000 and have been ordered not to re-offend.

A 7pm to 7am curfew has also been imposed on them and they have been ordered not to leave Viti Levu without the courts permission.

The court was told that the students found out through social media that the ban on playing contact sports had been lifted and they were allowed to play.

Magistrate Wickramasekara reminded them that laws in this country are not imposed through social media and as university students they should be well aware of it.

He says they had ample time to know that there is a complete ban on all contact sports.

The case will be called on the 31st of July.




No one should be treated unfairly or subjected to any form of harm and abuse during COVID-19 pandemic - Haus of Khameleon

By Dhanjay Deo
Sunday 17/05/2020

The Haus of Khameleon, a movement that is led by transgender women says that no one should be treated unfairly or subjected to any form of harm and abuse nor left behind, because of who they are or who they love during this COVID-19 pandemic.

The Haus of Khameleon is urging government and other stakeholders, to give visibility to and protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual, non binary and pansexual persons during the COID-19 pandemic.

The Director of Haus of Khameleon, Miki Wali says as they mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, this year’s theme on “Breaking the Silence” is timely given that the Fiji LGBTQI community is still reeling from the horrendous killings of two young members of their community in 2017 and 2018, with the cases still being investigated as they await justice to be served.

Wali says it is critical to ensure that the Fiji Police Force continue this investigation without delay, as justice delayed is justice denied.

Iosefo Magnus was found brutally murdered at the Vesida shortcut off Caubati and 23yr old USP student Akuila Salavuki was found dead along the Suva foreshore.

Police Spokesperson, Ana Naisoro says the Caubati murder case is open and still being investigated.

Naisoro says cases are not given a specific time frame for when it should be completed as some take longer than others and there are other cases of interest that are still open and still under investigation.

She says in the Suva foreshore case, the accused was acquitted by the court.

We have asked if the case will be reopened as the killer may still be out there.

Police are expected to provide a confirmation on this later.

Meanwhile, Wali adds that in Fiji, it is clear that the 2013 Constitution prohibits discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and gender expression and it is imperative that the state and all other actors fully recognize this aspect.

Wali says given Fiji’s recent appointment as Vice Chair of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the state has a responsibility to also uphold, respect, promote and protect human rights for everyone in Fiji.

Wali says over the past decades, protection of LGBTIQA+ people and all people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions and sex characteristics, has greatly expanded.

Wali says this year in Fiji is also the 10th Anniversary since Fiji, became the first Pacific Island nation to decriminalize Homosexuality.

The Haus of Khameleon will be coordinating an online engagement with response to the COVID-19 pandemic, for Transgender and Gender non-conforming people in Fiji called #TransActionFiji.

This is a campaign to break the silence and provide spotlight on the multiple and intersecting forms of injustice and inequalities Transgender and Gender Non-conforming people experience but also to share messages of hope, resilience and solidarity to fellow LGBTIQA+ Fijians.




38 arrests made last night for curfew breach

By Iva Danford
Sunday 17/05/2020

38 arrests were made last night for breach of curfew regulations.

There were no arrests in the Central Division.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the Southern Division which includes Samabula, Tamavua, Tacirua, Nabua and Nasinu, and other areas outside of the Suva Central area recorded 21 arrests.

Most people were found walking around after 10pm for no valid reason.

Qiliho says the Western Division recorded 9 arrests, Eastern Division recorded five arrests and the Northern Division recorded 3 arrests.

He says no juvenile was arrested over the last 24 hour period.

The Commissioner stressed that the nationwide curfew remains from 10pm to 5am and unless it is a medical emergency or someone has a valid reason such as work to be moving around with a signed letter indicating hours of work, people must stay home.

Qiliho says people should plan their time well and if they are at social functions when the clock strikes 10pm, they should be prepared to spend the night at that location as people will only be allowed to move again at 5am, the next morning.



12 arrested for playing soccer at Queen Elizabeth Drive beachfront

By Iva Danford
Saturday 16/05/2020

12 arrests were made for breach of sporting activities in the Central Division as a group of men were found playing soccer at the Queen Elizabeth Drive beachfront yesterday afternoon.

Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho says 52 arrests were made in the last 24 hours with breach of curfew arrests topping the list with 40 cases.

There were 20 arrests in the Western Division, Southern Division which includes Samabula, Tamavua, Tacirua, Nabua and Nasinu, and other areas outside of the Suva Central area recorded 17 arrests and Eastern Division recorded 3 arrests.

Qiliho is urging those who still need clarification regarding the restrictions to call the Police National Command Center on 9905 296.




Single non contact sports like golf, tennis and volleyball allowed but their clubs cannot open

By Vijay Narayan, Dhanjay Deo
Friday 15/05/2020
People can play single non-contact sports like golf, tennis and volleyball. [image: Fiji Volleyball]

People can play single non-contact sports like golf, tennis and volleyball.

However, Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho stresses that the clubs are to remain closed.

He says those intending to get together for a friendly volleyball match are advised to limit the numbers to those playing and watching to less than 20 as any number above 20 will be considered a breach.

Qiliho says contact sports like touch rugby, soccer, basketball and others are still not allowed to be played.

All health-protective measures remain as the government wants to ensure Fiji does not have a second wave of COVID-19 cases.

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says Fiji currently has 3 active COVID-19 cases and 15 cases have fully recovered.

Bainimarama has announced that the nationwide curfew will remain in effect from 10pm until 5am every day.

He also says social gatherings must be limited to 20 people or fewer.

Gyms, nightclubs, cinemas and swimming pools will remain closed, as will houses of worship. Schools will also remain closed as well until the 12th of June 2020.

The Prime Minister says existing quarantine protocols will remain in place, including for Fijians returning from overseas. These repatriating Fijians will immediately enter 14 days of quarantine in government-funded facilities.

At the end of the 14 day period, if they test negative for the virus, they can complete their remaining 14 days of self-quarantine at home.

Bainimarama says China is already seeing a second wave of infections and Europe is bracing for the same.

He stresses we cannot risk a second wave of Fijian infections; that is why, for the time being, all of the health protection directives will remain in full effect.



Health directives remain in relation to COVID-19 to avoid second wave of cases – PM

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 15/05/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. [image: Fijian Govt]

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has announced that the health directives will remain for now as Fiji does not want to risk a second wave of COVID-19.

Fiji currently has 3 active COVID-19 cases and 15 cases have fully recovered.

Bainimarama has announced that the nationwide curfew will remain in effect from 10pm until 5am every day.

He also says social gatherings must be limited to 20 people or fewer. Gyms, nightclubs, cinemas and swimming pools will remain closed, as will houses of worship. Contact sports are still not allowed to be played. Schools will also remain closed as well until the 12th of June 2020.

The Prime Minister says existing quarantine protocols will remain in place, including for Fijians returning overseas. These repatriating Fijians will immediately enter 14 days of quarantine in government funded facilities. At the end of the 14 day period, if they test negative for the virus, they can complete their remaining 14 days of self-quarantine at home.

Bainimarama says China is already seeing a second wave of infections and Europe is bracing for the same.

He stresses we cannot risk a second wave of Fijian infections; that is why, for the time being, all of the health protection directives will remain in full effect.

Gradual scale-back in the next few weeks but the good health habits should remain - PM

The Prime Minister has confirmed that in the coming weeks, they will finalise the game plan for a gradual scale-back of some of health protection directives.

Voreqe Bainimarama says no matter how confident we are that this virus has been defeated, the most critical restrictions aren’t going anywhere.

He says the good habits that we’ve picked up over the past few months – physical distancing, regular handwashing, staying home or wearing face masks when we’re sick, not sharing takis and bilos, and keeping a clean working environment – must become new ways of Fijian life.

Bainimarama says we cannot risk falling back into life-risking bad habits.

More than 800,000 Fijians screened and new contact tracing app developed

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says they have already health screened over 800,000 Fijians through the largest healthcare mobilisation campaign in Fijian history, and in the coming weeks they will massively step-up testing as well.

Bainimarama says under the digitalFIJI initiative, a mobile app called “careFIJI” has been developed that will harness our phones’ Bluetooth technology to make any future contact tracing faster, easier, and more effective. He says it will do so all while protecting the privacy of the user. Bainimarama says if enough Fijians use careFIJI, they will be able to avoid large-scale lockdowns entirely. He says more importantly, widespread adoption of careFIJI will help save lives, bring back jobs, and increase confidence among our tourism and trading partners.

The Prime Minister says this app comes from the very same technology that has been widely adopted by millions of Singaporeans and Australians in their own fights to contain the virus - meaning that its success will help pave the way to safely re-opening our borders to visitors.

He says when that day comes, tourists will be able to download careFIJI upon landing, giving them the confidence that Fiji has COVID-19 firmly under control. They are aiming to launch a pilot programme of the app as soon as they get approval from the Android PlayStore and Apple AppStore.

Bainimarama says the government needs you to download this app when it’s available, just as they need you to continue to adhere to every one of the life-saving directives.

More than 1,000 tests have also been done so far.

Minister for Economy to announce more support for the unemployed in partnership with the FNPF

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says early next week, the Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum will announce the second round of COVID-19 unemployment benefits to be paid out in partnership with FNPF to aid those Fijians whose employers have been severely impacted by this crisis.

Bainimarama says they are also closely monitoring and working with businesses in various sectors and financial institutions to provide targeted support.

He says the coronavirus is the challenge of our generation.

Bainimarama says if the campaign presses onwards to total victory, when the history books recount the difficulty of this period, they will tell of how Fijians led the way in beating this virus for good.

Bainimarama says we cannot risk falling back into life-risking bad habits.




More than 800,000 Fijians screened and new contact tracing app developed

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 15/05/2020
Bainimarama says under the digitalFIJI initiative, a mobile app called “careFIJI” has been developed that will harness our phones’ Bluetooth technology to make any future contact tracing faster, easier, and more effective.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says they have already health screened over 800,000 Fijians through the largest healthcare mobilisation campaign in Fijian history, and in the coming weeks they will massively step-up testing as well.

Bainimarama says under the digitalFIJI initiative, a mobile app called “careFIJI” has been developed that will harness our phones’ Bluetooth technology to make any future contact tracing faster, easier, and more effective.

He says it will do so all while protecting the privacy of the user. Bainimarama says if enough Fijians use careFIJI, they will be able to avoid large-scale lockdowns entirely.

He says more importantly, widespread adoption of careFIJI will help save lives, bring back jobs, and increase confidence among our tourism and trading partners.

The Prime Minister says this app comes from the very same technology that has been widely adopted by millions of Singaporeans and Australians in their own fights to contain the virus - meaning that its success will help pave the way to safely re-opening our borders to visitors.

He says when that day comes, tourists will be able to download careFIJI upon landing, giving them the confidence that Fiji has COVID-19 firmly under control.

They are aiming to launch a pilot programme of the app as soon as they get approval from the Android PlayStore and Apple AppStore.

Bainimarama says the government needs you to download this app when it’s available, just as they need you to continue to adhere to every one of the life-saving directives.

More than 1,000 tests have also been done so far.



Health directives remain in relation to COVID-19 to avoid second wave of cases – PM

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 15/05/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. [image: Fijian Govt]

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has announced that the health directives will remain for now as Fiji does not want to risk a second wave of COVID-19.

Fiji currently has 3 active COVID-19 cases and 15 cases have fully recovered.

Bainimarama has announced that the nationwide curfew will remain in effect from 10pm until 5am every day.

He also says social gatherings must be limited to 20 people or fewer. Gyms, nightclubs, cinemas and swimming pools will remain closed, as will houses of worship. Contact sports are still not allowed to be played. Schools will also remain closed as well until the 12th of June 2020.

The Prime Minister says existing quarantine protocols will remain in place, including for Fijians returning overseas. These repatriating Fijians will immediately enter 14 days of quarantine in government funded facilities. At the end of the 14 day period, if they test negative for the virus, they can complete their remaining 14 days of self-quarantine at home.

Bainimarama says China is already seeing a second wave of infections and Europe is bracing for the same.

He stresses we cannot risk a second wave of Fijian infections; that is why, for the time being, all of the health protection directives will remain in full effect.

Gradual scale-back in the next few weeks but the good health habits should remain - PM

The Prime Minister has confirmed that in the coming weeks, they will finalise the game plan for a gradual scale-back of some of health protection directives.

Voreqe Bainimarama says no matter how confident we are that this virus has been defeated, the most critical restrictions aren’t going anywhere.

He says the good habits that we’ve picked up over the past few months – physical distancing, regular handwashing, staying home or wearing face masks when we’re sick, not sharing takis and bilos, and keeping a clean working environment – must become new ways of Fijian life.

Bainimarama says we cannot risk falling back into life-risking bad habits.

More than 800,000 Fijians screened and new contact tracing app developed

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says they have already health screened over 800,000 Fijians through the largest healthcare mobilisation campaign in Fijian history, and in the coming weeks they will massively step-up testing as well.

Bainimarama says under the digitalFIJI initiative, a mobile app called “careFIJI” has been developed that will harness our phones’ Bluetooth technology to make any future contact tracing faster, easier, and more effective. He says it will do so all while protecting the privacy of the user. Bainimarama says if enough Fijians use careFIJI, they will be able to avoid large-scale lockdowns entirely. He says more importantly, widespread adoption of careFIJI will help save lives, bring back jobs, and increase confidence among our tourism and trading partners.

The Prime Minister says this app comes from the very same technology that has been widely adopted by millions of Singaporeans and Australians in their own fights to contain the virus - meaning that its success will help pave the way to safely re-opening our borders to visitors.

He says when that day comes, tourists will be able to download careFIJI upon landing, giving them the confidence that Fiji has COVID-19 firmly under control. They are aiming to launch a pilot programme of the app as soon as they get approval from the Android PlayStore and Apple AppStore.

Bainimarama says the government needs you to download this app when it’s available, just as they need you to continue to adhere to every one of the life-saving directives.

More than 1,000 tests have also been done so far.

Minister for Economy to announce more support for the unemployed in partnership with the FNPF

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says early next week, the Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum will announce the second round of COVID-19 unemployment benefits to be paid out in partnership with FNPF to aid those Fijians whose employers have been severely impacted by this crisis.

Bainimarama says they are also closely monitoring and working with businesses in various sectors and financial institutions to provide targeted support.

He says the coronavirus is the challenge of our generation.

Bainimarama says if the campaign presses onwards to total victory, when the history books recount the difficulty of this period, they will tell of how Fijians led the way in beating this virus for good.

Bainimarama says we cannot risk falling back into life-risking bad habits.




We are having discussions with Australia and New Zealand about a potential travel bubble - Sayed-Khaiyum

By Shanil Singh
Thursday 14/05/2020
Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum confirms that he has been in discussions with respective ministries of Australia and New Zealand and are looking forward to working with them in order to be in this travel bubble.

However, Sayed-Khaiyum says there is a lot of work yet to do regarding this and they still need a bit of time to do so.

He says COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the tourism sector and there is a need to get the sector back on.

Sayed-Khaiyum says it is important to note how we can re-engineer the tourism market going forward in terms of what types of products we can offer, what types of specials we can offer and the prices of food and beverages.

Australia’s High Commissioner to Fiji, John Feakes says there is no time given to this potential travel bubble because they are still working with New Zealand regarding this and it will take some time before an agreement is reached.

Feakes says there are still active COVID-19 cases in the three countries and the health of the Australians, Fijians and the New Zealanders will be first priority before a Trans-Tasman travel is looked into.




15 people arrested for breach of COVID-19 restrictions

By Naveel Krishant
Thursday 14/05/2020
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

15 people were arrested over the last 24 hours for breach of COVID-19 restrictions.

Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho says 4 juveniles were arrested in Namaka, Nadi for playing basketball.

Qiliho says the Western Division recorded 6 arrests for curfew breaches.

He adds the Southern Division recorded 5 arrests for breach of curfew.




27 people arrested last night for breach of COVID-19 restrictions

By Naveel Krishant
Wednesday 13/05/2020
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

19 people were arrested for breach of sporting activities in the last 24 hours.

Police say there were 27 arrests last night for the breach of COVID-19 restrictions.

Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says 9 people which included 6 juveniles were arrested in Nadawa for playing soccer while 2 men were arrested in Valelevu as they were playing touch rugby.

Qiliho says 8 people which included 6 juveniles were arrested in Nasese for playing basketball.

8 people were arrested in the Southern Division for breach of curfew.




All COVID-19 related breach arrests last night were from the Southern Division

By Naveel Krishant
Tuesday 12/05/2020

There were 25 COVID-19 related breach arrests last night and all were recorded in the Southern Division.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says 20 were for breach of curfew and 5 for breach of sporting activities.

Qiliho says of the 20 breaches of curfew arrests, 8 were juveniles aged 16 and 17 years as they were found sitting outside Caqiri Hall in Nasinu during curfew hours by a team of officers on patrol.

A 17-year-old was arrested with three others as they were found playing touch rugby at the Pacific Harbour beach front yesterday afternoon.

Qiliho says the tempo of mobile and foot patrols is being increased in densely populated areas and they have made several arrests where people were found walking around or sitting in groups in public places during curfew hours.




Police interview Fiji’s first COVID-19 patient

By Naveel Krishant
Tuesday 12/05/2020
Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says investigators interviewed Fiji’s first COVID-19 patient yesterday after he was cleared by medical authorities after completing his second mandatory quarantine isolation.

Qiliho says investigations were earlier put on hold regarding claims that the flight attendant had given false information to officials about his health status as investigators awaited medical clearance.

He adds the patient was interviewed at the Border Police Office in Nadi and has been released as investigations continue.




29 arrested for breach of curfew last night

By Naveel Krishant
Monday 11/05/2020
Photo: Fiji Police Force

29 people were arrested for breach of curfew last night.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the Southern Division recorded 21 arrests, the Eastern Division recorded 7 arrests while the Western Division recorded 1.

The Central and Northern Divisions recorded nil arrests.

Qiliho says they do anticipate cases of sporting breaches as we head into another week based on past trends.

He says they are reminding all Fijians that sporting activities are still prohibited.

The Police Commissioner adds frequent patrols will be conducted and anyone who has information of these breaches taking place is requested to call the National Police Command Centre on 9905 296 or their Divisional Command Centres on the following numbers:

Western Command Centre - 9905 457 Southern Command Centre - 9905 529 Northern Command Centre - 9905 722 Eastern Command Centre - 9905 563 Central Command Centre - 893 2875




Ministry of Agriculture urging farmers to use one acre of their land for rice farming

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Monday 11/05/2020
Minister for Agriculture Dr Mahendra Reddy

Farmers are being urged to use one acre of their land to plant rice to uplift the rice sector in the economy.

Minister for Agriculture Dr Mahendra Reddy says to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production a total of 24,000 acres of land with 2 crops per year is needed and currently, only 7000 acres of land is under rice cultivation.

He says Fiji imported $42.6m worth of rice last year, and this is equivalent to around 40,000 metric tonnes of rice.

Dr Reddy adds under the Rice Planting Initiative for Sugarcane Farmers that was launched in Lautoka last week, each sugarcane farmer will be provided with seeds of improved high yielding varieties that could be grown under rain fed climatic conditions.

He says this will provide food and increase income for sugarcane farmers as it has been proven that rice can be rotated with sugarcane.

He adds they are trying to revitalise the rice farming in sugarcane farming communities as history depicts that this community had been doing this in the recent years.




Traditional Mother’s Day church services moved online

By Semi Turaga
Sunday 10/05/2020
Centenary Church Fiji

With houses of worship closed until further notice due to COVID-19 related restrictions, traditional Mother's Day church services were moved online today.

Mothers still took centre stage.

Christian denominations around the country live-streamed special Mother's Day services on their Facebook pages.

Apart from this, many families organised services at their homes and live-streamed it for other family members that could not make it.

As part of programs organised for Mother's Day, the Methodist Church in Fiji is holding a live panel discussion by women and experts on family life on the roles and responsibilities in the home at 2 o'clock this afternoon.




27 breach curfew with some too drunk to realise where they were

By Semi Turaga
Sunday 10/05/2020
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says 27 people were arrested last night for breaching the curfew and there were a few cases where people were heavily intoxicated and did not realise where they were.

The Southern and Eastern Divisions recorded 10 arrests each while the Western Division recorded five cases while the Northern Division recorded two cases.

The Police Commissioner says the majority of the arrests involved those who were found walking around during curfew hours from 10pm to 5am.

Qiliho is reiterating the importance of planning, because while you may be allowed to move around for social gatherings with 20 people or less, as soon as it's 10pm you have to stay where you are until the curfew is lifted at 5am.



54,141 FNPF members receive $35 million under COVID-19 Assistance

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 06/05/2020
FNPF staff serving members. [image: file]

54,141 members of Fiji National Provident Fund have accessed their funds for the COVID-19 relief withdrawal scheme, which is 70% of the total applications received by the Fund so far.

More than $35 million has been paid for the COVID-19 relief withdrawals.

FNPF says the $31 million paid by the Fund to date, is more than half of the total amount ($56.3m) accessed for early withdrawals (excluding housing) by members in 2019.

41,698 members have accessed their own funds, while 12,443 members were assisted by the Government, with a payout of $4.2 million.

Chief Executive Officer Jaoji Koroi says the Fund is doing its best with the processing of applications.

Koroi says they understand that these are anxious times for members and they are doing their best to process COVID-19 withdrawal applications.

He also says the Fund has encountered some setbacks with payments processing, especially for those opting for M-PAiSA, BillPaid (Post Fiji) and the Government top-up, but this is due to the large volume of payments that are processed daily.

Koroi says these are challenges that they encounter daily but they continue to address it in their quest to ensure that members receive their funds.

The FNPF CEO has assured members that those who have applied for the COVID-19 withdrawals and meet the requirements, will receive their funds.

He reiterates that there are no cash flow issues as some were claiming, but the Fund is simply ensuring proper processes are followed for the withdrawal payout.

Koroi says these withdrawals are well within the Fund’s financial means and members can refer to FNPF’s annual reports that are available on their website because it contains all the facts pertaining to their funds.

406 members withdraw funds under TC Harold Assistance

A total of $515,000 has been paid to 406 FNPF members for the TC Harold withdrawal scheme, which is being processed simultaneously with the COVID-19 applications.

FNPF CEO, Jaoji Koroi says the Fund’s inspection teams are in Kadavu this week and have started visiting the villages and settlements that have been identified by the National Disaster Management Office.

Koroi says inspection for areas identified on Viti Levu, wrapped up last week and their teams will be in Kadavu until the end of next week.

He also says members who live outside of the areas identified as worst affected, can still access their funds for housing withdrawal if they are eligible.




Deaf community in Fiji now have access to accurate information relating to COVID-19 pandemic

By Priteshni Nand
Saturday 09/05/2020
Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Director Ashwin Raj

The deaf community in Fiji now have access to news, critical and accurate information relating to the Coronavirus pandemic through the availability of sign language interpreters on the two national television stations daily.

The initiative is led by the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme under its Fiji Access to Justice project.

The Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission says as a key human rights priority, persons with disabilities, including the deaf community, should have access, on an equal basis with others, to information and communication, state services and emergency services available during a global pandemic.

It says as such, the Commission had written to the two national television stations, Fijian Broadcasting Corporation and Fiji Television, initiating the idea of making their news bulletins more inclusive by using sign language interpreters, who constitute the ‘voice’ of deaf persons and hearing impaired, more so, enabling their accessibility to crucial information.

Commission Director, Ashwin Raj says during these unprecedented times when the world is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, and with social media platforms rife with misinformation and false information on the pandemic, special attention and care must be afforded to the needs of the vulnerable groups, in particular, women, children and persons with disabilities, to have access to information and public health services.

Raj says it is encouraging to see that the two television stations are now using accessible formats to enable the deaf community or the hearing impaired to have access to critical and accurate information on issues of public interest.

He says this will assist them to make an informed decision in ensuring safety and adherence to the laws in terms of knowing about curfew hours, accessing medical services and fever clinics at designated locations, accessing funds from the Fiji National Provident Fund and generally being able to fully participate in society at large.

This initiative is in line with Section 42 (1) of the Fijian Constitution which promotes the right of the persons with disabilities to have reasonable access to information and use of sign language. Article 9 and 21 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities also aims at elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility to information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services.

UNDP Pacific Office in Fiji Resident Representative Levan Bouadze says in these critical times, it is crucial that all citizens have equal access to important and timely information that can save lives.

Bouadze says UNDP has an existing partnership with the Fiji Association of the Deaf, which facilitated a fast response to the request from the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission’s request to have a team of sign language interpreters available for the evening news and special government updates on the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Fiji Access to Justice Project, funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP, supports access to justice, in particular for impoverished and vulnerable groups.

It does so by empowering people to access their legal rights and services, strengthening key justice institutions to deliver improved services, and strengthening the capacity of CSOs to deliver justice accompaniment services, with a special focus on supporting persons with disabilities and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.




117 people in quarantine facilities in Nadi

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Saturday 09/05/2020
Chief Medical Advisor Dr Jemesa Tudravu [Photo: Fijian Government]

A total of 117 people are currently being held at the four government quarantine facilities in Nadi.

These are Fijian nationals who came back from overseas.

This has been stated by Chief Medical Advisor Dr Jemesa Tudravu who says that none of these individuals have been showing symptoms of COVID-19.

He says as per protocol, these people will be tested on the 14th day of their stay and if it comes out negative, then they will be allowed to quarantine themselves at their homes for the next 14 days.

Dr Tudravu adds those that have been discharged from the quarantine facilities have been continuously followed up by their health team.

He says after they complete their 28 days of quarantine, the Ministry will give them their certificate of clearance.

Currently, Fiji has 4 active COVID-19 cases.

14 out of the 18 cases have recovered.




Cop and Corrections Officer allegedly breach curfew

By Semi Turaga
Saturday 09/05/2020
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

An off duty Police Officer and Fiji Corrections Service Officer were among 32 people arrested in the last 24 hours for COVID-19 related breaches.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the off-duty Police Officer was arrested in Narere while the Fiji Corrections Service Officer was arrested along Princes Road.

The Southern Division which includes Samabula, Tamavua, Tacirua, Nabua, Nasinu, and other areas outside of the Suva Central area recorded 24 cases.

10 of the cases in the Southern Division were in relation to people playing touch rugby.

The Police Commissioner says three juveniles aged 14, 15 and 16-years-old were playing touch rugby with another 20-year-old in Tacirua.

Qiliho says six men were also arrested for playing touch rugby at the beach along Pacific Harbour.

Police say both the Central and Western Divisions recorded three reports of curfew breaches while the Northern Division recorded two reports.




Lautoka City Council offers spaces in the city for tradespeople facing difficulties to earn an income

By Iva Danford
Saturday 09/05/2020
Sashi Kiran - Founder FRIEND

The Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development or FRIEND says the Lautoka City Council has agreed to offer spaces free of charge around the city where tradespeople can operate from to earn an income during this difficult period.

FRIEND says the current focus for this program are people from Ba, Lautoka and Nadi impacted by the demise of the tourism sector due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Council CEO Mohammed Anees Khan confirmed to FRIEND that the Council is able to offer Natokowaqa Pygmies Court and Shirley Park (opposite ANZ bank where the Saturday flea market used to be) as spaces where tradespeople could operate to service repairs on a daily basis.

FRIEND says due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, thousands of people have lost employment or are on reduced hours making it difficult for them to make ends meet.

They say the areas allocated can be used for unemployed technicians and electricians to repair washing machines, fridges, blenders, irons, brush cutters to help tradespeople generate income as they may be out of jobs, and providing a cheaper alternative to repair appliances for the public.

FRIEND says a marquee will be set up by the Council at Natokowaqa courts, but technicians will have to provide their own tents and tables at Shirley Park.

They say power can be supplied at Natokowaqa and Shirley Park at cost sharing basis and operating hours will be 8am to 5pm Mondays to Fridays and 8am to 12pm on Saturdays.

FRIEND confirms that a timeframe for this initiative has been agreed for next three months.

They say conditions for use include that users clear the repaired or unrepaired appliances at the end of the day for these spaces.

FRIEND is requesting those interested to please register with your trade at https://forms.gle/yYqm5f1686HsfoFX8

They say all those registered will have to be certified, registered and agree to City Council Conditions and abide by Health Safety Rules.

FRIEND is also offering free online training for those unemployed with assistance from Traseable Farms.

Through offering free online training and creating spaces for tradespeople, FRIEND with the assistance of other partners is trying to assist with income generation initiatives for those in need.




Contracts of some workers of Nausori and Nasinu Town Councils not renewed

By Iva Danford
Friday 08/05/2020
Nasinu Town Councils

Contracts of some workers of the Nausori and Nasinu Town Councils have not been renewed.

The Special Administrator of Nasinu and Nausori Town Council Baskaran Nair says 12 workers in Nasinu Town Council whose contracts had expired were employed on a temporary basis.

Nair says as per the council's HR Policy, it cannot keep any staff employed temporarily for more than one year.

He says the 12 workers contracts expired on the 30th of April.

Nair says the council's recruitment policy is to advertise vacancies and any person can apply.

Meanwhile, Fijivillage has got confirmation that the contracts of 19 workers from the Nausori Town Council have expired and have not been renewed.

We have sent questions to the Nausori Town Council concerning this issue and are still waiting for their response.




HART clarifies that rent payments are on hold from March

By Naveel Krishant
Friday 08/05/2020
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Sanjeeva Perera

The Ministry of Housing and Community Development confirms that residents of the Housing Assistance and Relief Trust or HART who featured in the Fiji Times yesterday and today, pay $5 a week or $20 a month for their rent and not $42 as stated.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry Sanjeeva Perera says the Ministry would also like to reiterate that rent payment for all HART residents have been put on hold from 20th March of this year and will continue to be so, amid the COVID 19 pandemic and effects of Tropical Cyclone Harold.

Perera says furthermore, HART Chief Executive Paserio Furivai and his team have been working closely with the Water Authority of Fiji and Energy Fiji Limited on having special bill payment arrangements for its residents according to the COVID 19 Budget response. He further says HART over the past weeks has distributed food rations donated by individuals and organisations adding whilst HART prioritizes families of single mothers with little children, families of those with special needs and senior citizens, they continue to work with community leaders, in identifying those who are in need and work towards providing the much needed assistance.

Perera adds HART has been working collaboratively with other organisations and individuals on providing assistance towards its residence and the response has been encouraging.

He says this has enabled them to reach out to residents who are most in need.

He confirms residents of HART will also be assisted by the Veilomani Food Bank initiative.




50% of 305 COVID-19 related employment complaints resolved - Bala

By Naveel Krishant
Friday 08/05/2020
Minister for Employment Parveen Bala [Photo: Fijian Government]

Minister for Employment, Parveen Bala says they have managed to resolve 50 percent of the 305 complaints they had received in relation to COVID-19.

Bala says the other 50% that they have now is on the issue of redundancy.

The Minister says this is something they have to deal with, and there is a process to that and they are asking the companies to follow that.

Bala had earlier highlighted that the issues were such as non-payment of statutory leave entitlements and other entitlements under the Employment Relations Act 2007.




Police officer among people arrested for playing sports which is breach of COVID-19 restrictions

By Naveel Krishant
Friday 08/05/2020
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

A Police officer was arrested yesterday for playing volleyball with three others in Veisari.

12 people were arrested for playing touch rugby at Lagilagi Housing in Jittu Estate and at the Lady Narain roundabout in Tamavua.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says there were also 16 arrests for curfew breaches.

The Western Division recorded 5 while the Southern Division recorded 11 for curfew breaches.

Qiliho says they commend those who have been listening and adhering to the advisories and they hope that the weekend will not see a spike in the number of arrests of curfew breach as people move around with the intentions of gathering for social purposes.




Defer your studies if you are facing challenges with online learning – FNU

By Semi Turaga
Thursday 07/05/2020

FNU Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor James Pounder says if students are facing challenges with online learning because of internet connectivity and no access to proper devices, their advice as a university is to defer studies for the time being and pick it up when face to face teaching resumes and learn everything you missed.

He says if students don’t have connectivity or a device, their advice is to contact their course coordinator.

Professor Pounder says there will be things like block or intensive teaching to enable students to catch up with anything they have missed.

He says they are also assisting students as far as internet connectivity is concerned.

Professor Pounder says in terms of costs they've negotiated arrangements with Vodafone and Digicel for students to get free access to the FNU website and Moodle as long as they have connectivity.

He says they are obviously aware that it's very difficult for students to be able to do assignments on smartphones and what students need is a proper device which is either a PC or a notebook or IPAD.

Professor Pounder says they are negotiating now with the Tertiary Scholarship and Loans Board about the book allowance which is normally given to the students to be used as a device allowance.

He says what they are looking to do is take control of that part of the TSLB grant so they can actually make sure that students get devices.

Professor Pounder says there should be no student in FNU in the future who should not have a suitable device.

He says the thing about the online mode is that in terms of the time that is taken up by teachers, it is actually more intensive.

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Professor Pounder says there are Moodle discussion groups and teachers are sometimes even working right till the evening answering questions and creating discussions that happen when online learning is done properly.

He adds they are still in a learning situation at the present time because many of the faculty were not accustomed to online learning.

The Acting Vice-Chancellor says online learning is not a cheap option.

Professor Pounder says they had discussions with students yesterday and they have not in any way requested for a reduction in fees.

Professor Pounder says they have very good relations with the student union.

He says anything they do in FNU is done with the consent of the President of the student union and his team.

He says online learning has been an experience for everyone at FNU and this should make them much better prepared for the future.




Govt to make announcements after 30 days of State of Natural Disaster

By Iva Danford
Thursday 07/05/2020
Health Minister Ifereimi Waqainabete. [image: Fijian Govt]

The government as a whole will be having discussions and the Prime Minister will be making announcements as to what will happen when the 30 days of State of Natural Disaster comes to an end next week.

This has been highlighted by Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete who says their role is to provide technical advice as to where we are in terms of COVID-19 and what they are doing to fight it.

Waqainabete says it is heartening to see the behavioural changes in place in terms of what needs to be done in breaking the chain of the spread of COVID-19.

Waqainabete says majority of the people are practicing social distancing, keeping away from the mass gatherings and many are fronting up to the fever clinics.

He says we need to continue with these good practices because the pandemic is still out there and the World Health Organisation has not called it off.

Waqainabete says some countries are having re-emergence of the virus and we need to be careful that we don't have that.

The Minister says what is really helping them now is the COVID-19 supplementary budget which ensures that they procure important equipment and consumables that are needed to fight the virus.

Waqainabete says they are still facing challenges which include breaches of the curfew and mass gatherings.




USP students facing issues with lack of laptops, smart devices and internet

By Dhanjay Deo
Thursday 07/05/2020
University of the South Pacific

The USP Students’ Association says they are receiving information from USP students who are now studying online about lack of information and communication tools like laptops and smart devices.

Student Association’s President, Joseph Sua says students are also having internet issues during peak hours of the day and difficulties in accessing materials on e-learning platform due to data traffic.

Sua says students have appreciated the work by USP faculties and course coordinators in being flexible with deadlines and extending them on case by case basis accordingly.

Sua says that they are keeping an active tab on their social media pages/groups and emails in noting down concerns of the students.

The University of the South Pacific had said yesterday says it is conducting a survey among their students to see whether they have sufficient resources to access online materials.

Professor Ahluwalia had stated that from the initial set of data they have received, about 89% of their students have some electronic equipment or gadget such as Laptop/PC, Tablet or Smart Phone.

We have sent further questions to the USP.

When questioned if the USP Students’ Association has reached out to its members in Fiji to check whether they are facing major financial constraints and whether the association will be able to help them through welfare funds, Sua says the University is also being consulted on possible ways to assist students so that they can jointly provide assistance.

He says they have contacted their Branch Presidents in Labasa, Laucala and Lautoka campuses who are working on their possible scenarios and planning for welfare projects.




Workplace survey to find impact of COVID-19

By Naveel Krishant
Thursday 07/05/2020
Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Parveen Bala

A nationwide workplace survey will start next Wednesday that is aimed at finding the impact of COVID-19 at workplaces.

While opening the Enumerators Training for the survey, Minister for Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations, Parveen Bala says this survey is quite an exercise, implemented to achieve a maximum number of participation out of the 24,000 registered employers to confirm their count, distribution, characteristics, perspectives and experiences on the effect of COVID-19 in the workplaces and on their employees.

Bala told the enumerators that the information that they gather will assist them to create an accurate, up-to-date and locally accepted representation of the workplaces and the effects of COVID-19 on its employees.

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He adds this information is fed back to the government and its partners to inform policy and planning in their collective response to COVID-19.

The Minister further says survey data is a critical tool for workplaces and government through his ministry aims to provide this to them.

Bala says it will help workplaces and government understand the effects of COVID-19 on the labour markets and how it has affected their services.

He adds the exercise will also increase understanding of the ministry in respect of the issues faced by workplaces and workers alike.




No social gathering arrests in the last 24 hours

By Dhanjay Deo
Thursday 07/05/2020
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

No reports of social gatherings were recorded in the last 24 hours, however arrests were made for breach of curfew regulation.

Twelve people were arrested last night for breach of curfew with the Western Division recording six cases.

The Southern Division which includes Samabula, Tamavua, Tacirua, Nabua, Nasinu, and other areas outside of the Suva Central area recorded four cases while the Northern and the Central Divisions recorded one case each.




More than 1,300 COVID-19 tests done in Fiji

By Iva Danford
Wednesday 06/05/2020
Minister for Health Ifereimi Waqainabete

More than 1,300 COVID-19 tests have been done in Fiji.

This was confirmed by the Minister for Health Ifereimi Waqainabete who says that Fiji’s COVID-19 positive rate is 1.4 percent.

Waqainabete says Fiji’s testing capacity has increased remarkably because the Fiji Centre for Disease Control is here and the freight flights through Fiji Airways is able to bring the re-agents needed for testing.

He says Fiji’s testing capability is much more than the World Health Organization’s criteria in terms of what we need to do to test the population.

Fiji has 4 active COVID-19 cases, where 14 out of the 18 cases have recovered.

Waqainabete says the active cases are all in stable condition.




Senior RFMF officers discuss military cooperation beyond the COVID-19 with other foreign military representatives

By Shanil Singh
Wednesday 06/05/2020
Military Cooperation beyond COVID-19 [Photo: New Zealand High Commission Suva]

Senior officers of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces met with foreign defence attache’s and other foreign military representatives to discuss military cooperation beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

In attendance were the defence attaché’s from Australia, Canada, Indonesia, New Zealand, UK, United States and representatives from Japan.

thumbnail-Military-Cooperation-Pic-3

The Dean of the Attachè Corps, Lieutenant Colonel Josh Wineera says that battle against COVID-19 continue but they also need to think about the security environment beyond that and how the defence partners in Fiji can assist the RFMF to build its future capabilities.

Wineera adds each of the nations represented at this forum bring a collective mass of engagement programmes such as individual training opportunities, collective training as well as supplying military equipment.

The one-day forum saw the RFMF senior officers present the priorities for military engagement and the foreign representatives outline the programmes and activities for each of their countries.

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USP conducting survey to see whether students have resources to study online

By Dhanjay Deo
Wednesday 06/05/2020
Vice-Chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia [Photo: Twitter Page]

The University of the South Pacific says it is conducting a survey among their students to see whether they have sufficient resources to access the online materials.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Pal Ahluwalia says at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and during the lockdown period, the USP converted almost 300 face-to-face courses, to online courses, whilst meeting the required quality standard of online learning and teaching delivery.

Professor Ahluwalia says from the initial set of data they have received, about 89% of their students have some electronic equipment or gadget such as Laptop/PC, Tablet, or Smart Phone.

He says they are still receiving feedback and this figure may change.

Professor Ahluwalia says they have formed a Learning and Teaching Continuity Team that is tasked with monitoring the quality of their online delivery.

He says USP has a long experience in flexible learning and teaching and since 1970, the USP distance education programme has expanded tremendously in both the number of courses it offers and student enrolments.

He adds that all their students have experience with online learning and teaching.

Meanwhile, the USP Students’ Association President, Joseph Sua says network traffic has been all time high in Fiji and the eLearning platform will be affected.

He says they are doing their best in every way to facilitate student requests/issues from all their branches to appropriate authorities at the University.




Southern Division continues to dominate COVID-19 related breaches

By Semi Turaga
Wednesday 06/05/2020
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

Most of the arrests for breaches of COVID-19 related restrictions in the last 24 hours were in relation to people participating in sporting activities in the Southern Division.

32 arrests were made in the last 24 hours.

Police say the Southern Division recorded 29 reports which includes 17 for sporting activities and 12 cases of breach of curfew.

The Southern Division includes Samabula, Tamavua, Tacirua, Nabua and Nasinu, and other areas outside of the Suva Central area.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says nine juveniles were arrested in the last 24 hours.

He says a 15 and 16-year-old were found walking around in Delaivalelevu after curfew hours.

Qiliho adds two 17-year-olds were arrested with others as they were found playing basketball along Padam Lala Road.

Five youths were also arrested in Vatuwaqa for playing touch rugby.

The Western Division recorded two cases of curfew breaches while one report was recorded in the Eastern Division.




Sabha assists 167 families affected by COVID-19

By Rashika Kumar
Wednesday 06/05/2020

Shree Sanatan Dharm Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji has assisted 167 families who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and Tropical Cyclone Harold and will be assisting another 100 families in the coming weeks.

However Sabha General Secretary, Vijendra Prakash says the number of people seeking assistance is increasing as more jobs are affected.

He says they will be having a discussion with their national executive council members to be prepared to provide assistance.

Prakash says they are also requesting their branch officials to survey their own area.

He says they have already given food packs to 32 families in the Nabua lockdown area and 98 families in the Soasoa lockdown.

They have also assisted 37 families in Nausori and Tailevu who were affected by Tropical Cyclone Harold.

He also says that Delta Timber has provided over $17,000 worth of roofing iron and other material to the people of Vusuya who were affected by TC Harold.

Prakash says members of the Sanatan Dharm Rewa Sabha will be distributing 100 parcels to people who were affected by the recent flooding in Omkar Road, Narere as they have received assistance from former members in the United States.




USP will consider re-looking at their fee structure

By Dhanjay Deo
Tuesday 05/05/2020
Drone footage of USP, Laucala Bay Campus. [image: PMC]

The University of the South Pacific says they will consider re-looking at their fee structure, however the current measures which includes online classes are temporary and they will resume face to face teaching as soon as government relaxes the social distancing requirements.

The USP has made this comment after Fijivillage asked whether the University will re-look at the fee structure as students are no longer provided with face to face lectures, and students are no longer using any USP facilities like labs, lecture rooms and library as they are studying from home.

We have raised that private students definitely have been affected and asked whether there will be some relief for them in regards to their fees.

Vice-Chancellor and President Professor, Pal Ahluwalia says they are confident that given the excellent control over COVID-19 by all their member governments, they will return to normal classes in Semester 2.

He says they have also ensured that students can access materials as their computer labs and library are open and assisting their students with access.

Professor, Pal Ahluwalia adds that they are also flexible about the due date for tuition fees and have extended the deadline for Semester 1 and Trimester 1, 2020, up to the end of exams.

Meanwhile, the USP’s Students’ Association says it has been liaising with the University on fees and other costs that would need to be re-looked at from next semester should the current situation continue where students are now studying online.

President, Joseph Sua says some private students have also requested for fees refund due to hardships faced.

He says their students have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and and the recent TC Harold.

Sua says they have received requests from USP students in Fiji Vanuatu, Samoa, Tonga and Kiribati with regards to food rations and educational materials and this has been looked at.




FWRM deeply concerned with gender based violence during COVID-19 pandemic

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 05/05/2020
The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement Executive Director Nalini Singh. [image: file]

The Fiji Women’s Rights Movement says ten women tragically lost their lives to domestic violence in 2019 and the FWRM is deeply concerned with news reports of a young woman that was allegedly stabbed to death by her partner in Naitasiri.

Executive Director Nalini Singh has also reiterated the need to prioritise responses to gender based violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the added stress emerging from the pandemic, FWRM realises that the vulnerabilities of women and girls has increased even further.

FWRM along with other women’s rights organisations and the Ministry of Women have warned of a likely increase in domestic violence in lockdown situations.

Singh says according to their research, it generally takes a woman more than 2.5 years to report domestic violence.

She says with COVID-19 restrictions, this enforced isolation could mean the worst case scenarios for victims or survivors and those at risk.

FWRM has also commended the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation for the formation of the Gender Based Violence Working Group and the COVID-19 Response Gender Working Group to gauge the impact of COVID-19 on women and girls.

Rape statistics are worrying

Singh says additionally, news reports of the alleged rape of a 2-year-old girl in Rakiraki is disheartening, particularly after continued analysis by FWRM notes, that the average age of the youngest victims or survivors of Sexual Violence and Rape Cases heard in the courts from 2016-2019, was under 5 years.

The movement’s analysis also found that all victims/survivors of the 101 rape cases decided by the High Court last year were female. The oldest victim/survivor was a 63-year-old woman whilst the youngest victim/survivor was 2 years and 11 months old child.

In all 101 cases of rape, all the accused were male, the youngest accused was 12 years old and the oldest at 83 years of age.

The average age of victims from 2016 to 2019 is 16 years old and 53 percent of victims were under 17 years of age.

Singh says this is a sad reflection of our society.

She says there is no excuse for such despicable acts of crime and we need to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice and also address the deeply entrenched patriarchy in our communities which perpetuates violence against women and girls.

If you are, or know of anyone at risk of, or subjected to domestic violence please call the Domestic Violence Helpline Number on 1560 and the Child Helpline on 1325.




Fiji having discussions with Australia and NZ on the idea of opening up travel between the three countries

By Iva Danford
Tuesday 05/05/2020
Attorney General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Fiji is having discussions with Australia and New Zealand on the idea of opening up travel between the three countries based on new legal requirements.

This has been confirmed by the Attorney General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum who says that they are in talks since Easter.

Sayed-Khaiyum says that they have had discussions and have written to ministers in Australia and New Zealand and they are awaiting a formal response.




We have this virus on the ropes now but keep following health directives – PM

By Vijay Narayan
Monday 04/05/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama [Photo: Office of the Prime Minister]

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says we have COVID-19 on the ropes at the moment, and the government is aiming to have 4 weeks without any new case in Fiji that will see us officially breaking the known chains of transmission.

While speaking from onboard the RFNS Kacau, Bainimarama says people should remain vigilant as there could still be hidden symptom-less cases.

Bainimarama says they are focusing on the 28 day period with no new cases.

Bainimarama left with Infrastructure Minister, Jone Usamate to visit the areas affected by Tropical Cyclone Harold in Lau and Kadavu today.

He will go to Ono-i-Lau, Vatoa, Moala, Matuku and Kadavu during the weeklong tour.




FSC now implementing two months leave without pay for their 130 staff where possible – Clark

By Dhanjay Deo
Monday 04/05/2020

The Fiji Sugar Corporation says they are now implementing two months leave without pay for their 130 staff where possible instead of sending them on leave without pay for four months.

The FSC says it understands that due to the COVID-19 crisis, unemployment rates have increased substantially and any chance of their employees seeking temporary employment elsewhere has diminished remarkably.

CEO, Graham Clark says they are rotating individuals so that instead of four months unpaid leave, the impact is felt only for two months.

He says in a scenario where they have two drivers in a department, each can go on two months unpaid leave instead of one individual going for four months.

Clark adds that as part of the COVID-19 response plan, contracts for works previously outsourced have been cancelled such as grass cutting, mill mud/bagasse transportation as these tasks can be done by employees included in the leave without pay.

He says the crushing season is only six weeks away and they will be needing lorry drivers for cane carting and FSC employees with a valid license can be selected for the role.

Clark says first preference will be given to their permanent employees on leave without pay for work assigned in the crushing period.

The FSC CEO says the COVID-19 Response Plan is designed to be temporary where possible and should things normalise sooner globally, changes will be restored.

However, he says that they have to be mindful that if the COVID-19 crisis isn’t averted with WHO warning to be wary of the 2nd and 3rd wave of COVID-19 and if if the global economic situation doesn’t improve in the four months, then they may be compelled to extend the Response Plan further.

Clarks adds that seven contracts have not been renewed and six employees have officially retired post-COVID-19 Response Plan.




Victims of Domestic Violence are now locked in 24/7 with their perpetrators- Shamima Ali

By Iva Danford
Monday 04/05/2020
Coordinator of the Fiji Women Crisis Centre Shamima Ali [Photo: Fiji Women Crisis Centre]

Women who are victims of domestic violence are now locked in at home 24/7 with their perpetrators who have lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and there have been a lot of cases of coercive control by violent partners.

This was highlighted by the Coordinator of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre Shamima Ali who says that 91 percent of the calls they are receiving now are reports of COVID-19 related violence.

In April alone, 498 out of the 669 calls were domestic violence related.

She says they are getting calls from the victims and even their neighbours. These are then referred to police.

Ali says they still believe more cases of domestic violence, rape and child abuse remain under-reported and they continue to work with stakeholders on this issue.

She says she would like to remind the women who are going through this issue that they are not alone.




Nineteen arrested for curfew breaches last night

By Shanil Singh
Monday 04/05/2020
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

Nineteen arrests were made last night for curfew breaches with the Northern Division recording the highest number with 12 arrests.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the Western Division recorded five cases while there were two arrests in the Southern Division.

There were no arrests in the Eastern and Central Divisions.

Qiliho says it is commendable that there were no reports of social gatherings in the last 24 hours but hopes that the high number of arrests made in relation to sporting activities last week will not be repeated this week.

He says they reiterate the Prime Minister's reminder that everyone should act as if COVID- 19 is around.




4 juveniles and 2 adults arrested for playing touch-rugby in Vesida, Nasinu

By Naveel Krishant
Sunday 03/05/2020

More people have been arrested for playing touch rugby as this is a breach of COVID-19 restrictions.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says 4 juveniles aged between 11-16 years and 2 adults aged 19 and 21 years were arrested in Vesida, Nasinu.

Qiliho says it is never an easy situation to see young children be taken into custody with their parents and guardians, however to avoid these situations, parents and guardians need to be fully alert and know the whereabouts of their children at all times.

All sporting activities are not allowed as a precautionary measure under the Public Health Act.

Please comply with these protective measures.




9 adults who were caught playing touch-rugby in Navua ordered to do community service

By Shanil Singh
Sunday 03/05/2020

10 people who were arrested for breaching COVID-19 restrictions as they were found to be playing touch rugby in Nakaulevu, Navua on Friday have pleaded guilty to their charges.

They were produced in the Navua Magistrates Court today.

All of them were charged with failure to comply with an order under the Public Health Act.

Temo Tuirabe, Pita Caras, Jiuta Korovu, Varanisese Vauoro, Laisiasa Ligani, Eparama Masu, Samuela Dokana, Ratu Manasa and Asaeli Mata have been sentenced to do 40 hours of community work under the supervision of the Probation Officer.

They are to report to the Social Welfare Office in Navua within the next 72 hours.

A juvenile who was also arrested has been released on a bail bond of $1000.

The case will be called on the 22nd of this month for the review of community work.




5 people arrested and make court appearance for breaching COVID-19 restrictions

By Shanil Singh
Sunday 03/05/2020
Sharon Begum, Atunaisa Ramatau and Annette Maharaj were among the 5 that appeared in court today.

Five people who were arrested for breaching COVID-19 related restrictions appeared before Suva Magistrate Joseph Daurewa yesterday.

All five have been charged with failure to comply with an order under the Public Health Act.

Sharon Begum and Annette Maharaj have been released on a bail bond of $500 each and have been ordered not to re-offend or change their residence.

Begum has been told to report to the Samabula Police Station every Saturday while Maharaj has been ordered to report to the Totogo Police Station every Saturday.

Begum’s case will be called on the 6th of July while Maharaj’s case will be called on the 19th of this month where they will take their plea.

Atunaisa Ramatau and Vetaia Lewenavanua who were arrested last Friday for loitering around during curfew hours, pleaded guilty to their charges and have been fined $500 each.

Ramatau and Lewenavanua have been given 2 months to pay their fines and are facing 30-days imprisonment if they fail to do so.

A 21-year old man who was also arrested for breaching curfew has been released on a bail bond of $500.

Timoci Batinuka has been ordered to report to the Raiwaqa Police Station every Saturday between 10am to 3pm .

The case will be called on the 2nd of June where he will take his plea.




All 35 COVID-19 tests last night have returned negative - PM

By Vijay Narayan
Sunday 03/05/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. [image: Fijian Govt]

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama confirms that all 35 COVID-19 tests last night have returned negative.

Fiji has not had any new cases in the last 2 weeks and 2 days.

The government has 12 days left to it's Expected Day of Declaration.

Bainimarama had earlier told Fijivillage that is when the government can declare Fiji COVID-19 free from the community.   

He says after that planned declaration, the only threat will be those arriving back into the country but they are in quarantine so they don’t pose a big risk.

The Expected Day of Declaration is also the day that corresponds with the end of the COVID-19 State of Natural Disaster.

Fiji has 4 active COVID-19 cases.

The Prime Minister says 14 out of the 18 cases have recovered which is a 78% recovery rate.

Bainimarama stresses that the nationwide curfew remains from 10pm to 5am, social gatherings should be 20 people or less and people should continue to practise social distancing.

Please do not ignore the health directives and always act as if COVID- 19 is around because it is still around us.




4 juveniles and 2 adults arrested for playing touch-rugby in Vesida, Nasinu

By Naveel Krishant
Sunday 03/05/2020

More people have been arrested for playing touch rugby as this is a breach of COVID-19 restrictions.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says 4 juveniles aged between 11-16 years and 2 adults aged 19 and 21 years were arrested in Vesida, Nasinu.

Qiliho says it is never an easy situation to see young children be taken into custody with their parents and guardians, however to avoid these situations, parents and guardians need to be fully alert and know the whereabouts of their children at all times.

All sporting activities are not allowed as a precautionary measure under the Public Health Act.

Please comply with these protective measures.




PM confirms Fiji now has only 4 active COVID-19 cases

By Vijay Narayan
Saturday 02/05/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

More good news today as Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has confirmed that Fiji now has only 4 active COVID-19 cases.

Bainimarama says Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete has confirmed that another 2 patients have fully recovered today.

The Prime Minister says 14 out of the 18 cases have now recovered which is a 78% recovery rate.

The 4 active cases are the man from Nadera, the hairdresser from Suva, the child of the hairdresser and barber in Suva and the woman from Ba.

Both Nabua and Soasoa have also completed 28 days and the lockdowns have been lifted.

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Soasoa lockdown area in Labasa [image: Satish motormart]13785199965e97f826f5e88ac806f3 Nabua lockdown area in Suva. [image: File]

Bainimarama stresses that the nationwide curfew remains from 10pm to 5am, social gatherings should be 20 people or less and people should continue to practise social distancing.

Please do not ignore the health directives and always act as if COVID- 19 is around because it is still around us.




39 people who breached the COVID-19 restrictions front court

By Shanil Singh
Saturday 02/05/2020
A few of the 39 people that were playing rugby at the Nukuwatu foreshore in Lami.

21 juveniles and 18 adults who were arrested for breaching COVID-19 restrictions appeared before Suva Magistrate Jioji Boseiwaqa today.

All have been charged with failure to comply with orders under the Public Health Act.

They have been released on a bond of $200 each and have been told not to re-offend.

They were arrested for playing touch rugby at the Nukuwatu foreshore in Lami on Thursday.

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Magistrate Boseiwaqa has also ordered them not to recommit such offences.

The juveniles have been told to report to the Juveniles Court on the 9th of next month while the case of the adults will be called on the 27th of July.




Government has 13 days left to it's Expected Day of Declaration - PM

By Vijay Narayan
Saturday 02/05/2020
Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says the government has 13 days left to it's Expected Day of Declaration.

Bainimarama says that is when the government can declare Fiji COVID-19 free from the community.

He told Fijivillage that after that planned declaration, the only threat will be those arriving back into the country but they are in quarantine so they don’t pose a big risk.

The Expected Day of Declaration is also the day that corresponds with the end of the COVID-19 State of Natural Disaster.

Fiji now only has 4 active COVID-19 cases.

The Prime Minister says 14 out of the 18 cases have now recovered which is a 78% recovery rate.

Bainimarama stresses that the nationwide curfew remains from 10pm to 5am, social gatherings should be 20 people or less and people should continue to practise social distancing.

Please do not ignore the health directives and always act as if COVID- 19 is around because it is still around us.




59 arrested over the last 24 hours for alleged COVID-19 breaches including 10 people who were playing touch rugby

By Naveel Krishant
Saturday 02/05/2020

59 people were arrested over the last 24 hours for alleged COVID-19 breaches.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says 42 of the 49 arrests were for breach of curfew 10 were sports related and 7 for failing to adhere to social distancing restrictions.

The Southern Division recorded 31 arrests, 21 for breach of curfew and 10 for playing touch rugby.

The West recorded 14 breach of curfew cases.

The Northern Division recorded three cases of curfew breach while the Eastern Division recorded two cases.

Central Division recorded nine reports in total, 2 for curfew breach and 7 for failing to adhere to social distancing restrictions.

Qiliho says seven people were arrested as they were found under the Stintson Parade Bridge allegedly breaching social distancing measures.

Qiliho adds the onus is on every individual to take responsibility of their actions and be mindful of maintaining physical distancing, and failure to comply will result in Police taking necessary action.




10 arrested for playing touch-rugby in Nakaulevu, Navua

By Naveel Krishant
Saturday 02/05/2020

10 people were arrested yesterday for allegedly breaching COVID-19 restrictions as they were found to be playing touch rugby in Nakaulevu, Navua.

The 10 are aged between 18 to 25 years.

Police say they were arrested by a team of officers on mobile patrol.

All sporting activities are not allowed as a precautionary measure under the Public Health Act.

Please comply with these protective measures.




Fiji has had no new COVID-19 case for two weeks - PM

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 01/05/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has confirmed that Fiji has not had a new COVID-19 case for two weeks now however people should still act as if the virus is still out there because it is.

Speaking from his home, Bainimarama says we now only have 6 positive cases in the country.

He stresses that the nationwide 10pm to 5am curfew remains, gatherings should remain for 20 people or less and there should be social distancing.

Bainimarama says the TC Harold response continues and he may start visiting the affected areas from next week.

Bainimarama says the Ministry of Health is undertaking it’s door to door campaign to fight off Leptospirosis, Typhoid, Dengue and Diarrhoea.

He says Leptospirosis is caused when cuts or scrapes are exposed to water carrying the disease so be sure to avoid puddles or streams.

Fiji has already seen 7 deaths from Leptospirosis this year.

Bainimarama also says Fiji currently has 791 cases of Dengue in Fiji, mostly in the Northern and Central divisions.




39 arrested for playing touch-rugby in Lami

By Naveel Krishant
Friday 01/05/2020
The 39 that were arrested in Lami yesterday.

39 people were arrested in Lami yesterday afternoon for breaching COVID-19 restrictions as they were playing touch rugby at the Nukuwatu foreshore.

Police say there were 22 juveniles, the youngest being 14 years and 17 adults.

Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho says parents and guardians are warned to monitor their children's whereabouts as Police will not hesitate to arrest anyone who is found failing to comply with health orders as adequate warnings have been issued.

A police team on mobile patrol saw a group of people playing touch rugby along Hedstrom Road in Samabula and managed to arrest a 20 year old who was found with the rugby ball while others ran away from the area.

Arrested-39-lami

All sporting activities are not allowed as a precautionary measure under the Public Health Act.

Please comply with these protective measures.

Another 2 juveniles were arrested in the Southern Division for breach of curfew.

The Western Division recorded 2 cases of breach of curfew while the Central Division recorded 1 case.




7 people arrested in Nabua yesterday for breaching COVID-19 restrictions

By Naveel Krishant
Thursday 30/04/2020
Police operations in the Central Division. [image: Fiji Police]

7 people were arrested in Nabua yesterday for breaching COVID-19 restrictions which included playing touch rugby and working out in a gym.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says a team of officers on mobile patrol along Sukanaivalu Road arrested two men aged 18 and 19 years who were playing touch rugby

Qiliho says in a separate case, five people including a 16 year old juvenile were arrested by a team of officers on patrol as they were allegedly found working out in a gym.

The Police Commissioner says it has been clearly stated that gyms are to remain closed and touch rugby is prohibited because of the potential threats they have on individuals in our nation's ongoing campaign to control and contain the spread of COVID-19.

Qiliho adds that the 7 arrests recorded in Nabua were part of the 19 arrests made in the last 24 hours in the Southern Division.

The remaining 12 were for breach of curfew.

The Eastern Division 5 breach of curfew arrests, while the North and West recorded 1 case each.

Qiliho says it has and continues to be a busy period for policing operations in light of COVID-19, the unfavorable weather conditions and routine operations, but they will continue to step up on the monitoring of related breaches.




FRIEND working with landowners in Lautoka to get food security for people on Leave Without Pay or reduced hours

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 29/04/2020
[Photo: Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises & Development]

Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development or FRIEND is now working with landowners in Lautoka to get food security for thousands of people who are on Leave Without Pay or reduced hours.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Sashi Kiran says they are working with the Turaga Ni Koro, Advisory Councillors, youths and other people to utilize available land to plant root crops and vegetables to assist those severely affected after losing their jobs or getting reduced pay.

Kiran says assessments are coming through and about 50,000 people in the country are estimated to be severely affected.

She says they are also looking at people preserving and eating cassava and kumala leaves that used to be eaten in the past, as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to continue for some time.

She says their focus is on assisting people in Lautoka, Nadi and Ba.

Kiran says NZAID, ANZ and other people including former citizens have come forward to assist FRIEND. The organisation has used the donations to assist more than 3,000 people however FRIEND needs more support to continue to assist the affected families.

She has also assured people who make cash donations to their bank account that all the money is given to people being assisted, and none of these funds go towards admin fees. If you are interested in providing a helping hand, you can contact FRIEND on 8983183 or email them on friend@connect.com.fj




36,499 FNPF members receive a total of $25 million through the COVID-19 withdrawal scheme

By Iva Danford
Wednesday 29/04/2020
FNPF members lineup outside FNPF main building, Suva, to apply for the COVID-19 assistance earlier this month. [image: file]

36,499 people who are FNPF members have received a total of $25 million after they had applied for assistance under the FNPF COVID-19 withdrawal scheme.

FNPF CEO, Jaoji Koroi says $3.0 million was paid by Government and $22 million has been paid by the Fund.

Koroi says that 65,800 applications have been received from members, which is equivalent to 93% of the total withdrawals made in the last financial year.

He says they have paid out some 56% of applications received and they have a target to clear another 25,000 this week, inclusive of approximately 8,600 applications that were received before 16th April.

Koroi says 3,700 COVID-19 withdrawal assistance applications are on queried status with the Fund.

He says while there is progressive improvement in its processing, the Fund is also faced with the arduous task of rectifying these 3,700 applications.

Koroi says applications are queried due to the form not fully completed by the member, employer’s stamp or signature or both are missing, required documents not submitted by the member or employer or both and wrong form filled by the member.

He says they have a dedicated team looking into all queried applications as it is one of the main reasons as to why some applications are delayed further.

Koroi says members whose applications are queried are being contacted by their team and for those that continue to be unreachable, the Fund will publish their names in the media at the end of this week so they can have them come forward to rectify the query.

He says they continue to seek members’ patience and understanding of the delays and also reassure members that they will pay all members as soon as practical.

Koroi says it is definitely not because of cash flow but they want to ensure that proper procedures are maintained on withdrawals.

He says the Fund has also been actively working with all banks for verification of member’s bank accounts, before any approval or payment is done and this is due to the relaxation of the bank statement requirement.




Fiji Trades Union Congress working with employers to see how they can save people from losing their jobs

By Dhanjay Deo
Wednesday 29/04/2020
General Secretary of the Fiji Trades Union Congress Felix Anthony

The General Secretary of the Fiji Trades Union Congress Felix Anthony says they are trying to work with the employers to see how they can save people from losing their jobs.

Anthony says they are currently carrying out a survey to find out how many workers have been affected as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When asked if the unions will be assisting their members who have lost jobs, Anthony says unions are not a cash cow and people don’t pay taxes to them but minimal subscriptions which are for the administration of the unions and some other benefits for the members.

Anthony says there are also some employers who are taking advantage of the situation and are not fulfilling their social responsibilities to the workers.

Anthony adds that they totally disagree that workers should be made to withdraw from their retirement fund during a time of disaster or a problem.




Tenants and landlords are in a better position to negotiate on rent - Ali

By Priteshni Nand
Wednesday 29/04/2020
President of Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry Doctor Nur Bano Ali

The President of Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry Doctor Nur Bano Ali says they will leave all rental negotiations to the tenants and landlords as they are in a better position to understand the situation.

This is after they received reports from their members on the difficulties they are facing with meeting their costs including rental payments.

Doctor Ali says they are also requesting all businesses to support each other as best they can during these trying times as most if not all businesses have been affected due to COVID-19.

She says the Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry is especially concerned about the Small and Medium Enterprises and will continue to seek relief for them in various forms of funding that can be made available.

Doctor Ali says funding options for Small and Medium Enterprise are available through RBF which can be accessed via the financing institutions.




Many children and relatives of sugarcane farmers who were working in hotels and resorts are now totally relying on cane income

By Dhanjay Deo
Wednesday 29/04/2020
Sugarcane farm workers on a farm in Ba. [image: devpolicy.org]

The Sugarcane Growers Council says many children and relatives of sugarcane farmers who were working in hotels and resorts are now totally relying on cane income.

Council’s Acting Chief Executive, Sunil Chaudhry says they have written to the Fiji Sugar Corporation requesting them to bring forward the fourth cane payment which is due at the end of May as this may bring some relief for everyone.

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The Sugarcane Growers Council Acting Chief Executive, Sunil Chaudhry.

He says they are working closely with growers and are encouraging their children who are out of employment to come back to the farm.

Chaudhry says with the adversity faced in the tourism industry, there is hope that the sugar industry will help those to survive who come from the sugarcane belt areas and those that have lost jobs.

He says this is the opportune time for those that have lost jobs to take advantage of the New Farmers Assistance Scheme which is designed to entice new and young farmers to venture into sugarcane farming.

Under this assistance, Ministry of Sugar Industry meets the cost of lease acquisition (that is the amount stated in the offer letter from TLTB and Ministry of Lands) and also assists in establishing farms by providing free fertilizer and weedicides for a maximum of 5 acres of land in the first year only.

The Ministry also provides a grant for land preparation and planting of sugarcane for a maximum of 5 acres through an ongoing program called Sugarcane Development and Farmers Assistance grant which is commonly known as Cane Planting Grant or CPG.

There are approximately 11,600 active growers that supplied cane to mills in 2019.

1.8 million tonnes of cane was crushed last year and approximately 169,000 tonnes of sugar was produced.




FNPF received around 300 applications for TC Harold assistance, paying out $141,000 to 112 members

By Iva Danford
Wednesday 29/04/2020
FNPF staff assisting members at their main branch. [image: FNPF]

The Fiji National Provident Fund has received around 300 applications for the Tropical Cyclone Harold withdrawal scheme and has paid out a total of $141,000 to 112 members.

FNPF Chief Executive Officer Jaoji Koroi says the TC Harold Scheme is targeting only those members whose homes were damaged and also reside in areas that were declared a natural disaster area by the National Disaster Management Office.

Koroi says the Fund is working closely with the NDMO and District/Provincial Offices to verify which members were affected by the cyclone and their inspectors will then visit the affected areas to issue the FNPF Natural Disaster Forms, which is also collected on-site. He says members who have missed out on the inspections have been requested to provide their details to their nearest District Office.

Koroi says the Fund is also aware of members that have taken to the media to publicise their frustration on the Fund, its processes and requirements.

He says they understand that members are in a difficult position and FNPF has even gone to the extent of relaxing some of the requirements, however, they will not compromise their processes.

Koroi says they are governed by their legislation and policies that protects the long term interest of the member.

He says FNPF is here for the member’s retirement and they request that members be mindful of any withdrawal as it leads to the depletion of their retirement funds.




10 people arrested last night for breaching curfew hours

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 29/04/2020
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

Ten people were arrested last night for breaching curfew hours.

Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho says five people were arrested in the Western Division including a 16-year-old juvenile and a 43-year-old man who were both found intoxicated and were returning from a social gathering in Namaka.

Qiliho says a 35-year-old Lami man has been arrested after he was found walking back from Lautoka to Nawaka following a grog session.

The Southern Division recorded one case while East recorded four cases.




Financial lifeline loan package remains in place to assist severely impacted small and medium-sized businesses in Fiji - RBF

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 29/04/2020
The Reserve Bank of Fiji. [image: File]

The Reserve Bank of Fiji confirms that the financial lifeline loan package remains in place to assist severely impacted small and medium-sized businesses in Fiji.

Fijivillage has received confirmation that under the three facilities combined, more than $300 million has been lent out to businesses to date.

Following the COVID-19 Response National Budget, the RBF says it is continuing to support local businesses by granting access to emergency funding to help keep them and the Fijians they employ, operating through this difficult period.

The Reserve Bank offers three facilities targeted to Small and Medium Enterprises through the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme; Import Substitution and Export Finance Facility; and Disaster, Rehabilitation and Containment Facility.

An SME is defined as either an enterprise with a turnover between $30,000 to $500,000 or an enterprise that employs fewer than 50 workers.

RBF says people in these categories are eligible for the relief.

Those looking to start a new SME can also take advantage of these facilities by applying through relevant lending institutions for assistance.

Small and Medium Enterprises may access these funds through an application to a commercial bank, licensed credit institution or the Fiji Development Bank.

Funding will be subject to each individual bank’s normal credit criteria.

The RBF says the funding will range from $10,000 up to $500,000, depending on the SME’s requirements.

The Reserve Bank says loans above $500,000 can be considered under special circumstances.

The SME Credit Guarantee Scheme will cover 50 per cent of the principal amount outstanding on defaulted SME loans, up to a maximum of $50,000 per individual business.

Latest financial statements for your business from a certified accountant; Tax compliance certificate/letter; Business registration certificate; Business plan and cashflow projections; and an application to a commercial bank, licensed credit institution, or FDB stating the level of funding sought and the rationale supporting your request are needed.

The Fiji Chamber of Commerce has also been asked by the RBF to assist potential clients with their cashflow statements.




We are doing a survey with the ILO to determine the number of employees who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic - Bala

By Rashika Kumar
Tuesday 28/04/2020
Minister for Employment Parveen Bala

Minister for Employment Parveen Bala says they are doing a survey with the International Labour Organisation to determine the number of employees who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

When asked by Legend FM News about what sort of assistance will be provided to these affected workers, Bala says cabinet will make the final decision.

Bala says they have received information that all the companies that have sent their workers home, will take back their employees when the situation improves.

He says his ministry is working with all stakeholders to keep as many Fijians as possible in the workplace.

The Minister adds they are working with employers for ways and means of lessening the impact on employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, Bala is warning all employers that they should not take advantage of the COVID-19 situation as they have received 305 complaints from employees in regards to shift work and reduced hours of work.

He says some of the complaints they are receiving now is also in regards to reduced hourly rates.

The Minister is urging workers to talk to the Ministry staff if they have any concerns.

Bala adds that they are aware of and are sympathetic to the downturn in business but it is important that employment laws and regulations in place are followed and workers are not denied their rights.

He adds that they have managed to resolve at least 50% of the complaints by some workers. While celebrating World OHS Day today, the Minister adds that his ministry has been conducting COVID-19 workplace awareness to both employers and workers since March 9th, before Fiji's first case was announced on March 19th.

He says that they have covered over 1,536 employers with 9,989 workers in both essential and non essential industries.

Bala adds that his ministry will be introducing a recognition award to those workplaces that show compliance and commitment towards COVID-19 prevention at their workplace.

The theme for World OHS Day is "Stop the Pandemic: Safety and Health at work can save lives".




People not taking social distancing seriously in supermarkets and in long lines outside banks

By Iva Danford
Tuesday 28/04/2020
People lined up outside a bank in Suva and being relaxed about social distancing.

It has been noticed that people have been relaxed about social distancing in supermarkets and in long lines outside the supermarkets and banks.

Fijivillage have noticed this in the past few weeks as there is a general feeling of not knowing the threat or ignoring the fact the COVID-19 still exits in Fiji and other countries.

We have also noticed that while some retailers are monitoring in the inside, people lining outside are still standing very close to each other.


Untitled-1-Recovered-Recovered


People have frequently been told to practice social distancing to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, but no matter how often we have been given such advice, it is noticeable that people are not following it.

Social distancing means staying home as much as possible and avoiding crowded public places.

COVID-19 spreads from person to person and reducing the ways people come in close contact with each other is essential.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says it is important for people to know that they still have to maintain physical distancing if they are at a picnic or even at home grogging with others.

Untitled-1-Recovered-Recovered


Qiliho says they are tasked with enforcing this but there should also be personal responsibility by people.

He says they will use their community policing to go out and spread the message about COVID-19.

The Police Commissioner has stressed that we are not out of the woods yet.





137 ration packs distributed to families in the quarantined areas in Nabua and Soasoa Settlement in Labasa through the Veilomani Food Bank initiative

By Shanil Singh
Tuesday 28/04/2020
Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission CEO, Joel Abraham distributing ration packs. [image: FCCC]

137 ration packs have been distributed so far to families in the quarantined areas from Nabua Muslim Settlement in Suva and Soasoa Settlement in Labasa through the Veilomani Food Bank initiative to address food poverty.

Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission CEO, Joel Abraham says these packs contain food items such as rice, flour, cooking oil, potatoes, onions, dhal, salt and sugar and other items such as kerosene and bathing soap.

Abraham says they will be following up on these families on a fortnightly basis to check how these families are doing and a second wave of food rations will be delivered.

He also says this Saturday they will be going out to Ba and Dreketi to ensure that these communities are also assisted.

The Veilomani Food Bank initiative has been established to assist Fijian families affected by COVID-19 quarantine measures, and are currently unable to work and put food on the table.

Meanwhile Digicel Fiji today donated $5,000 to the Veilomani Food Bank initiative.




Fiji Corrections Service provides financial assistance to the spouses of 10 Corrections staff who are unemployed due to the COVID-19 crisis

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Tuesday 28/04/2020
Commissioner of Fiji Corrections Services Commander Francis Kean with Corrections staff and spouses of the ten Corrections personnel. [image: Fiji Corrections Services]

The Fiji Corrections Service has provided financial assistance to the spouses of ten Corrections personnel who are unemployed due to the COVID-19 crisis.

These families received $300 each to help them cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Seven families are from the Central and Southern Division, two families are from the Western Division while one is from the Northern Division.

26-year-old, Ulamila Ravidiki, a pastry chef at the Novotel Hotel in Lami says the assistance was most unexpected but is most appreciated.

The mother of two says that she had been laid off from work for the past month without any pay and with no guarantee when they would start again.

Ravidiki says that she thanks the Fiji Corrections Service for remembering them as it has been a tough few weeks mostly because they do not know how long this crisis would go for.

She adds the donation will go towards the family groceries and teaching aid for the children.

Meanwhile, Tokasa Viniana who works for Peninsula Hotel in Suva says she was quite humbled by the kind gesture but adds that family was always very important to the Fiji Corrections Services.

The mother of five says this money will be put aside for when school starts because she is not working and they have to plan.

Commissioner of Fiji Corrections Services, Commander Francis Kean said that this small gesture of financial support to their staff who are affected by the COVID 19 pandemic is a reflection of their values in the Corrections Services; Family and Empathy.

He adds that they trust that this small support will be put to good use.




Worrying concerns that savings, government and FNPF assistance expected to run out by next month

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 28/04/2020

There are worrying concerns that a vast majority of people who were sent on Leave Without Pay, sent home or have been put on reduced hours from March until the effects of COVID-19 subside, may be running out of savings and even the government and FNPF assistance provided is expected to run out by next month.

CEO of the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association Fantasha Lockington says these people, including hotel and tourism workers and others previously working in the retail and services sector, face a bleak future until some positive signs emerge for the businesses.

Chief-Executive-Officer-of-Association-Fantasha-Lockington  CEO of the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association Fantasha Lockington

Those positive signs will not emerge until the threat of the global pandemic is over.

Lockington says they have been receiving many reports that many of these affected workers are now planting vegetables and root crops to survive.

While this provides some relief, there are growing concerns regarding how people will continue to afford to pay rent, put food on the table for their families and pay for their utility bills.

Close to 40,000 people working in the hotel and tourism sector in the country continue to remain seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockington says the assessment of the industry is that more than 150,000 people are directly or indirectly affected by the drastic drop in visitor arrivals as a result of the global pandemic. This includes all the businesses connected with the provision of goods and services when we have tourists in the country.

Lockington says it is devastating for the entire industry for now - with no light seen at the end of the tunnel.




Nurse helps disadvantaged families who have medical needs and calls for much needed assistance for her cause

By Naveel Krishant
Tuesday 28/04/2020
Lanieta Lelea . [image: Facebook]

A nurse who returned from a peacekeeping mission in Iraq last month is now going to homes of the disadvantaged families who have medical needs and cannot afford to go to the hospital for the dressing of their wounds.

Lanieta Lelea, who is a nurse with the Republic of Fiji Military Forces says she is helping these people, and is also doing high blood pressure and diabetes checks in the Davuilevu area.

She is calling for people to assist her in this cause by providing medical items as she is also getting requests to treat people from Lovoni Road, Cunningham and Vatuwaqa.

la-sm


Lelea who has been a nurse for 24 years, says she wants to help the senior citizens but after she posted about her initiative on Facebook, she has received messages from even young people who are not able to make it to hospital.

In an effort to get the equipment to help her carry out her work she has reached out to people on Facebook via the Barter for Better Fiji page.

Lelea says she needs things such as trays, forceps, medical kits and white bed sheets that she can use to change the dressings of patients.

She is calling on people to provide her assistance so she is able to help others.


To provide assistance for medical supplies, you can contact Lelea on 2079420 or connect with on her Facebook page, La Nabainivalu.




Police will push forward to jetties and wharves to ensure compliance of restriction measures - Qiliho

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 28/04/2020

Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho says more police officers will be pushed forward to our jetties and wharves to ensure compliance of restriction measures to avoid overcrowding which was witnessed last night in Suva.

People have raised concern on the lack of physical distancing being practised by people.

Qiliho says Police were present however a sudden heavy downpour that occurred while boarding was taking place led to the sudden rush for shelter inside the boat that was leaving for Lau.

The Commissioner is also calling on shipping operators to assist ongoing efforts by implementing measures that will ensure their passengers or those utilizing their services are able to maintain physical distancing.

Qiliho says they will continue to work with officials from the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji and Fiji Ports to ensure all measures are adhered to and continue to call on every individual to also take responsibility for their own wellbeing.




No arrests for social gathering breaches last night while 4 people arrested for breaching curfew hours - Qiliho

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 28/04/2020
Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho. [image: file]

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho has confirmed that there were no arrests for social gathering breaches last night while four people were arrested for breaching curfew hours.

Qiliho says two cases were recorded in the South while the North and West recorded one case each.

The Commissioner says while the decrease in the number of social gathering breaches was anticipated due to the relaxation of restrictions, Fijians cannot be complacent and resort back to potential life threatening habits.

Qiliho says physical distancing and avoiding the sharing of bilos and glasses during any social gathering is still being emphasized, and again, if you don’t need to leave your home, please do the right thing, and stay home.




Ministry of Health stresses that all sporting events in the country remain temporarily suspended

By Naveel Krishant
Tuesday 28/04/2020

The Ministry of Health says although restrictions have been lifted to allow gatherings of 20 people or fewer, they wish to remind the public that all sporting events in the country remain temporarily suspended.

The Ministry says this includes events organized by sporting bodies as well as those organized at community levels by community members.

The Health Ministry further says this is in line with the measures announced by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to contain the spread and local transmission of the virus.

They add the risk of person to person transmission of COVID- 19 is high when there is a large gathering of people and at places such as sporting facilities, stadiums or even village playgrounds where maintaining a safe physical distance can be a challenge.

The Ministry adds while sporting events are not permitted at this stage, Fijians however are free to undertake their own exercises.

They says these could be simple exercises such as jogging or walking adding regular exercises and healthy diet is key to a stronger immune system.

Fiji currently has 7 active cases while 11 patients have recovered.

The Health Ministry says Fijians should not be complacent and should continue to take heed of the COVID-19 measures adding that the Government remains on the highest alert level and will advise the public as soon as possible if more cases are found




Only 7 active cases of COVID-19 with zero new cases is the best birthday gift - PM

By Vijay Narayan
Monday 27/04/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama cuts his birthday cake at the NDMO office today.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has tweeted that he has already received the best birthday gift this morning after the confirmation that Fiji now has only 7 active cases of COVID-19 and there have been zero new cases.

Bainimarama who turns 66 years old today, says 11 of the 18 patients have now recovered, and all 7 patients remain in stable condition.

COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit at CWM

He also says we now have 61% recovery rate.

According to the brief provided by the Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete to the Prime Minister this morning, the 54-year-old Soasoa man from Labasa and his wife have now tested negative twice.

april-07-sm Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete.

Bainimarama says there is more good news as the 107 tests done in the last two days have all returned negative.

Further relaxation of the health directives today as gatherings of 20 or fewer people allowed

There is a further relaxation of the health directives as gatherings of 20 or fewer people will be allowed from today.

However Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has confirmed that even one new confirmed case can result in going back to the earlier restrictions.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho also says it is important for people to know that they still have to maintain physical distancing if they are at a picnic or even at home grogging with others from today.

Qiliho-sm

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho 

He says people can now drink grog with their neighbours or other people but it is important to maintain physical distancing, not to share bilos and cigarettes.

Qiliho says they are tasked with enforcing this but there should also be personal responsibility by people.

The Police Commissioner says it is still important for people to understand that if they have nothing to do they should stay home.

When asked if Police would arrest or caution those not practising physical distancing especially with social gatherings of 20 people or fewer allowed from today, Qiliho says all of these things will come into play and they have to do that because they are tasked with enforcing it.

Qiliho says he would also like to thank the majority of Fijians who have been following the restrictions. 




Punjas Group of Companies faced issues with its rice products during the lockdown period

By Dhanjay Deo
Monday 27/04/2020
A range of Punjas rice products. [image: Punjas.com]

Punjas Group of Companies says it faced some issues with its rice products during the Lautoka and Suva lockdown period however it has been sorted and stocks are being replenished in supermarkets.

Procurement Manager, Avnit Kumar says their shipment from Vietnam and Thailand had to be diverted to New Caledonia during the lockdown period.

Kumar says this is why some of their rice products like Long Grain, Jasmine and Calrose Rice got affected on the shelves.

He says the issue has been rectified and they now have a good amount of stock of these items.




Close to 40,000 people working in the hotel and tourism sector on leave without pay and reduced hours

By Vijay Narayan
Monday 27/04/2020

Close to 40,000 people working in the hotel and tourism sector in the country continue to remain seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thousands of workers have been sent on Leave Without Pay while a small number of people are on reduced hours and on rotational work.

Chief-Executive-Officer-of-Association-Fantasha-Lockington


Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association CEO, Fantasha Lockington says the assessment of the industry is that more than 150,000 people are directly or indirectly affected by the drastic drop in visitor arrivals as a result of the global pandemic. This includes all the businesses connected with the provision of goods and services when we have tourists in the country.

Lockington says it is devastating for the entire industry for now - with no light seen at the end of the tunnel.


Lockington says this time of the year would have been the beginning of the high season however Fiji does not hold any bookings rather than returning residents from April to June this year.

She says the industry does not know and no one can predict at this stage on when the borders will open, and when can tourists safely come into the country.

Lockington says health protective measures will also need to be in place when the borders do open up.


She says from April to June last year, we had 235,634 visitors.

Between January to June last year, we had 470,000 visitors and they spent $1.2 billion. For the whole of last year, Fiji had 894,000 visitors and $2.1 billion came in through tourism earnings.

Lockington says the March arrival figures are down 53 percent, from 59,000 visitors in March last year to 27,972 visitors this year.

empty-hotels   





37 arrested over the last 24 hours for allegedly breaching COVID-19 restrictions

By Naveel Krishant
Monday 27/04/2020
[Photo:Fiji Police Force]

37 people were arrested over the last 24 hours for alleged cases of COVID-19 restriction breaches.

Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho says the Eastern Division recorded 19 cases, 10 for social gathering 9 for breach of curfew.

Qiliho says the Southern Division recorded 11 cases, 6 for breach of curfew and 5 for social gathering.

He adds the Western Division recorded 7 cases, 6 for social gathering and 1 for breach of curfew.

Both the North and Central Divisions recorded nil arrests in the last 24 hours.

Qiliho says as the restrictions on social gatherings are being relaxed to 20 people or fewer, everyone needs to still take responsibility and ensure that they do not risk their own lives, the lives of their loved ones and all other Fijians.

He adds the message remains the same, if you don’t need to leave your home, then please do the responsible thing and stay home.

The Police Commissioner says the relaxation of the social gathering restrictions should not be used as an excuse to hold unnecessary yaqona and drinking parties as this can also lead to other probe problems including assault.

He adds physical distancing measures should still be practiced at all times.




Further relaxation of the health directives today as gatherings of 20 or fewer people allowed

By Vijay Narayan, Semi Turaga
Monday 27/04/2020
Families gathered for a day out at My Suva Park, Suva before the health directives came in to place: [image: file]

There is a further relaxation of the health directives as gatherings of 20 or fewer people will be allowed from today.

However Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has confirmed that even one new confirmed case can result in going back to the earlier restrictions.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho also says it is important for people to know that they still have to maintain physical distancing if they are at a picnic or even at home grogging with others from today.

Qiliho-sm

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho 

He says people can now drink grog with their neighbours or other people but it is important to maintain physical distancing, not to share bilos and cigarettes.

Qiliho says they are tasked with enforcing this but there should also be personal responsibility by people.

The Police Commissioner says it is still important for people to understand that if they have nothing to do they should stay home.

When asked if Police would arrest or caution those not practising physical distancing especially with social gatherings of 20 people or fewer allowed from today, Qiliho says all of these things will come into play and they have to do that because they are tasked with enforcing it.

Qiliho says he would also like to thank the majority of Fijians who have been following the restrictions. 




No comments yet from Fiji Sun, MIDA and Grace Road Church on claims made in paid advertisement

By Vijay Narayan, Semi Turaga
Sunday 26/04/2020
The paid advertisement from The Grace Roads Church that appeared in The Fiji Sun.

There are still no comments from Fiji Sun, MIDA and Grace Road Church on claims made by Grace Road Church in a paid advertisement in the Fiji Sun claiming the reason for the COVID-19 outbreak is the unjust persecution, imprisonment and slandering of its leader Reverend Okjoo Shin as a cult.

We have asked MIDA if this conforms to the Code of Ethics for Advertising in the Media Act.

Grace-Road-Church-covid-19-post-sm

Grace Road Church made this claim in the paid advertisement titled "The Judge of God - Judgement Has Now Begun".

Under the sub-heading - "COVID-19: What is the reason?" Grace Road Church said, "We believe the reason for COVID-19 outbreak is because of Spirit of Truth was slandered as a cult, persecuted and imprisoned".

The leader of Grace Road Church Reverend Shin is mentioned in the advertisement as "The Spirit of Truth Reverend Okjoo Shin".

The Health Ministry and WHO have stated that COVID-19 was discovered in late December 2019 after an unusual cluster of pneumonia cases was noted in Wuhan City, Hubei province, China.

On December 31st last year, China alerted the WHO to several cases of unusual pneumonia in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people.

The virus was unknown.

Several of those infected worked at the city's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which was shut down on January 1.

As health experts worked to identify the virus amid growing alarm, the number of infections exceeded 40.

On January 11th, China announced its first death from the virus, a 61-year-old man who had purchased goods from the seafood market.

Treatment did not improve his symptoms after he was admitted to hospital and he died of heart failure on the evening of January 9.

Grace Road Church says they have violated neither the law of God nor this world's law.

The son of the founder of the Grace Road Church Daniel Sungdo has refuted the charges of Assault, Incarceration, Child Abuse, and Fraud which his mother Reverend Okjoo Shin and the Church have been accused of by people they are calling traitors.

Sungdo says their church has violated neither the law of God nor this world's law.

The founder, Reverend Shin is serving a sentence of six years in prison for detaining her followers in Fiji and subjecting them to violence and barbaric rituals.

She has been serving for more than 1 year and 8 months.

The Suwon District Court, in South Korea, jailed her for keeping some 400 followers in captivity in Fiji, with their passports reportedly taken away by senior church leaders.

The court also said the followers spend their days performing forced labour and attending evening sermons.

In a more than 17 minutes video on its social media page, Sungdo addressed the issue directly saying “But to the self-proclaimed Christians, pastors, missionaries and the General Assembly who accused our Reverend and Grace Road Church of being a cult, to the people who were among us who discovered the truth and forsook the truth through their false testimonies, and the investigator (the son of a self-proclaimed missionary) who allied with the traitors with his devious plots, and to the press who turned a blind eye to the truth and branded our Reverend and our Church with intentionally maligned and devious editing: You have sued Grace Road Church, the group of true Christians who see, hear, believe and act by the Bible”

Grace Road Church has also been long accused of severe public beatings known as “ground threshing”.

Sungdo says what is so wrong about them carrying out threshing on the floor as written in the bible by understanding the word of truth.

He says they made a resolution to themselves and they slapped themselves adding how is this assault.

Sungdo says they are confident to confess and testify that all churches must carry out the biblical threshing floor and show an example that people are able to live by the law of God without requiring the world's law.

The Grace Road Church has also started a petition for a retrial of their leader's case in South Korea.

In a statement, the Church said "Grace Road Church's Reverend Okjoo Shin was sued by plaintiffs composed of people who claim to be victims on grounds of "bodily harm, special assault, assault, aggravated confinement, special confinement, fraud, violation of commercial law, violation of child welfare laws (neglect, abuse) and abetment of assault, sentenced to 6 years in 1st trial, 7 years in 2nd trial, and our appeal was dismissed at the Supreme Court"

Reverend Shin has been held in a detention centre from 24th July 2018 until now.




83 people to appear in special court sittings today after being arrested for COVID-19 breaches in the last 24 hours

By Semi Turaga
Sunday 26/04/2020
[Photo:Fiji Police Force]

83 people will appear in special court sittings around the country today after being arrested and charged for curfew and social gathering breaches in the last 24 hours.

Police say of the 83 arrests, 61 were for social gathering breaches.

The Western Division recorded 25 reports with 11 for social gathering breaches.

21 cases were recorded in the Southern Division.

The Eastern Division 18 cases recorded with 13 of those arrests for social gathering breaches.

Nine cases were recorded in the Northern Division while Central Division recorded 10 cases for social gatherings.

The Central and Northern Divisions both recorded nil reports of breach of curfew.

Special court sittings will be called in Lautoka, Nadi, Sigatoka, Tavua, Rakiraki, Nasinu and Suva this morning.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says physical distancing of two metres should be maintained at all times and people should not share cigarettes, takis or bilos during grog sessions.




7 people appear in special sitting in court today for breaching curfew and social gathering restrictions

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Sunday 26/04/2020
2 of the 7 people who allegedly breached the curfew hours

Seven people appeared in a special sitting in the Suva Magistrates Court today for breaching curfew and social gathering restrictions.

Two 42-year-old men who allegedly breached the curfew hours have been granted bail.

Inia Cama Ledua and Nemani Biu were drinking liquor along a road in Suva during curfew hours last night.

Magistrate Joseph Daurewa has granted them bail with one surety each and $500 bond.

They have also been told to visit the Totogo Police Station every Saturday from 10am to 3pm.

Magistrate Daurewa also told the two men that they should not change their address and if they do so then they should get the approval from the court.

The case has been adjourned to 3rd June. Five people who allegedly breached social gathering restrictions have also been granted bail.

It is alleged that Timea Burenatau,Teweru Uriam, Benioni Malakito, Bataba Apisalome and Maere Banian were sharing food at Bidesi Park in Suva yesterday.

The defence lawyer objected to the charges as his clients had told him two of them were standing outside a car eating while 3 of them were inside the car.

Their lawyer also objected to the interview done on Friday where there was no interpreter present and some technical terms were used.

Magistrate Daurewa told the prosecution to provide the video in their next hearing and it should be typed out clearly.

The five people have been released on a bail bond of $500 each.

The case will be called again on 5th June.




Grace Road Church says they have violated neither the law of God nor this world's law

By Semi Turaga
Sunday 26/04/2020
Son of the founder of the Grace Road Church Daniel Sungdo

The son of the founder of the Grace Road Church Daniel Sungdo has refuted the charges of Assault, Incarceration, Child Abuse, and Fraud which his mother Reverend Okjoo Shin and the Church have been accused of by people they are calling traitors.

Sungdo says their church has violated neither the law of God nor this world's law.

The founder, Reverend Shin is serving a sentence of six years in prison for detaining her followers in Fiji and subjecting them to violence and barbaric rituals.

She has been serving for more than 1 year and 8 months.

The Suwon District Court, in South Korea, jailed her for keeping some 400 followers in captivity in Fiji, with their passports reportedly taken away by senior church leaders.

The court also said the followers spend their days performing forced labour and attending evening sermons.

In a more than 17 minutes video on its social media page, Sungdo addressed the issue directly saying “But to the self-proclaimed Christians, pastors, missionaries and the General Assembly who accused our Reverend and Grace Road Church of being a cult, to the people who were among us who discovered the truth and forsook the truth through their false testimonies, and the investigator (the son of a self-proclaimed missionary) who allied with the traitors with his devious plots, and to the press who turned a blind eye to the truth and branded our Reverend and our Church with intentionally maligned and devious editing: You have sued Grace Road Church, the group of true Christians who see, hear, believe and act by the Bible”

Grace Road Church has also been long accused of severe public beatings known as “ground threshing”.

Sungdo says what is so wrong about them carrying out threshing on the floor as written in the bible by understanding the word of truth.

He says they made a resolution to themselves and they slapped themselves adding how is this assault.

Sungdo says they are confident to confess and testify that all churches must carry out the biblical threshing floor and show an example that people are able to live by the law of God without requiring the world's law.

The Grace Road Church has also started a petition for a retrial of their leader's case in South Korea.

In a statement, the Church said "Grace Road Church's Reverend Okjoo Shin was sued by plaintiffs composed of people who claim to be victims on grounds of "bodily harm, special assault, assault, aggravated confinement, special confinement, fraud, violation of commercial law, violation of child welfare laws (neglect, abuse) and abetment of assault, sentenced to 6 years in 1st trial, 7 years in 2nd trial, and our appeal was dismissed at the Supreme Court"

Reverend Shin has been held in a detention centre from 24th July 2018 until now.




Grace Road Church claims in paid advertisement the reason for COVID-19 outbreak is the imprisonment and slandering of its leader

By Vijay Narayan, Semi Turaga
Saturday 25/04/2020
The paid advertisement from The Grace Roads Chrurch that appeared in The Fiji Sun.

The Grace Road Church is claiming in a paid advertisement in the Fiji Sun that the reason for the COVID-19 outbreak is the unjust persecution, imprisonment and slandering of its leader Reverend Okjoo Shin as a cult.

It made this claim in the paid advertisement titled "The Judge of God - Judgement Has Now Begun".

Under the sub-heading - "COVID-19 : What is the reason?" Grace Road Church said, "We believe the reason for COVID-19 outbreak is because of Spirit of Truth was slandered as a cult, persecuted and imprisoned".

The leader of Grace Road Church Reverend Shin is mentioned in the advertisement as "The Spirit of Truth Reverend Okjoo Shin".

Shin-Ok-Ju-Founder-SM1
Shin Ok-Ju

The advertisement further says "Furthermore, some Christian leaders of the world, who use the Bible, transgressed against God.

Many plagues have emerged since creation, but this prevailing COVID-19 is completely different.

COVID-19 is God's Warning to turn from lawlessness and unrighteousness, God's sign to show the end of the time for the wicked with their works and God's Sword to judge this wicked world!"

The same advertisement has also been shared by Grace Road Church on its Facebook page.

Grace-Road-Church-covid-19-post-sm

The World Health Organization, the Health Ministry and health experts have stated coronaviruses are a large group of viruses, with six of these viruses known to cause a range of illnesses from the common cold to the more serious Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

The Health Ministry and WHO have stated that COVID-19 was discovered in late December 2019 after an unusual cluster of pneumonia cases was noted in Wuhan City, Hubei province, China.

On December 31st last year, China alerted the WHO to several cases of unusual pneumonia in Wuhan, a city of 11 million people.

The virus was unknown.

Several of those infected worked at the city's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which was shut down on January 1.

As health experts worked to identify the virus amid growing alarm, the number of infections exceeded 40.

On January 11th, China announced its first death from the virus, a 61-year-old man who had purchased goods from the seafood market.

Treatment did not improve his symptoms after he was admitted to hospital and he died of heart failure on the evening of January 9.

We are currently trying to speak to the Grace Road Church, Media Industry Development Authority and Fiji Sun on the publishing of the advertisement.

We are also asking MIDA if this conforms to the Code of Ethics for Advertising in the Media Act.




China provides USD$300K to Fiji to assist in their response to COVID-19 crisis

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Saturday 25/04/2020
Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Qian Bo

USD$300,000 has been provided by the People’s Republic of China to the Fijian Government to assist in their response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Qian Bo says work is also in progress to assist Fiji through the supply of Personal Protective Equipment where the first batch of supplies is expected to arrive this week followed by the next batch later this month.

Earlier in the week, they also donated USD$100,000 to the National Disaster Management Office to aid the relief and rebuilding efforts in communities affected by severe Tropical Cyclone Harold.




Brief survey on COVID-19 impact on the wider Fijian business community being done by Ministry of Commerce and International Finance Corporation

By Semi Turaga
Saturday 25/04/2020
Permanent Secretary Shaheen Ali

A brief survey on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the wider Fijian business community is being done by the Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism, and Transport and the International Finance Corporation.

Permanent Secretary Shaheen Ali says they are working very closely with the various industries and Government agencies to get a fair assessment of immediate on the ground impact in order to devise policy redress and incentives.

He says the survey will help find practical solutions.

Ali says irrespective of how big or small the operation, everyone should have a say.

He further urged businesses across-all-sectors to participate in the survey to assist in the upcoming budgetary process, which has commenced, for the next financial year.

The survey will assess the overall impact of the crisis and TC Harold on businesses, what is and could be done to adapt in the short, medium, and long term, what changes are being made, and can be made to ensure business continuity, recovery, and growth




Practice physical distancing in your social gatherings of 20 people or fewer from Monday - Qiliho

By Semi Turaga
Saturday 25/04/2020
Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says it is important for people to know that they still have to maintain physical distancing if they are at a picnic or even at home grogging with others from Monday when social gatherings of 20 people or fewer will be allowed.

He says people can now drink grog with their neighbours or other people but it is important to maintain physical distancing, not to share bilos and cigarettes.

Qiliho says they are tasked with enforcing this but there should also be personal responsibility by people.

The Police Commissioner says it is still important for people to understand that if they have nothing to do they should stay home.

When asked if Police would arrest or caution those not practising physical distancing especially with social gatherings of 20 people or fewer allowed from Monday, Qiliho says all of these things will come into play and they have to do that because they are tasked with enforcing it.

Qiliho says he would also like to thank the majority of Fijians who have been following the restrictions.

There are other social issues we have to be aware of as a lot of people are out of jobs - Qiliho

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says for them in policing it is not just about COVID-19 because there are other social issues they have to be aware of as a lot of people are out of jobs.

He says people will see their posture changing and there will be snap checkpoints if they see people are not adhering to the restrictions.

Qiliho also says it is also important for parents and guardians to know where their children are as it is a difficult task for Police to be picking up juveniles for breaches.




58 arrested in the last 24 hours for allegedly failing to comply with COVID-19 restrictions

By Semi Turaga
Saturday 25/04/2020
[Photo:Fiji Police Force]

58 people were arrested by Police in the last 24 hours for allegedly failing to comply with COVID-19 restrictions and 43 of those arrests were in relation to social gathering breaches.

Police confirm most of the arrests for social gathering breaches were in relation to people drinking grog and alcohol in groups.

The most number of arrests were recorded in the Western Division which is 27 and 20 were for social gathering breaches.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the Southern Division recorded 16 reports and 11 were for social gathering.

The Southern Division includes Samabula, Tamavua, Tacirua, Nabua and Nasinu and other areas outside of the Suva Central area.

Qiliho says the Eastern Division recorded 13 cases including 10 for social gathering breaches.

Two arrests for social gathering breaches were made in the Central Division.

The Central Division which includes Suva City, Waimanu Road, Toganivalu Road, Reservoir Road and the whole of Laucala Bay.




There are other social issues we have to be aware of as a lot of people are out of jobs - Qiliho

By Semi Turaga
Saturday 25/04/2020
Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho [Photo: Fijian Government]

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says for them in policing it is not just about COVID-19 because there are other social issues they have to be aware of as a lot of people are out of jobs.

He says people will see their posture changing and there will be snap checkpoints if they see people are not adhering to the restrictions.

Qiliho also says it is also important for parents and guardians to know where their children are as it is a difficult task for Police to be picking up juveniles for breaches.

Practice physical distancing in your social gatherings of 20 people or fewer from Monday - Qiliho

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says it is important for people to know that they still have to maintain physical distancing if they are at a picnic or even at home grogging with others from Monday when social gatherings of 20 people or fewer will be allowed.

He says people can now drink grog with their neighbours or other people but it is important to maintain physical distancing, not to share bilos and cigarettes.

Qiliho says they are tasked with enforcing this but there should also be personal responsibility by people.

The Police Commissioner says it is still important for people to understand that if they have nothing to do they should stay home.

When asked if Police would arrest or caution those not practising physical distancing especially with social gatherings of 20 people or fewer allowed from Monday, Qiliho says all of these things will come into play and they have to do that because they are tasked with enforcing it.

Qiliho says he would also like to thank the majority of Fijians who have been following the restrictions.




10pm to 5am curfew from tonight

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 24/04/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has announced progressive relaxation of the health restrictions relating to COVID-19 – which include the nationwide curfew to start at 10pm and go until 5am from tonight, the resumption of all passenger inter-island travel, by air and sea from tomorrow and social gatherings of 20 people or fewer will be allowed from Monday.

Bainimarama also says if even one new case is detected, the most stringent health protection measures will snap right back into place.

He confirms that nightclubs, swimming pools, cinemas and gyms will all continue to remain closed.

Houses of worship will remain closed until further notice.

All schools will remain closed as well until the 12th of June 2020.

  • 114 samples tested since this Monday and all have returned negative.
  • No new COVID-19 cases so far.
  • All remaining COVID-19 patients in stable condition.
  • 10 out of 18 patients have fully recovered from the virus.
  • Only 8 patients remain with COVID-19.
  • No confirmed case of COVID-19 in Fiji has been over the age of 65.
  • The sobering reality is that those who contracted the virus were young and in good health.
  • With over 900 tests having been made only 2% have come back positive with is far lower than world figures.
  • PM has declared this weekend Fiji's Weekend of Readiness and Responsibility.
  • Nightclubs, swimming pools and gyms to remain closed.
  • From Saturday 25th April curfew will be from 10 pm to 5 am.
  • Inter-island travel to begin on Sunday 26th April.
  • Social gatherings of 20 people or less will be allowed from Monday 27th April.


This weekend is Fiji’s Weekend of Readiness and Responsibility

People should maintain social distancing, use sanitisers and wear masks - PM

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says they have declared this weekend as Fiji’s Weekend of Readiness and Responsibility.

Bainimarama says through the weekend, the government needs to see Fijians take greater ownership over the health containment measures.

He says they plan to gradually scale back a handful of the health protection measures.

Bainimarama says the Weekend of Readiness and Responsibility starts with the Leptospirosis, Typhoid, Dengue and Diarrhoea Campaign.

He says every Fijian should spend this weekend tracking down breeding grounds for mosquitoes as this has become a concern after Tropical Cyclone Harold.

He has asked people to empty out containers, tyres or rubbish that hold water and for people to cooperate with medical teams if they conduct screenings in your area.

Bainimarama also says from Sunday morning, as inter-island travel resumes, all transportation vehicles, whether that’s taxis, mini-buses, buses, boats or planes, are encouraged to provide hand sanitiser to passengers upon boarding, and members of the public are encouraged to wear masks while travelling.

He also stresses that through the weekend, all of the advice remains in effect.

Physical distancing of two metres should be maintained at all times.

The Prime Minister stresses for people not to share cigarettes, or takis or bilos during grog sessions.

He has also stressed for people to limit unnecessary person-to-person contact as much as humanly possible.

Through the weekend, the coronavirus testing will also press ahead.

COVID-19 remains public enemy number one – PM

Government restocks thousands of COVID-19 tests

Only 2% of the tests in Fiji have returned COVID-19 positive

The Prime Minister says as we see some of the restrictions lifted, it’s vital the Fijian public go about their lives responsibly, in ways that do not compromise the practice of physical distancing and put Fijian lives at risk.

Bainimarama says coronavirus is still public enemy number one.

He says since this Monday, they have tested 114 more samples for COVID-19, and all have returned negative.

The Prime Minister says the health screening effort in Ba is progressing extremely well.

Bainimarama says nationwide, the government has restocked with thousands of COVID-19 tests, a step critical to boosting confidence in the success of the health containment efforts.

He also says 10 of the 18 patients have made full recoveries from the virus.

There are eight active cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Fiji, meaning that, for the first time, more Fijians have recovered than are currently still living with the virus.

Bainimarama has applauded every Fijian responsible for aiding these recoveries and delivering us this beacon of hope.

But he says as relieved as we all are, we must still reckon with some sobering realities.

The Prime Minister says no confirmed case of coronavirus in Fiji has been in a person over the age of 65. He also says most of the patients have had no underlying health conditions.

Bainimarama says his point is, in Fiji, so far we have been blessed by demographics, and more vulnerable Fijians have been spared. But he says if we lull ourselves into complacency, that could all too tragically change.

He also says across the world, over 186,000 lives have been lost to this virus.

Bainimarama says every day, tens of thousands more add to the total. He says we cannot allow Fiji to fall victim to the same fate.

He stresses that we are at war with COVID-19, we must stay vigilant, we must stay disciplined and we must keep ourselves one step ahead of this killer virus.

The Prime Minister also says if we keep the course, we will be able to confidently rank ourselves among the nations leading the world in stomping out coronavirus.

He says our success so far leaves us reason for cautious optimism.

Bainimarama says they have isolated every close contact of every case of the virus in our country, a world-leading feat.

He says of the over 900 samples they have tested in Fiji, only 2% have returned positive, compared from up to 19% or even higher in harder-hit countries.


High-need households whose homes have been badly damaged after TC Harold will be assisted - PM

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says the Ministry of Housing and Community Development is working to provide relief to high-need households affected by Tropical Cyclone Harold as quickly as possible.

According to the latest NDMO report, 635 homes across the country were destroyed by TC Harold, with over 2,100 suffering damage.

Bainimarama says as has been the case in the wake of previous cyclones, the government will be subsidising the cost of government-procured building materials for eligible households, those making less than $15,000 a year, on a one-third, two-thirds basis.

He says alternately, those applying for assistance can cover the cost of all building materials but pay more affordable rates based on government bulk-buying, and then have those discounted materials delivered to them with all shipping costs covered.

Bainimarama confirms that trees felled by the cyclone are also being repurposed into timber that will be provided free-of-charge for impacted homes by the Ministry of Forestry.

The Prime Minister says for anyone benefiting from this programme who cannot secure carpenters of their own, the Ministry of Housing and Community Development’s carpentry team, assisted by the Public Rental Board, will be provided free of charge for repairs and reconstruction.

He says they will also be assisting with building plans to ensure the new homes are cyclone-resilient, and they will also be carrying out site inspections to keep everything up to standard.

The Prime Minister also says assistance has made its way to the hardest-hit areas across Fiji, with thousands of food ration packs and other supplies being delivered to even the most remote corners of the country.




COVID-19 remains public enemy number one – PM

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 24/04/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

The Prime Minister says as we see some of the restrictions lifted, it’s vital the Fijian public go about their lives responsibly, in ways that do not compromise the practice of physical distancing and put Fijian lives at risk.

Bainimarama says coronavirus is still public enemy number one.

He says since this Monday, they have tested 114 more samples for COVID-19, and all have returned negative.

The Prime Minister says the health screening effort in Ba is progressing extremely well.

Bainimarama says nationwide, the government has restocked with thousands of COVID-19 tests, a step critical to boosting confidence in the success of the health containment efforts.

He also says 10 of the 18 patients have made full recoveries from the virus.

There are eight active cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Fiji, meaning that, for the first time, more Fijians have recovered than are currently still living with the virus.

Bainimarama has applauded every Fijian responsible for aiding these recoveries and delivering us this beacon of hope.

But he says as relieved as we all are, we must still reckon with some sobering realities.

The Prime Minister says no confirmed case of coronavirus in Fiji has been in a person over the age of 65. He also says most of the patients have had no underlying health conditions.

Bainimarama says his point is, in Fiji, so far we have been blessed by demographics, and more vulnerable Fijians have been spared. But he says if we lull ourselves into complacency, that could all too tragically change.

He also says across the world, over 186,000 lives have been lost to this virus.

Bainimarama says every day, tens of thousands more added to the total. He says we cannot allow Fiji to fall victim to the same fate.

He stresses that we are at war with COVID-19, we must stay vigilant, we must stay disciplined and we must keep ourselves one step ahead of this killer virus.

The Prime Minister also says if we keep the course, we will be able to confidently rank ourselves among the nations leading the world in stomping out coronavirus.

He says our success so far leaves us a reason for cautious optimism.

Bainimarama says they have isolated every close contact of every case of the virus in our country, a world-leading feat.

He says of the over 900 samples they have tested in Fiji, only 2% have returned positive, compared from up to 19% or even higher in harder-hit countries.




10pm to 5am curfew from tonight

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 24/04/2020

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has announced progressive relaxation of the health restrictions relating to COVID-19 – which include the nationwide curfew to start at 10pm and go until 5am from tonight, the resumption of all passenger inter-island travel, by air and sea from tomorrow and social gatherings of 20 people or fewer will be allowed from Monday.

Bainimarama also says if even one new case is detected, the most stringent health protection measures will snap right back into place.

He confirms that nightclubs, swimming pools, cinemas and gyms will all continue to remain closed.

Houses of worship will remain closed until further notice.

All schools will remain closed as well until the 12th of June 2020.




University lecturer Vinay Nand facing charges of bribery and failure to comply with orders appears in court

By Dhanjay Deo
Friday 24/04/2020

A 40-year-old university lecturer of Koroba, Nakasi is facing charges of bribery and failure to comply with orders related to COVID-19 appeared in the Nausori Magistrates Court today.

Vinay Nand was allegedly found drinking liquor with Shalvin Goundar and Saten Mudaliar at Deepwater Settlement on Wednesday afternoon.

It is alleged that Nand tried to bribe a Police Officer by offering $500 to be released from custody.

It is alleged that Nand initially took out $40 from his pocket and told the Police Officer that he will withdraw and give the remaining amount later.

The court has ordered for Nand to surrender his travel documents.

Nand has been released on bail and the matter has been adjourned to the 12th of next month.

Goundar and Mudaliar have also been released on bail.




76 arrested last night for alleged breach of COVID-19 restrictions with majority being caught drinking yaqona and alcohol and playing rugby

By Dhanjay Deo
Friday 24/04/2020
Police operations in the Central Division. [image: Fiji police}

76 people were arrested last night for allegedly breaching COVID-19 restrictions.

In most cases, people were caught drinking yaqona and alcohol.

A group of people were arrested in the Western Division after they were caught playing rugby.

Of the 76 cases, 34 were recorded in the Western Division with 26 social gathering breaches and 8 curfew breaches.

The Southern Division which includes Samabula, Tamavua, Tacirua, Nabua and Nasinu and other areas outside of the Suva Central area recorded 14 cases of social gathering breaches.

The Central Division which includes Suva City, Waimanu Road, Toganivalu Road, Reservoir Road and the whole of Laucala Bay recorded 13 cases, 12 for social gathering breaches and one for curfew breach.

The Eastern Division recorded 12 cases of social gathering breaches while the North recorded three 3 cases, 1 for breach of curfew and 2 for social gathering breaches.




Fiji Muslim League gives 600 food packs to families suffering from COVID-19

By Rashika Kumar
Friday 24/04/2020
Fiji Muslim League Suva Branch provided food packs to the officers at Nabua Police Station and those manning Nabua lock-down stations.[Photo:Fiji Muslim League]

The Fiji Muslim League has given 600 food packs to families suffering from hardships caused by COVID-19.

This has been confirmed by the League President Haji Hafizud Dean Khan who says they will be helping 200 more families in Lautoka over the weekend.

Khan says essential food items are being given to families affected.

He adds this effort is being funded by the members of the league and other private donors.

Khan also adds they are helping people as they have received requests from the members of the community.





Nausori juveniles who breached the curfew regulations to meet each other appear in Court

By Dhanjay Deo
Thursday 23/04/2020

A 17-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy of Buiduna, Nausori who have been charged with failure to comply with curfew orders appeared in the Nausori Magistrates Court this afternoon.

It is alleged that the girl left her home during curfew hours last night and spent the night at the boy’s house.

The 16-year-old boy has also been charged with a count of abduction.

The boy has pleaded guilty to a count of failure to comply with curfew orders but pleaded not guilty to the charge of abduction.

He has been released on bail, an interim domestic violence restraining order has been issued and a curfew from 7 pm to 6 am has also been placed.

The girl’s plea has been deferred and the matter has been adjourned to the 7th of May.

She has also been released on bail.




Private schools and day care centres to remain closed until 12th June 2020

By Dhanjay Deo
Thursday 23/04/2020

The Ministry of Education says private schools and day care centres should also remain closed until 12th June 2020.

The Ministry says it had announced that all schools will remain closed until 12th June 2020 in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Classes are expected to resume from 16th June.

The Ministry says any further extension on school closure will also be applicable to the private schools and day care centres.

It says parents can also contact the respective heads of schools for additional resource materials however, these resources are supplementary and are non-examinable.




ANZ Bank donates AUD $500,000 to help COVID-19 relief efforts in eight Pacific countries

By Naveel Krishant
Thursday 23/04/2020
ANZ Bank Fiji

ANZ Bank today announced it would donate AUD $500,000 to help COVID-19 relief efforts in eight Pacific countries.

Red Cross Fiji will receive $200,000 to support their relief efforts for families affected by the global pandemic and cyclone Harold.

ANZ Fiji Country Head, Saud Minam said the double crisis of dealing with cyclone Harold, on top of the global COVID-19 pandemic has meant many Fijians are experiencing significant hardship and there are families in real need, where one or more caregiver has lost employment.

ANZ Regional Executive for the Pacific Tessa Price said combating the spread of COVID-19 was a regional challenge and that ANZ is playing its role to support our customers and communities.

Director-General for the Red Cross in Fiji, Ilisapeci Rokotunidau, said the staff and volunteers felt overwhelmed by the donation.

The donation follows fee removals, interest rate reductions and loan repayment deferral options already offered by ANZ to support Pacific customers experiencing hardship due to COVID-19.




3 men who were arrested for allegedly breaching curfew hours are also facing drug-related charges

By Shanil Singh
Thursday 23/04/2020

Three men who were arrested for allegedly breaching curfew hours are also facing drug-related charges after they were allegedly found with white substances believed to be methamphetamine.

Police say the three were arrested in Nadonumai, Lami after officers found them sitting at an empty roadside market stall after 11pm.

They say a search conducted resulted in the discovery of plastic containing white crystals believed to be methamphetamine and sachets of dried leaves believed to be marijuana.

Police say they have also seized cash which is believed to have been gained from the sale of illicit substances.

The three remain in custody as investigations continue.




FNPF pleads with members to be honest while applying for COVID-19 assistance

By Iva Danford
Thursday 23/04/2020

The Fiji National Provident Fund is pleading with its members to be honest while applying for the COVID-19 assistance as they have noted that some people that are not affected have applied.

This has been highlighted by the FNPF Chief Financial Officer, Pravinesh Singh who says there are cases where fraudulent letters from employers have been circulated.

Singh says this is not an opportunity to profit from the assistance that has been rolled out by FNPF and government.

He says the requirement for this assistance is very clear and this includes those that have been terminated, reduced hours, reduced pay, leave without pay or indefinite leave.

Singh says this assistance is not for civil servants as they have not suffered any pay cut.

FNPF CEO, Jaoji Koroi says they try to process 5,000 applications per day.

Koroi says a total of $18.19 million has been paid out so far by the Fiji National Provident Fund and the government through the COVID-19 withdrawal assistance.

He says $2.39 million has been paid by the government and $15.8 million has been paid by the Fund.

Koroi says about 25,320 FNPF members have been assisted through the COVID-19 withdrawal scheme.

He says the volume of applications received continues to increase and to date, they have received more than 52,083 applications.




52 people test negative for COVID-19 last night – PM

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 22/04/2020
Fiji now only has 10 active cases of COVID-19 in Fiji

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has confirmed that all 52 COVID-19 tests last night have returned negative.

Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete has said in a brief to the Prime Minister that 23 sailors who have been in quarantine have tested all negative. He says they can now go to home isolation.

It has also been confirmed that 3 more cases have tested negative twice.

This means that 8 out of the 18 positive COVID-19 patients in Fiji have recovered.

Fiji now only has 10 active cases of COVID-19 in Fiji

The recovery rate at this stage is 8/18 which is 44%.




Students will now be able to access educational programs through a new free-to-air Education Channel on Walesi

By Naveel Krishant
Wednesday 22/04/2020
Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

Fijian students from Kindergarten to Year 13 will now be able to access educational programs through a new free-to-air Education Channel on Walesi.

Minister for Education Rosy Akbar has urged students to take advantage of this opportunity provided by Government and learn as much as they can during this time.

Akbar says Fijian students will have access to a wide range of relevant curriculum-based educational programmes in literacy, numeracy and all other subjects from kindergarten to Year 13.

She added this initiative is for the benefit of our young ones and she is urging parents to encourage their children to view the free-to-air channel and, when possible, get actively involved in the process.

Students will be able to access the channel at any time through Walesi.

To further ensure that students are engaged in their studies during this period, the Ministry of Education has also prepared supplementary resource materials that will be accessible online.

This syllabus has been carefully prepared by the Curriculum Advisory Services Department of the Ministry of Education with the current circumstances in mind and covers all critical information to keep Fijians students up to date from the comfort of their own homes.

Attorney-General and Minister for Communications Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Akbar held negotiations with the Fijian Broadcasting Corporation and Walesi to implement the new educational channel.




Health Ministry urges the public not to rely on IgM/IgG rapid tests for diagnosis of COVID-19

By Iva Danford
Wednesday 22/04/2020
IgM/IgG rapid tests [image: medakit.com]

Ministry of Health has strongly adviced all health providers in Fiji to cease offering IgM/IgG rapid tests for the diagnosis of COVID-19.

The Ministry states that these tests are based on the detection of antibodies and antigens and they are not reliable for the acute diagnosis of COVID-19.

They say members of the public should not rely on these rapid test kits, as their use jeopardises Fiji’s efforts to contain and suppress the coronavirus.

The Ministry states the World Health Organisation and the Royal College of Pathologists Australasia have both recently issued statements strongly advising against the use of these antibody and antigen based rapid test kits for the diagnosis of COVID-19.

The Ministry states that the Royal College of Pathologists Australasia recommends that the new IgG/IgM tests are not used to screen for early infection, and that current Polymerase Chain Reaction tests remain as the primary testing method for COVID-19.

They say false negatives would have serious risks of incorrectly reassuring people and therefore increasing the spread of infection within the community.

The Ministry say the molecular based Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test remains the gold standard for COVID-19 testing worldwide and is the test conducted at the Ministry of Health, Fiji Centre for Disease Control.

They stress that the only reliable testing for COVID-19 in Fiji is available through the Ministry of Health’s molecular laboratory at Fiji CDC.




Qiliho confirms 3 police officers quarantined in Labasa after attending to a missing child report in the Soasoa lockdown area

By Shanil Singh
Wednesday 22/04/2020
Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho

Three police officers have been quarantined in Labasa after attending to a missing report in the Soasoa lockdown area.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the three officers had gone to attend to a report of a missing child.

Qiliho says the officers were quarantined as a precautionary measure after being advised to do so by the Ministry of Health.

He says they were quarantined straight after attending to the report.




Ranjit Garments has committed to make and donate bed-sheets pillowcases and blankets to the Ministry of Health

By Violet Matakibau
Wednesday 22/04/2020
Ranjit Garments donated a total of 850 bed-sheets and 850 pillow cases last week. [image: Health Ministry]

Ranjit Garments has committed to make and donate 3000 bed-sheets 3000 pillowcases and 300 blankets to the Ministry of Health.

The items will be used in community isolation facilities set up by Ministry Of Health across the country.

They donated a total of 850 bed-sheets and 850 pillow cases last week and will be donating the rest in the course of two weeks.

The Ministry of Health says such timely assistance from corporate organisations go a long way in responding to this pandemic.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services also thanks other companies and organisations who have contributed to the Ministry’s efforts in containing the spread of COVID-19.




4 youth volunteers donate hand made masks and antibacterial hand washing soaps to the Health Ministry

By Priteshni Nand
Wednesday 22/04/2020
The hand made masks will be used in the fever clinics around the country.

Few youth volunteers in the Northern Division have come forward to provide assistance towards the provision of masks and antibacterial hand washing soaps to assist the health workers in the fight against COVID-19.

This initiative has been made possible through the Ministry of Youth and Sports office in the Northern Division and the Labasa District Youth Council.

The team have donated 160 hand made masks and 160 antibacterial hand washing soaps to the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

Ministry of Youth and Sports Manager North, Walter Matalau and the President of the Labasa District Youth Council, Shaneel Mohammed handed over the donation to the Divisional Medical Advisor North, Dr. Hari Subramanian today.

The volunteers had undergone practical sewing and soap making training through the Ministry of Youth and Sports Skills and Empowerment program.

The Ministry of Youth says they will be contacting ex-trainees in sewing and soap making to assist where possible.






April sitting of parliament deferred due to the COVID-19 pandemic

By Semi Turaga
Wednesday 22/04/2020
An empty parliament chamber before a recent sitting. [image: Parliament of Fiji]

The April sitting of parliament has been deferred due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the life-saving directives and restrictions put in place by the Ministry of Health.

The Parliamentary Business Committee has agreed that all Parliamentary business for the April sitting of parliament be dealt with in the May sitting which is scheduled to take place from 25th to 29th May, 2020.




52 people test negative for COVID-19 last night – PM

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 22/04/2020
Fiji now only has 10 active cases of COVID-19 in Fiji

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has confirmed that all 52 COVID-19 tests last night have returned negative.

Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete has said in a brief to the Prime Minister that 23 sailors who have been in quarantine have tested all negative. He says they can now go to home isolation.

It has also been confirmed that 3 more cases have tested negative twice.

This means that 8 out of the 18 positive COVID-19 patients in Fiji have recovered.

Fiji now only has 10 active cases of COVID-19 in Fiji

The recovery rate at this stage is 8/18 which is 44%.




62 arrests made in the last 24 hours while the Western Division recorded 22 cases regarding COVID-19 restriction breaches

By Naveel Krishant
Wednesday 22/04/2020
Police operations regarding COVID-19 restrictions

62 arrests were made regarding COVID-19 restriction breaches with the Western Division recording 22 cases in the last 24 hours.

Of the 22, 17 were for social gathering and 5 for curfew breach.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the Northern Division continues to record social gathering breach reports with another 13 arrests made yesterday.

Southern Division recorded 15 cases, 12 for social gathering and 3 for curfew breach.

The Central Division recorded 12 cases, 11 for social gathering and 1 for curfew breach.

Qiliho says everyone needs to remember that physical exercise activities are limited to those that can be done within safe physical distance from others and therefore rules out any team sport like activities.

The Police Commissioner says this is a concern because apart from the number of social gathering arrests made for drinking yaqona and alcohol, people are being arrested for playing rugby and other team like sports.




Total of $13.95M paid out so far by FNPF and the government through the COVID-19 withdrawal assistance

By Iva Danford
Tuesday 21/04/2020
FNPF Chief Executive Officer, Jaoji Koroi

A total of $13.95 million has been paid out so far by the Fiji National Provident Fund and the government through the COVID-19 withdrawal assistance.

FNPF Chief Executive Officer, Jaoji Koroi says $2.05 million has been paid by the government and $11.90 million has been paid by the Fund.

Koroi says about 18,400 FNPF members have been assisted through the COVID-19 withdrawal scheme.

He says that the volume of applications received continues to increase and to date, they have received more than 46,791 applications.

Koroi says FNPF teams have been working continuously ever since this withdrawal scheme started and a total of 14,900 applications still need to be processed and paid.

He says the number of applications received so far is almost 70% of the total number of applications that were processed by the Fund in the whole of 2019.

Koroi says as the Fund copes with this huge demand, they are also pleading with members to be patient, reassuring members that each application will be processed.

He says with the Fund implemented a new digital submission platform through the Employer Online Portal, a huge number of applications were received manually.

Koroi says 7,700 applications were received from the Western Division manually dating back to 1 April 2020.

He says these applications have been prioritized for processing this week as the forms were delayed due to lockdown restrictions which only enabled the Fund to receive the forms last week.

Koroi says the same application forms also underwent a quarantine and scanning process to ensure that it was uploaded for online processing.

He says applications forms received via the Funds email platforms are also prioritized for processing this week.

Koroi says they understand the urgency of disbursing members’ funds due to the economic hardships that have come about as a result of COVID-1, however, they will ensure that applications go through the required checks.

He says teams have also been mobilised to deal with incomplete or queried applications and are engaging daily with employers to verify members’ details.

Koroi says from the applications that have been received, some were queried due to employers not signing or stamping the form; incomplete form; members not submitting the requirements with their completed applications and employers not submitting required documents with the members’ application forms.

Koroi says the Fund has also received enquiries from members about the dual payments of top-up amount from Government.

He says government top-up portion is processed on the same day, with the FNPF balance, however, members whose bank accounts are held with Westpac, BSP, Bank of Baroda, HFC Bank or Bred Bank, funds are updated one day later.

Koroi says this is due to FNPF’s EFT platform being ANZ Bank’s Transactive payment portal, which processes payments for other banks, on the next business day.

He has reassured members that there is no need to panic and that the Fund will pay out the member as timely as possible.

The CEO says that those opting for M-PAISA payment through Vodafone, Inkk and Digicel or Post Fiji BillPaid receive their payment in full, however, any fees associated with this service will be met by the member.

Koroi says FNPF has not decided on the closing date for the COVID-19 withdrawal assistance however they are encouraging members to come forth and apply now if they wish to do so.

He says FNPF will continue to assess as they believe that they have passed the peak submission period for the scheme.




Woman who allegedly breached curfew in Delainavesi, Lami further remanded in custody

By Priteshni Nand
Tuesday 21/04/2020

A 37-year-old woman who allegedly breached the curfew in Delainavesi in Lami has been further remanded in custody.

Kalesi Kamikamica appeared before Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili today.

Chief Magistrate Ratuvili says Kamikamica's psychiatric evaluation report shows that she is fit to take her plea.

Kamikamica had earlier told the court that she was involved in an assault case and was referred to the Saint Giles Hospital by the CWM Hospital and was told that she needed further treatment because of her condition.

The case has been adjourned to the 5th of May.




19 juveniles among the 37 people arrested in the last 24 hours for alleged breach of COVID-19 restrictions

By Semi Turaga
Tuesday 21/04/2020

37 people were arrested in the last 24 hours for alleged breach of COVID-19 restrictions and 19 were juveniles under the age of 18 years.

Majority of the 37 people were arrested in the Southern Division.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says majority of the social gathering breach reports involving juveniles were of those playing rugby and sitting around in numbers in public places.

Qiliho is urging parents and guardians to step up on the monitoring of their children's activities at all times.

He says the Western and Central Divisions both recorded nil arrests which is commendable.

The Central Division includes Suva City, Waimanu Road, Toganivalu Road, Reservoir Road and the whole of Laucala Bay.

The Southern Division recorded 32 cases.

27 of these were for social gathering breaches and 5 for breach of curfew.

The Northern Division recorded 3 cases of curfew breaches.

The Eastern Division recorded one case of curfew breaches and one for social gathering breach.




COVID-19: 1 new case confirmed by PM taking the total to 18

By Vijay Narayan
Monday 20/04/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama
Fiji has confirmed the 18th COVID-19 case.

  • Ban on social gatherings still stands.
  • 51-year-old woman from Ba
  • She returned from overseas
  • First tested on April 18th
  • She shares a home with three others who all tested negative
  • All have been placed in quarantine
  • Ba will not be on lockdown
  • 8pm-5am National curfew still stands
  • Three Fijians have recovered from COVID-19

Fiji has confirmed the 18th COVID-19 case after the positive test of a 51 year old woman from Ba who had earlier returned from the United States of America.

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says the woman was already in self-quarantine for 14 days after returning from the US.

She showed symptoms after the quarantine period.

The woman shares a house with 3 others.

Bainimarama says all the 3 have tested negative however they are also quarantined.

The patient returned from the US on the 22nd of March.

Bainimarama says the results of the woman’s test make it likely this patient has been carrying COVID-19 for weeks.

He says luckily, the contact tracing which began as soon as she was first tested on the 18th of April, identifies her as a low-risk transmitter.

He says they have traced and identified her other casual contacts and they have all been entered into compulsory home quarantine.

Bainimarama says mobile teams will be conducting a large-scale screening of the entire province.

He says as with Lautoka and Suva, public cooperation is vital to this effort.

He says if we don’t see sufficient numbers from these screenings, Ba will risk a total lockdown.

24-hour nationwide curfew not off the table - Bainimarama

POLICE-SM

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says the possibility of a 24-hour nationwide curfew is not off the table, and the power to avoid that drastic alternative rests with every Fijian.

Bainimarama has told the people of Fiji to do the right thing today, and spare us suffering down the road. The Prime Minister says the 51 year old woman from Ba was certainly not the only unconfirmed coronavirus case in the country.

He says this virus is proving as stealthy as it is unpredictable, but it can be beaten.

Bainimarama says it can be beaten by keeping to the simple strategy of physical distancing. He says the difference of two metres of physical distance between us means the difference between victory and defeat in this campaign.

The Prime Minister says it means the difference between life and death for vulnerable Fijians. He also over the weekend, aside from dozens more arrests, they have received reports across the country of blatant violations of the physical distancing directives.

Bainimarama says too many Fijians are still behaving as if the virus isn’t among us. He says thank God, there are no deaths due to the virus in Fiji. But he says if people keep crowding in public places, gathering socially, or otherwise acting like these are normal times, there’s no question, we will lose lives.

Bainimarama says social gatherings are banned, and the 8pm to 5am curfew remains in effect. He says all of us should stay in our homes as much as possible.

If you see someone violating the directives, do not stay silent, pick up the phone and call 158 or call police.

He also says the government is introducing new health protection measures at hospitals nationwide.

He says only two visitors a day will be allowed to see a patient, and the visitation window will only be one hour.

Visitors will enter facilities one at a time and will need to be health-checked prior to entry.

The standing ban on visitations to isolation wards and facilities will continue.

Bainimarama says they will also be introducing compulsory testing for Fijians returning from overseas in government-funded quarantine after 14 days. If they test negative after the critical 14-day incubation period, they will be able to spend the remaining 14 days of their quarantine at home.




PM honours the life of Village Headman of Baleyaganiga Village who was allegedly killed while trying to break up a drinking party

By Vijay Narayan
Monday 20/04/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has honoured the life of Turaga-ni-Koro, Morotikei Mainilala, serving in Baleyaganiga Village on Vanua Levu who was allegedly brutally killed while trying to break up a drinking party.

He says those suspected of involvement have been charged. The Prime Minister says the ban on social gatherings exists to stop the sort of person-to-person contact that spreads the deadly coronavirus.

He says it’s clear Mainilala knew that and it’s why he strove to prevent his fellow Fijians from violating the health protection measures.

Bainimarama has extended his deepest sympathies to his wife, his six children, and his community.

He says Mainilala’s family and all of Fiji, have lost a responsible leader and a brave Fijian.




24-hour nationwide curfew not off the table - Bainimarama

By Vijay Narayan
Monday 20/04/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says the possibility of a 24-hour nationwide curfew is not off the table, and the power to avoid that drastic alternative rests with every Fijian.

Bainimarama has told the people of Fiji to do the right thing and spare us suffering down the road.

Fiji has confirmed the 18th COVID-19 case after the positive test of a 51 year old woman from Ba who had earlier returned from the United States of America. The Prime Minister says this woman from Ba was certainly not the only unconfirmed coronavirus case in the country.

He says this virus is proving as stealthy as it is unpredictable, but it can be beaten.

Bainimarama says it can be beaten by keeping to the simple strategy of physical distancing. He says the difference of two metres of physical distance between us means the difference between victory and defeat in this campaign.

The Prime Minister says it means the difference between life and death for vulnerable Fijians. He also says that over the weekend, aside from dozens more arrests, they have received reports across the country of blatant violations of the physical distancing directives.

Bainimarama says too many Fijians are still behaving as if the virus isn’t among us. He says thank God, there are no deaths due to the virus in Fiji. But he says if people keep crowding in public places, gathering socially, or otherwise acting like these are normal times, there’s no question, we will lose lives.

Bainimarama says social gatherings are banned, and the 8pm to 5am curfew remains in effect. He says all of us should stay in our homes as much as possible.

If you see someone violating the directives, do not stay silent, pick up the phone and call 158 or call police.

He also says the government is introducing new health protection measures at hospitals nationwide.

He says only two visitors a day will be allowed to see a patient, and the visitation window will only be one hour.

Visitors will enter facilities one at a time and will need to be health-checked prior to entry.

The standing ban on visitations to isolation wards and facilities will continue.

Bainimarama says they will also be introducing compulsory testing for Fijians returning from overseas in government-funded quarantine after 14 days. If they test negative after the critical 14-day incubation period, they will be able to spend the remaining 14 days of their quarantine at home.




We are actively investigating 305 labour complaints lodged in relation to COVID-19 - Bala

By Violet Matakibau
Monday 20/04/2020
The Minister for Employment, Parveen Bala

The Minister for Employment, Parveen Bala says they are actively investigating 305 labour complaints lodged in relation to COVID-19, such as non-payment of statutory leave entitlements and other entitlements under the Employment Relations Act 2007.

Bala says the Ministry is ensuring that job losses are minimised and that all guarantees are made to workers including paid leave are fulfilled.

He says through its toll-free number 1535, their customer care centre has also received a total of 435 employment-related queries from workers and employers since it was launched on 29 January 2020.

Bala adds the Ministry has also been conducting health and hygiene awareness training, with 1,311 sessions completed at high-risk workplaces such as airports, seaports, hotels, markets, supermarkets, and banks.

Since the start of the year, the Ministry of Employment has conducted a total of 711 labour inspections, resulting in the successful recovery of $179,110.39 that has been directly paid out to the affected workers.




33-yr-old man charged with Disobedience of Lawful Order under the Public Health Act remanded in custody

By Rashika Kumar
Monday 20/04/2020

A 33-year-old man charged with Disobedience of Lawful Order under the Public Health Act has been remanded in custody by the Suva Magistrates Court.

It is alleged that Josefa Biliwaqa breached the orders of curfew at 6 Miles Tacirua on the 3rd of April.

He was on a bench warrant as he had two other cases pending in court.

The accused is also charged with attempted rape. The alleged incident occurred in Kadavu in 2005.

Biliwaqa is also charged with criminal trespass. The alleged incident also occurred in Kadavu in 2011.

The case has been adjourned to the 4th of May, 2020.




Second day in a row no arrests made in the Central Division, 93 people arrested in other divisions for breaching COVID-19 restrictions

By Semi Turaga
Monday 20/04/2020
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

For the second day in a row, there have been no COVID-19 related breaches in the Central Division but the continuing concern is that a lot of people are still allegedly grogging and drinking alcohol with those they do not live with.

The Central Division includes Suva City, Waimanu Road, Toganivalu Road, Reservoir Road and the whole of Laucala Bay.

Police confirm that most of the alleged social gathering breaches in the last 24 hours was in relation to people grogging and drinking alcohol with those they do not live with.

Of the 93 reported cases in the last 24 hours, 36 were recorded in the South.

The Southern Division includes Samabula, Tamavua, Tacirua, Nabua and Nasinu and other areas outside of the Suva Central area. The Eastern Division recorded 26 cases of social gathering breaches with 1 case of curfew breach.

There were 19 arrests in the Northern Division for curfew breaches.

The Western Division recorded 10 cases of social gathering breaches and one for breach of curfew.




Agriculture COVID-19 Response initiative has been suspended until the 4th of May, 2020

By Violet Matakibau
Sunday 19/04/2020
Minister for Agriculture Dr Mahendra Reddy

Minister for Agriculture Dr Mahendra Reddy says their Agriculture COVID-19 Response initiative has been suspended for two weeks as they are focusing on rehabilitation efforts for Tropical Cyclone Harold.

Dr Reddy says they have dispatched a team of 20 officials, consisting of technical officers, paravets and commodity specialists to assist and support farmers and people as an immediate response to TC Harold.

He says the ministry has supplied kumala cuttings, vegetable seeds, essential and immediate veterinary supplies that include antibiotics, pig de-wormers, anti-diarrhoea medicines and vitamins to farmers in Kadavu, Vatulele, Malolo Island, Yasawa and Lau Groups.

He says they supplied emergency veterinary kits so that officers can attend to livestock which might have been injured during the cyclone and also 15 coils of wire for villages in Kadavu and Lau to confine their livestock which may have gone astray due to the cyclone and poses a threat to their root crops.

Reddy has also assured that the Ministry would ensure that everyone has a continuous supply of locally grown fresh, nutritious produce throughout these trying times.

He adds the Ministry of Agriculture has also suspended its Agriculture COVID-19 Response initiative as it focuses efforts on rehabilitating TC Harold affected areas.

The Agriculture COVID-19 Response initiative will resume on the 4th of May, 2020.




Follow the COVID-19 social gathering restrictions even during funeral gatherings - Dr Waqainabete

By Vijay Narayan, Iva Danford
Sunday 19/04/2020
Heath Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete

Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete has confirmed that the restrictions remain for funerals and burial services and these gatherings should remain at less than 20.

Doctor Waqainabete highlighted this after Fijivillage was alerted about a gathering of more than 20 people at Vugalei, Lami on Saturday.

We have also received reports from some concerned people on the large number of people during funeral gatherings in Suva on Friday and Saturday.

Doctor Waqainabete says family members should be considerate and keep the numbers to less than 20 people.

The Minister stresses that nothing about the COVID-19 restrictions is relaxed at this point in time.




No arrests made in the central, 67 people arrested in other divisions for breaching COVID-19 restrictions

By Iva Danford
Sunday 19/04/2020
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

No curfew or social gathering related arrests were made last night in the Central Division but 67 people were arrested in other divisions for breaches of the COVID-19 restrictions.

The Central Division includes Suva City, Waimanu Road, Toganivalu Road, Reservoir Road and the whole of Laucala Bay.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the 67 arrests include a case of lockdown breach which allegedly occurred in Nausori last weekend.

Qiliho says a report received yesterday revealed that the accused had allegedly breached the Nausori lockdown restrictions after he swam from Toga to Nadali.

He says 48 people were arrested for social gathering breaches and 18 arrested for curfew breaches in the Eastern Division.

Qiliho says the Southern Division recorded 32 cases of social gathering breach, Northern Division recorded 10 and Western Division had 6 cases.

He says 13 curfew breaches were recorded in the Southern Division, 3 in the Western Division and 2 in the Eastern Division.

The Southern Division includes Samabula, Tamavua, Tacirua, Nabua and Nasinu and other areas outside of the Suva Central area.

Qiligo says the majority of the social gathering arrests continue to be made with regards to those found drinking yaqona and alcohol in groups.




Fijian Government will cover the costs for individuals kept in government designated quarantine facilities

By Iva Danford
Sunday 19/04/2020

Ministry of Health has confirmed that the Fijian Government will cover the costs for those individuals who will be kept at the government designated quarantine facilities upon their arrival into the country.

The Fijian government states that they have accommodated 355 individuals for quarantine at designated hotels since the 28th of March 2020 with 221 individuals currently under quarantine.

They say that anyone coming into the country through the Nadi International Airport is taken to designated hotels for their quarantine period straight from the airport under the strict supervision of the health officials and the Fijian Government continues to pay for the accommodation and meals of Fijians coming from abroad for their full 28 days of quarantine.

The Fijian government states that no family members, friends and relatives are allowed to meet with those who are under quarantine at these hotels.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health say this is to ensure that there is no spread of COVID-19, especially from those coming in from abroad who potentially could have been exposed to the virus.




Any assembly of individuals as defined in the Public Health Act is considered a gathering - Qiliho

By Iva Danford
Saturday 18/04/2020
Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho has stressed that any assembly of individuals as defined in the Public Health Act is considered a gathering.

Qiliho says if you are intending to invite even one or two people over to your home or plan to meet others for a social gathering then you are breaching the COVID-19 restrictions.

He says he has earlier highlighted that people need to stop gambling with their lives and the lives of their loved ones, because when you selfishly leave your home to meet up with others over a tanoa of yaqona or a drinking party, you could be the one responsible for spreading the virus.

Qiliho adds that if people are still saying that they confused about the definition of illegal socializing outside of curfew hours, it is pure ignorance.

Qiliho highlighted this after Fijivillage got questions from some people that they are confused about socializing outside the curfew hours.

He says that it has been stressed by the Prime Minister and himself a number of times and for people to still say that they do not understand is ignorant.

The Prime Minister had earlier stressed that if you’re missing a friend or loved one, do the safe thing and call them on the phone.

Bainimarama says if you need to walk around or exercise you may do so, but keep a safe distance of two metres from other people while outside.




People are breaching COVID-19 restrictions because they can’t see the threat - Usamate

By Vijay Narayan, Iva Danford
Saturday 18/04/2020
Minister for Infrastructure Jone Usamate

Minister for Infrastructure Jone Usamate says people are breaching the COVID-19 restrictions because they can’t see the threat.

Usamate stressed this in an interview with our News Director, Vijay Narayan on our website fijivillage.

He says that people know what to do during the COVID-19 pandemic and how it can spread but some people still do not practise it.

Usamate says this was why they had teams from different divisions going out to conduct awareness programs on COVID-19.

He says the challenge they have now is getting people to change their behaviour towards the threat of COVID-19.

Usamate says this becomes an issue of changing values as to what is acceptable and what is not.




64 arrested last night for breaching of COVID-19 restrictions

By Iva Danford
Saturday 18/04/2020
[Photo:Fiji Police Force]

64 arrests were made last night with regards to breaches of COVID-19 restrictions.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says while the number has decreased, social gathering is still an issue.

Qiliho says 48 arrests were made for social gathering breach and 16 for curfew breach.

He says the Southern Division recorded 22 cases of social breach, 13 cases in the Western Division, 9 in the Central Division and 4 in the Eastern Division.

Qiliho says 9 curfew breaches were recorded in the Southern Division, 3 in the Western Division while Central and Northern Divisions recorded two 2 cases each.




Qiliho stresses that all businesses in Suva can open from today except gyms, cinemas, pools and nightclubs as announced by the PM

By Vijay Narayan, Naveel Krishant
Friday 17/04/2020
Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho has stressed that all businesses in Suva can open from this morning except gyms, cinemas, pools and nightclubs as announced by the Prime Minister.

Qiliho has clarified this and says he has spoken to all officers in the force this morning.

Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum reiterated that gyms, cinemas, pools and nightclubs will be closed.


Sayed-Khaiyum says they had noted that outlets such as banks and pharmacies that were operating during the lockdown were practicing social distancing.

The Attorney General adds that they expect that when some of the shops open today the same processes and practices will be followed.




Parents are to collect their children's learning resource packages from schools from May 14th

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 17/04/2020
Education Minister, Rosy Akbar

With schools expected to be closed until June 16th this year, Education Minister, Rosy Akbar is advising parents that it is their responsibility to pick up learning resource material packages for their children from their schools from May 14th.


Akbar says teachers are to report to school where possible from Monday 20th April to facilitate teaching materials for home-based educational activities for the students.

She says the ministry understands that these are not normal times and there are a number of factors such as damages to facilities by TC Harold and the travel restrictions that are in place. Akbar says where teachers cannot physically report to school, they are to liaise with the Heads of Schools and work from home.

Akbar says for now, parents are encouraged to continue accessing supplementary resources available on the Ministry of Education website, Google shared drive, FEMIS, facebook and the ongoing school radio programmes on Radio Fiji 1 and Radio Fiji 2.

The Education Minister says all English, vernacular and test subject project work that form the basis of internal assessments has now been removed from this academic year due to the movement restrictions.

Akbar says when schools resume for classes, internal examinations will be conducted for Year 1 to Year 8, literacy and numeracy examinations for Year 5 and 7, standard examinations for Years 9 and 11 and external examinations for Year 12 and 13.

She says these are extraordinary times and parental guidance, supervision and monitoring is paramount.

Akbar says students will be able to access the Walesi free to air educational channel from Monday 27th April, 2020. Details will be released at a later date.

She says children should return to school when we are COVID-19 free.




The Association of Banks in Fiji pledges $50,000 towards the Fijian Government COVID-19 Donor Fund

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 17/04/2020

The Association of Banks in Fiji has pledged $50,000 towards the Fijian Government COVID-19 Donor Fund to help Fijians keep fighting on.

Association Chairman, Rakesh Ram says in addition to a number of measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic effects, they felt the need to provide further assistance towards the various communities affected and also post TC Harold.

He says it is also great to see that many Fijians are taking advantage of the packages offered by various banks to assist with the loans and mortgages.

Ram says as an essential service, they would like to assure customers that they will still remain operational during the lockdown although they encourage everyone to use the digital platforms as much as possible to ensure social distancing is maintained for the safety of both the customers and staff.

He says all the banks in Fiji - ANZ, Bank of Baroda, Bred Bank, Bank of South Pacific, HFC Bank and Westpac provided their support towards this noble cause.




Taxi drivers cannot carry 5 to 6 passengers in their car as that would breach the physical distancing directive

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 17/04/2020

Taxi drivers cannot be carrying 5 to 6 passengers in their car as that would be a breach of the physical distancing directive under the Public Health Act.

Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho has made this clear after some taxi drivers raised the question on why Police officers are warning them that they would be fined for carrying more than 2 passengers.

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Traffic seen in Suva today, after the lockdown was lifted.




University of Fiji hoping to start face to face classes on the 28th of this month based on govt advisory

By Dhanjay Deo
Friday 17/04/2020
University of Fiji Lautoka campus

The Pro-Chancellor of the University of Fiji, Kamlesh Arya says they are hoping to start face to face classes on the 28th of this month but this will be subject to government advisory.

Arya says all their staff are currently on leave and expected to resume work on the 27th of this month.

He says if they are unable to resume face to face classes later this month, then they will have to start classes through online arrangement.




Suva lockdown to be lifted at 5am tomorrow while schools remain closed until the 15th of June

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 16/04/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has confirmed that the Suva lockdown will be lifted at 5am tomorrow however schools will remain closed until the 15th of June, all the other public health restrictions will also remain like the nationwide curfew from 8pm to 5am, the 2 metres physical distancing between people remain and the restriction on social gatherings will also remain throughout Fiji.

Restrictions Remain

While declaring a state of natural disaster in Fiji in response to the coronavirus threat, Bainimarama stresses that even though the Suva lockdown is lifting tomorrow morning, every other life-saving directive in place will remain in place.

He says nightclubs, gyms, cinemas and pools stay closed.

Bainimarama says public gatherings are not permitted.

Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum confirms that other workplaces that are not nightclubs, gyms, cinemas and pools can recommence operations.

Bainimarama stresses that physical distancing of two metres from all others should be maintained at all times. He states the end of the lockdown is not cause for celebration, it is not a reason to have large grog sessions or drinking parties.

He also says that it is not a justification to stay out past 8pm and it is not an excuse to leave your homes for no good reason.

Bainimarama also says that the state of natural disaster means that they need to bring every resource in government to bear to take on the crises of contagion and climate change.

Schools to remain closed until June 15th – PM Teachers to report to school wherever they can from Monday - Akbar

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Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has announced that schools will not open until the 15th of June.

Bainimarama says this extension recognises that COVID-19 will be part of our lives for the foreseeable future, and we must plan accordingly.

He says the date schools reopen is subject to change based on the situation on the ground at the time.

Minister for Education, Rosy Akbar says classes are expected to begin on the 16th of June however they will only bring back students to school when they are totally sure that we are COVID-19 free.

Akbar confirms that teachers are to report to school, wherever possible from Monday 20th April to facilitate teaching materials for home based teaching activity.

She says in cases where teachers cannot physically report to school, they are to liaise with their heads of schools and work from home.

Akbar has also confirmed that all English, vernacular and test subject project work that form the basis of internal assessment has now been removed from this academic year due to the movement restrictions.

She says that when schools resume for classes, internal assessments will be conducted from Year 1 to Year 8, literacy and numeracy exams for Year 5 and 7 and standard exams for Year 9 and 11 and external exams for year 12 and 13.

Akbar has also confirmed that students will be able to access the Walesi free to air educational channel from the 27th of April and they will be releasing further details on this later. The radio programmes will continue on Radio Fiji 2.

More than 230,000 screenings in the Greater Suva Area expected

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Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says around 180,000 Fijians in the Suva Confined Area have been screened by the mobile teams and at fever clinics, well beyond the target of 150,000, and an impressive two-thirds of the total population of the largest urban hub.

Bainimarama says today, the total will likely surpass 230,000, meaning that when combined with previous screenings in Lautoka, over 280,000 Fijians have been screened.

He says this represents the most ambitious public health screening campaign in Fijian history.

The Prime Minister says that success is shared by our healthcare heroes, our disciplined forces and the thousands of Fijians who stepped up and got themselves screened.

Bainimarama says they have also successfully identified and quarantined all of the close contacts of the Suva COVID-19 cases – and these Fijians will remain in quarantine for 28 days.

He says over the months to come, the government will expand large-scale screening to Nadi, Ba, Tavua, Rakiraki, Labasa, Savusavu, Sigatoka and Korovou. The Prime Minister says the progress of their screening and contact tracing has kept them on track to lift the lockdown of the Suva confined area by 5am tomorrow.

17th COVID-19 patient is a 21 year old Vanua Levu man who travelled back from India with the 54 year old Soasoa man

Quarantine Period now extended to 28 days - PM

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The Prime Minister has today confirmed that the quarantine period for COVID-19 patient contacts and the people returning from overseas will now be 28 days.

Voreqe Bainimarama says this follows the confirmation of the 17th case of COVID-19 in Fiji who is a relative and travelling companion of the 54 year old Soasoa man. They both travelled together from India to Singapore and on to Fiji. Bainimarama says since the 21 year old man’s return to Fiji, he has not shown a single symptom of the virus. Upon returning to the country from overseas, this man was in self-quarantine for two full weeks, up until the 5th of April.

He says free of any symptoms throughout the virus’s known two-week incubation period, by all appearances, he was in the clear. The Prime Minister says from this week, they have widened the testing to all close contacts of all confirmed cases, regardless of whether they are displaying symptoms. He says that is how they identified, tested and confirmed this man as the 17th case. The 21 year old man was immediately entered into isolation upon testing positive today where he is in stable condition. His close contacts have been entered into separate isolation facilities. The contact tracing stemming from this latest case has revealed the need for additional lockdowns on Vanua Levu.

The Vunicagi Settlement between Nabouwalu and Labasa will be locked down for the next 28 days. The settlement lies along a short stretch of vital highway which vehicles will still be allowed to traverse under 24/7 police monitoring, as no alternate routes into Labasa exist. However, no passengers will be allowed to disembark or embark: No one in and no one out. Bainimarama says the lockdown of the Soasoa settlement will be extended by another 14 days, in line with the 28-day quarantine policy. Given the continued risk of transmission on Vanua Levu, the ban on inter-island travel by air and sea will remain in effect.

Nabua Settlement still on lockdown

b


Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says the Nabua Muslim League Settlement, the site of two of the coronavirus cases, is still a high-risk region.

Bainimarama says given how long this virus has proven it can stay dormant, the Nabua settlement will remain locked down for an additional 14 days. In the West, Fijians who have returned from overseas remain under closely supervised quarantine.

Bainimarama says one flight is arriving tomorrow from Auckland and every passenger aboard will head straight to one of the government facilities.





COVID-19: 1 new case confirmed by PM taking the total to 17, Suva lockdown to be lifted at 5am tomorrow

By fijivillage
Thursday 16/04/2020
  • A new case has been confirmed by the PM
  • The total cases now goes up to 17
  • State of natural disaster declared in response to COVID-19
  • First 16 patients in stable condition
  • One new case of COVID 19
  • 21-year-old man in Vanua Levu
  • Traveling companion of Soasoa man
  • Man was in self-quarantine for full two weeks
  • Immediately taken into isolation after testing positive
  • Contacts of the man in isolation also
  • Quarantine period now extended to 28 days
  • Vunicagi settlement in Vanua Levu to be under lockdown for 28 days
  • Lockdown for Soasoa will be extended for next 14 days
  • 180,000 people in Suva area have been screened
  • 280,000 in total have been screened in Fiji
  • Suva lockdown to be lifted by 5am tomorrow
  • Nabua settlement is still a high-risk region and will be under lockdown
  • Nationwide curfew remains in place
  • Public gatherings are not permitted
  • One flight will arrive from Auckland tomorrow
  • Schools will not open until the 15th of June
  • Opening dates of schools will be subject to change


Businesses can start operations from tomorrow except gyms, cinemas, pools and nightclubs - AG

By Naveel Krishant
Thursday 16/04/2020
Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says all businesses can start operations from tomorrow except gyms, cinemas, pools and nightclubs as announced by the Prime Minister.

Sayed-Khaiyum says they had noted that outlets such as banks and pharmacies that were operating during the lockdown were practising social distancing.

The Attorney General further adds that they expect that when some of the shops open tomorrow, they will also follow the same processes and practices.




Free Bird Institute Limited to charter a flight from Nadi to Narita, Japan later this month

By Naveel Krishant
Thursday 16/04/2020
A Fiji Airways aircraft [image: Fiji Airways]

Free Bird Institute Limited in consultation with the Japanese Embassy in Fiji as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan has signed a contract with Fiji Airways to charter a flight from Nadi to Narita, Japan later this month.

This flight will allow the repatriation of their students who were in Lautoka during the lockdown period and who were unable to make it to their flight that departed Nadi on 3rd April 2020.

Chief Operating Officer, Mereseini Baleilevuka says over 100 of their students who were in the lockdown areas of Lautoka were scheduled to depart on 3rd April 2020.

She says however, as a result of the lockdown, they were unable to make it to their flight adding their teams have been working around the clock to ensure that their well-being is being looked after.

Baleilevuka says they have since moved most of these students to their Nadi campus for convenience and she has extended her sincere gratitude to their employees and homestay families who have been supporting their students during these difficult times.

This flight will also enable citizens and residents of other countries to return to their home countries via Narita.

More details of the flight will be released once all the necessary approvals have been obtained.




Nabua Settlement still on lockdown

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 16/04/2020
Nabua lockdown area

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says the Nabua Muslim League Settlement, the site of two of the coronavirus cases, is still a high-risk region.

Bainimarama says given how long this virus has proven it can stay dormant, the Nabua settlement will remain locked down for an additional 14 days. In the West, Fijians who have returned from overseas remain under closely supervised quarantine.

Bainimarama says one flight is arriving tomorrow from Auckland and every passenger aboard will head straight to one of the government facilities.




17th COVID-19 patient is a 21-year-old Vanua Levu man who travelled back from India with the 54 year old Soasoa man

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 16/04/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

The Prime Minister has today confirmed that the quarantine period for COVID-19 patient contacts and the people returning from overseas will now be 28 days.

Voreqe Bainimarama says this follows the confirmation of the 17th case of COVID-19 in Fiji who is a relative and travelling companion of the 54 year old Soasoa man.

They both travelled together from India to Singapore and on to Fiji.

Bainimarama says since the 21 year old man’s return to Fiji, he has not shown a single symptom of the virus. Upon returning to the country from overseas, this man was in self-quarantine for two full weeks, up until the 5th of April.

He says free of any symptoms throughout the virus’s known two-week incubation period, by all appearances, he was in the clear.

The Prime Minister says from this week, they have widened the testing to all close contacts of all confirmed cases, regardless of whether they are displaying symptoms.

He says that is how they identified, tested and confirmed this man as the 17th case.

The 21 year old man was immediately entered into isolation upon testing positive today where he is in stable condition.

His close contacts have been entered into separate isolation facilities. The contact tracing stemming from this latest case has revealed the need for additional lockdowns on Vanua Levu.

The Vunicagi Settlement between Nabouwalu and Labasa will be locked down for the next 28 days.

The settlement lies along a short stretch of vital highway which vehicles will still be allowed to traverse under 24/7 police monitoring, as no alternate routes into Labasa exist.

However, no passengers will be allowed to disembark or embark: No one in and no one out. Bainimarama says the lockdown of the Soasoa settlement will be extended by another 14 days, in line with the 28-day quarantine policy.

Given the continued risk of transmission on Vanua Levu, the ban on inter-island travel by air and sea will remain in effect.




Schools to remain closed until June 15th - PM

By Vijay Narayan, Rashika Kumar
Thursday 16/04/2020

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has announced that schools will not open until the 15th of June.

Bainimarama says this extension recognises that COVID-19 will be part of our lives for the foreseeable future, and we must plan accordingly.

He says the date schools reopen is subject to change based on the situation on the ground at the time.

Minister for Education, Rosy Akbar says classes are expected to begin on the 16th of June however they will only bring back students to school when they are totally sure that we are COVID-19 free.

Akbar confirms that teachers are to report to school, wherever possible from Monday 20th April to facilitate teaching materials for home based teaching activity.

She says in cases where teachers cannot physically report to school, they are to liaise with their heads of schools and work from home.

Akbar has also confirmed that all English, vernacular and test subject project work that form the basis of internal assessment has now been removed from this academic year due to the movement restrictions.

She says that when schools resume for classes, internal assessments will be conducted from Year 1 to Year 8, literacy and numeracy exams for Year 5 and 7 and standard exams for Year 9 and 11 and external exams for year 12 and 13.

Akbar has also confirmed that students will be able to access the Walesi free to air educational channel from the 27th of April and they will be releasing further details on this later. The radio programmes will continue on Radio Fiji 2.





Consumer Council of Fiji urging Fijians to be careful of COVID-19 charity scam

By Naveel Krishant
Thursday 16/04/2020

The Consumer Council of Fiji is urging Fijians to be careful of COVID-19 charity scam.

This is after the Council received a complaint from a consumer where a trader had posted on social media that a certain amount from the total purchase will be given to donor agent to provide relief to those affected by impact of COVID–19.

However, the Council says investigations revealed that there were no such arrangements between the donor agent and the trader involved.

CEO Seema Shandil says they have generous people around and no doubt that people are going to be supporting organizations, groups and individuals participating in Coronavirus and TC Harold relief efforts.

Shandil adds therefore, those who wish to make charitable donations should take simple steps to make sure that their donations are going where they are meant to go.

She further says with a little research and a few precautions, people can help ensure their donations go to organizations that are genuinely serving others, and help identify potential charity scams.

Shandil says don’t assume that charity recommendations on Facebook or other social media are legitimate.

Consumers are encouraged to exercise caution and to report suspected charity scams to the Council via National toll-free line 155 or email Complaints@consumersfiji.org.




Two groups of people appeared in court for allegedly gathering and drinking alcohol

By Iva Danford
Wednesday 15/04/2020

Two groups of people appeared before Magistrate Deepika Prakash for allegedly gathering and drinking alcohol.

One of the groups consisted of two company directors, Rodney Raghwan and Mohammed Faizal Khan and a Secretary of the Chairman of a major company Rajesh Kumar.

It is alleged that these three accused, a taxi driver Roshan Ali and his wife Ranjita Sharma were drinking alcohol at a house in Allardyce Road in Suva on Monday.

Police Prosecutor, Sergeant Ravi Narayan objected to bail and told the court that the nation is going through a crisis and the curfew has been in place for the past 3 weeks.

Sergeant Narayan says with all the measures in place, people still appear in court for similar offences and approving bail will open the floodgates for this type of offence.

Mohammed Faizal Khan and Rodney Raghwan’s lawyer told the court that Raghwan had gone to Allardyce Road on Monday and arrived at 4.30pm to inspect the works being carried out as he owns the property.

Mohammed Faizal Khan, Rodney Raghwan and Rajesh Kumar have been ordered to pay $2,000 each while Roshan Ali and his wife Ranjita Sharma have been ordered to pay $500 each before close of business today.

The case has been adjourned to the 22nd of June.

The other group of 6 people which includes a school teacher had all pleaded guilty. The 6 have been fined $1,000 each. They have to pay the fine wthin 30 days or spend 100 days in prison.

They were drinking in a house in Nabua on Monday.

These six include Tuimoala Kotobalavu, Joni Ravuga, Setefano Temo, Vilivo Bibi, Savenaca Vakasesei and Vereti Wailetu.




Concerns continue to be raised on exorbitant prices of vegetables after COVID-19 lockdown and TC Harold

By Vijay Narayan, Naveel Krishant
Wednesday 15/04/2020
Market vendors in Suva

Concerns continue to be raised on the exorbitant prices of vegetables after the COVID-19 lockdown and Tropical Cyclone Harold however market vendors say that they do not have any choice as they are buying the produce from farmers or third parties at higher prices compared to the past.

Some market vendors in Suva have told Fijivillage that the prices for vegetables has nearly doubled.

A vendor highlighted that as early as last month they used to get a sack of eggplants from Valley Road for about $30 but now it is costing close to $60. Another vendor also says the price of English Cabbage has significantly increased as they are now getting one kg of cabbage for about $40.

She also highlighted that last month the vendors used to get 12 bundles of long bean for about $25 and now it is costing them close to $50.

A small heap of eggplants is now being sold to consumers for $5, a bundle of long bean is $5, a bundle of dalo is being sold for $35, a quarter of a pumpkin is $4 while a heap of cassava is $7.

The vendor says people complain to them that they are increasing vegetable prices but she says if they do not increase their price they will not be able to make profits.

The Consumer Council of Fiji has also said that it is seriously concerned with the exorbitant local vegetable prices in municipal markets around the country.

Following the complaints, a survey was conducted last week that found prices for produce had increased enormously.

The Council has analyzed the price of some local produce sold during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and found that the price of English Cabbage has gone up by 100%, dalo price is up by 250%, cassava price is up by 54%, long bean price is up by 44%, jackfruit price is up by 25%, bean price is up by 100%, eggplant price is up by 150% and pumpkin is up by 25%.

The council says it is also concerning to see that whilst the prices have increased, the quantity has subsequently declined. For example, a plate of three, locally grown eggplants are now sold for $3, which means $1 for each eggplant. Previously, for the same price, a consumer could have purchased double the quantity of what is sold nowadays.

The Consumer Council CEO Seema Shandil is urging farmers, middlemen, and market vendors not to take advantage of this crisis to deceive consumers and profiteers.

Meanwhile, Minister for Agriculture Doctor Mahendra Reddy had earlier said the ministry knows that there is a shortage of vegetable supply in the last 4 weeks and the supply issue will remain going forward as heavy rain and flooding will affect the flowering of vegetables.

Doctor Reddy had told Fijivillage News that the Agriculture Marketing Authority will move in again to bulk buy vegetables at the borders in Suva as serious concerns continue to be raised on the exorbitant prices.

He says the ministry is conducting its own survey and they hope to make further announcements soon.




Decision on Suva lockdown and school holidays will be based on ensuring the protection of all Fijians - Dr Waqainabete

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 15/04/2020
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

The government is conducting it’s daily review on the control of the spread of COVID-19 before making the final decision on whether the Suva lockdown will be extended and whether school holidays will be further extended.

Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says all lives matter and the government will ensure they protect all Fijians when they make the decision.

Doctor Waqainabete says everyone needs to work hand in hand and every individual has to play their part. He says not practising social distancing or violating the Public Health Act does not help anyone.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has already made it clear that the Suva lockdown which is scheduled to be lifted on Friday morning, can and will easily be extended if the government is not satisfied with the number of Fijians screened by the mobile health teams and fever clinics. Bainimarama says by tomorrow, they plan to screen over 150,000 people but to do so, people’s cooperation is key.

Bainimarama says in addition to the mobile screening teams, the fever clinics across the country have seen over 5,000 men, women and children come in to get a check-up.

The medical workers at the clinics will be able to tell you if you need further testing, whether that’s for COVID, or other viruses like the common cold, flu or dengue.

Bainimarama says globally, COVID-19 is one of the most devastating killers in generations, with deaths rising past 100,000.

He says to some people in Fiji, those tragedies may seem distant but they are not a world away.

Right here in the Pacific, COVID-19 has taken the lives of five people in Guam, nine in New Zealand, and 61 in Australia.

Bainimarama says if this virus spirals into an epidemic in Fiji, you or someone you love could all too easily be counted among the victims.

The Prime Minister says coronavirus comes with many unknowns but around the world, it is clear that physical distancing is the only strategy proven to beat COVID-19.

He says some countries thought they had the virus under control and went so far as to relax restrictions.

Sadly, they’ve seen case numbers flare back up.

Bainimarama says Fiji cannot risk those same mistakes.

He says Fiji acted early to squash the spread of the virus. Bainimarama says they shut our borders to high-risk countries, they closed nightclubs, gyms, swimming pools and banned contact sports.

He says the government has extended school holidays, a stay-at-home order is in place unless Fijians have life-sustaining reasons to travel and the nationwide curfew is in effect from 8pm to 5am.

He says day by day, these directives are helping win the war against this virus but any success in this campaign won’t mean a thing if the measures lift even one day too early.

Bainimarama says these rules certainly won’t count for anything if Fijians carelessly dismiss them.

He says these measures cannot relent and neither can our willingness to do the right thing.

He stresses to people not to go outside for no good reason, not to needlessly socialise, not to meet up for grog sessions and get a shock when you find yourself behind bars.

Bainimarama says use time at home with your families to think about what really matters –– care for our country and love for each other.

He says let us draw strength from that compassion; strength that can sustain us through the days, weeks and months it will take to overcome this challenge.




Once you come out to a place considered public it is a breach of curfew - COMPOL

By Semi Turaga
Wednesday 15/04/2020
Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho stresses that if people are moving around within their own compounds then it is not a breach of the curfew but once you come out to a place that is considered public then it is a breach.

He says a public place is one that is considered accessible to others.

Qiliho has also clarified that Tevita Ubitau who claims he was arrested for smoking at the stairs of his home was arrested at a domain outside the parametres of what was considered the boundaries of his home where he resided.

The Police Commissioner says Ubitau was found sitting along a common driveway which therefore constitutes as a breach of curfew.

The 24-year-old man was sentenced to seven months imprisonment which was suspended for two years.




2 Hindu priests and a Turaga Ni Koro were among 16 people who appeared in Nausori Magistrates Court

By Dhanjay Deo
Wednesday 15/04/2020

Two Hindu priests and a Turaga Ni Koro were among 16 people that appeared in the Nausori Magistrates Court for failure to comply with orders under the Public Health Act.

Their offences are related to social gathering and curfew and lockdown violations.

Nausori Magistrate Tomasi Bainivalu has fined 14 people $1,000 each and has released them on $500 cash bail.

The 14 are priest of Nukumoto Rewa, Ritu Raj Maharaj, handyman of Verata, Mukesh Chand, Sunil Dutt Sharma of Verata, contractor of Verata, Praveen Kumar, taxi driver of Verata, Harishek Raj, Panel Beater of Baulevu, Nabinesh Dutt, priest of Baulevu, Arvind Maharaj, taxi driver of Verata, Sanjanesh Nand, farmer of Verata Village, Samuela Bulivakarua, farmer of Koronivia, Nausori, Samuela Bavoro and four farmers of Naimalavau Village in Tailevu, Luke Batikolikoli, Navitilai Naivalutubau, Metuisela Ame and Mesake Dravo.

The Turaga Ni Koro of Na-uouo Village in Ovalau, Mataiasi Dakuitoga and a farmer, Rupeni Seru have also been released on cash bail of $1,000.




Most people still drinking grog with those they don't live with

By Semi Turaga
Wednesday 15/04/2020
[Photo:Fiji Police Force]

Police have confirmed that most of the 88 arrests for social gathering breaches in the last 24 hours were people found drinking grog with people they do not live with.

The Northern Division recorded 39 of the 88 arrests on social gathering breaches while the Eastern Division recorded 20 cases.

There were 13 cases each of social gathering breaches in the Western and Southern Divisions while the Central Division recorded 3 cases.

A total of 106 arrests were made in the last 24 hours.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says fourteen of those arrested were juveniles who allegedly breached both curfew and social gathering restrictions.

Curfew breaches accounted for 18 arrests, with the East recording 11 with 5 in the South and 2 in the Western Division.

From 20th March to 14th April, there have been 1,329 arrests by Police for social gatherings, curfew, self quarantine and lockdown breaches under the Public Health Act. Ten people were arrested for offences under the Public Order Act which includes malicious posts on social media.




106 arrested last night for breach of COVID-19 restrictions

By Semi Turaga
Wednesday 15/04/2020
[Photo:Fiji Police Force]

106 arrests were made in the last 24 hours with 88 arrests for social gathering breaches.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says fourteen of those arrested were juveniles who allegedly breached both curfew and social gathering restrictions.

The Northern Division recorded 39 of the 88 arrests while the Eastern Division recorded 20 cases, the West and Southern Divisions recorded 13 cases each and Central Division recorded 3 cases.

Curfew breaches accounted for 18 arrests, with the East recorded 11 with 5 in the South and 2 in the Western Division.




10 COVID-19 tests last night, all return negative - Dr Waqainabete

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 15/04/2020
Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete

All ten COVID-19 tests done last night at the Fiji Centres for Disease Control have come back negative.

Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete has given this confirmation in a brief to Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama this morning.

Fiji still has 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The last confirmed case was announced on Good Friday.




Suva Lockdown can and will easily be extended if enough people are not screened - PM

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 14/04/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has made it clear that the Suva lockdown which is scheduled to be lifted on Friday morning, can and will easily be extended if the government is not satisfied with the number of Fijians screened by the mobile health teams and fever clinics.

Bainimarama says this week, they have massively stepped up fever screening in the Suva confined area.

He says the mobile teams have been equipped with new thermal guns and scanners.

The Prime Minister says by Thursday, they plan to screen over 150,000 people but to do so, people’s cooperation is key.

He says it only takes a few moments to have your temperature checked so please, cooperate with the medical teams when they visit your home.

Bainimarama says in addition to the mobile screening teams, the fever clinics across the country have seen over 5,000 men, women and children come in to get a check-up.

The medical workers at these clinics will be able to tell you if you need further testing, whether that’s for COVID, or other viruses like the common cold, flu or dengue.

Bainimarama says globally, COVID-19 is one of the most devastating killers in generations, with deaths rising past 100,000.

He says to some people in Fiji, those tragedies may seem distant but they are not a world away.

Right here in the Pacific, COVID-19 has taken the lives of five people in Guam, nine in New Zealand, and 61 in Australia.

Bainimarama says if this virus spirals into an epidemic in Fiji, you or someone you love could all too easily be counted among the victims.

The Prime Minister says coronavirus comes with many unknowns but around the world, it is clear that physical distancing is the only strategy proven to beat COVID-19.

He says some countries thought they had the virus under control and went so far as to relax restrictions.

Sadly, they’ve seen case numbers flare back up.

Bainimarama says Fiji cannot risk those same mistakes.

He says Fiji acted early to squash the spread of the virus.

Bainimarama says they shut our borders to high-risk countries, they closed nightclubs, gyms, swimming pools and banned contact sports.

He says the government has extended school holidays, a stay-at-home order is in place unless Fijians have life-sustaining reasons to travel and the nationwide curfew is in effect from 8pm to 5am.

He says day by day, these directives are helping win the war against this virus but any success in this campaign won’t mean a thing if the measures lift even one day too early.

Bainimarama says these rules certainly won’t count for anything if Fijians carelessly dismiss them.

He says these measures cannot relent and neither can our willingness to do the right thing.

He stresses to people not to go outside for no good reason, not to needlessly socialise, not to meet up for grog sessions and get a shock when you find yourself behind bars.

Bainimarama says use time at home with your families to think about what really matters –– care for our country and love for each other.

He says let us draw strength from that compassion; strength that can sustain us through the days, weeks and months it will take to overcome this challenge.

Any civil servant or employee of statutory bodies of government companies should be dismissed if they are convicted of violating COVID-19 directive - PM 

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama believes that any civil servant or employee of statutory bodies and government commercial companies should be dismissed if they are convicted of violating the government’s COVID-19 health protection directives.

Bainimarama says he is extremely disappointed to hear the news that a civil servant was arrested over the weekend for a curfew violation.

He says let’s remember, no civil servant or any employee of statutory bodies and government-owned commercial companies has received a pay cut.

The Prime Minister says let’s also remember, these Fijians are mandated by the Constitution to adhere to high standards of professionalism and integrity, and faithfully implement Fiji’s laws.

He says in the COVID-19 Response Budget, the government recommended that he, his ministers and assistant ministers and all members of parliament take a 20% pay cut in solidarity with the Fijians suffering COVID-19’s economic ramifications.

Bainimarama says they did so because they are prepared to lead by example and with compassion.

He says they did so because when Fijians look to him and other elected officials, they deserve to see examples worth striving to follow.

The Prime Minister says that same level of responsibility applies to any member of any organisation funded by the taxpayers of Fiji.

6 individuals from Nabua Settlement will be held accountable for their irresponsibility – PM

The Prime Minister says the six individuals in Nabua who broke compulsory quarantine over the weekend, have been tracked down and each will be held accountable for their irresponsibility.

These six individuals had earlier left the quarantined area at Nabua Muslim League Settlement.

Voreqe Bainimarama says the government’s present COVID-19 response is heavily targeted at three areas at high-risk of local transmission: the Nabua Settlement in Suva, the Soasoa settlement in the North, and Fijians under supervised quarantine in Nadi after returning from overseas.

He says in total, 252 Fijians who returned home from overseas are in government-funded facilities for 14 days of supervised quarantine.

They are being closely monitored for flu-like symptoms and tested if necessary.

Bainimarama says any Fijian who returns home goes straight to one of these facilities, no exceptions.

Of the 649 COVID-19 tests to date, Fiji’s total confirmed cases continue to stand 16, and all of these patients are in stable condition.

However, none have been cleared of the virus as yet.




People living in the same house can have grog sessions or drinking parties - Qiliho

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 14/04/2020
Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho stresses that people who are being arrested for having grog sessions or drinking parties at home are those people who are having sessions with others from outside.

Qiliho says from a legal perspective, people living in the same house can have grog sessions or drinking parties. He says under the law, it only becomes a public gathering when a visitor joins the session.

This follows questions raised by people on whether members of the same household can drink grog or have a drinking party in their own home.

Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete has already stressed from a health perspective that people should practise safe hygiene to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It has also been stressed not to share the bilo.

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama earlier announced that from the 3rd of April, social gatherings have been banned entirely, everywhere in Fiji.

Bainimarama said that the 20 person limit now applies only to the workplace.

He has said that two people, three people, it doesn’t matter – no more social gatherings.

The Prime Minister also stressed to people not to have visitors over to their homes. He says your interactions should be limited entirely to those already living in your households. The Prime Minister says if you are missing a friend or loved one, do the safe thing and call them on the phone.

He says if you need to walk around or exercise you may do so, but keep a safe distance of two metres from other people while outside.




Thermal cameras to be installed around Suva - Dr Waqainabete

By Vijay Narayan, Iva Danford
Tuesday 14/04/2020
Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete

Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete confirms that they are planning to have thermal cameras around Suva as work continues to control the spread of COVID-19 in Fiji and to ensure that the current patients are treated well.

All the 16 confirmed COVID-19 patients in Fiji are in stable condition and none of them need a ventilator.

Doctor Waqainabete says they have done very well to prevent Fijians from needing a ventilator.

He says data suggests that if anyone with COVID-19 gets on a ventilator, an average of 50 percent of them don’t make it.

Doctor Waqainabete says they have to make sure these patients are in a comfortable environment and feel at home.

He says this is done so these patients would not want to get out of the facilities.

All 6 COVID-19 tests done last night have come back negative.

Doctor Waqainabete confirmed this to Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama this morning.

The last confirmed positive case was announced on Good Friday.

650 people have been tested so far by the Fiji Centres for Disease Control in Tamavua.


100,000 Fijians need to be screened for the Health Ministry to be able to give the policy advice to lift the Suva lockdown

The Health Ministry is aiming to screen more than 100,000 Fijians in the Suva containment area by Thursday evening to be able to give the policy advice to lift the lockdown.

Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says they have more staff on the ground now and have screened 38,600 Fijians so far.

Doctor Waqainabete says when this is done by Thursday evening, they would like to say that they have looked thoroughly as much as they can and they know that there is no community transmission of COVID-19.

He says the Ministry is looking at forming more than 50 medical teams to ensure that they cover the whole of Suva area. They currently have 30 teams.

Doctor Waqainabete says they also have assistance from the RFMF and Police.

The Minister is pleading with people to allow Health officials in the Suva containment area to fully conduct their screenings so that they are able to flush out this virus.

He says they had screened more than 59,000 Fijians in Lautoka before they were happy to give the policy advice to be able to lift the lockdown.




6 COVID-19 tests last night, all return negative - Dr Waqainabete

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 14/04/2020
Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete

All 6 COVID-19 tests done last night have come back negative.

Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete has confirmed this to Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama this morning.

There are 16 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Fiji.

The last confirmed positive case was announced on Good Friday.




6 individuals from Nabua Settlement will be held accountable for their irresponsibility – PM

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 14/04/2020
Nabua Settlement

The Prime Minister says the six individuals in Nabua who broke compulsory quarantine over the weekend, have been tracked down and each will be held accountable for their irresponsibility.

These six individuals had earlier left the quarantined area at Nabua Muslim League Settlement.

Voreqe Bainimarama says the government’s present COVID-19 response is heavily targeted at three areas at high-risk of local transmission: the Nabua Settlement in Suva, the Soasoa settlement in the North, and Fijians under supervised quarantine in Nadi after returning from overseas.

He says in total, 252 Fijians who returned home from overseas are in government-funded facilities for 14 days of supervised quarantine.

They are being closely monitored for flu-like symptoms and tested if necessary.

Bainimarama says any Fijian who returns home goes straight to one of these facilities, no exceptions.

Of the 649 COVID-19 tests to date, Fiji’s total confirmed cases continue to stand 16, and all of these patients are in stable condition. However, none have been cleared of the virus as yet.




Any civil servant or employee of statutory bodies of government companies should be dismissed if they are convicted of violating COVID-19 directive - PM

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 14/04/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama believes that any civil servant or employee of statutory bodies and government commercial companies should be dismissed if they are convicted of violating the government’s COVID-19 health protection directives.

Bainimarama says he is extremely disappointed to hear the news that a civil servant was arrested over the weekend for a curfew violation.

He says let’s remember, no civil servant or any employee of statutory bodies and government-owned commercial companies has received a pay cut.

The Prime Minister says let’s also remember, these Fijians are mandated by the Constitution to adhere to high standards of professionalism and integrity, and faithfully implement Fiji’s laws.

He says in the COVID-19 Response Budget, the government recommended that he, his ministers and assistant ministers and all members of parliament take a 20% pay cut in solidarity with the Fijians suffering COVID-19’s economic ramifications.

Bainimarama says they did so because they are prepared to lead by example and with compassion.

He says they did so because when Fijians look to him and other elected officials, they deserve to see examples worth striving to follow.

The Prime Minister says that same level of responsibility applies to any member of any organisation funded by the taxpayers of Fiji.




$8.36M paid out by FNPF and government so far through the COVID-19 withdrawal assistance

By Iva Danford
Tuesday 14/04/2020
FNPF Chief Executive Officer Jaoji Koroi

A total of $8.36 million has been paid out so far by the Fiji National Provident Fund and government through the COVID-19 withdrawal assistance.

FNPF Chief Executive Officer, Jaoji Koroi says $1.22 million has been paid by government and $7.14 million has been paid by the Fund.

Koroi says out of the 10,670 members who have accessed their funds for COVID-19 assistance, 2,778 have been assisted by government.

He says while processing continues, the Fund is appealing to members to ensure their forms are completed correctly.

Koroi says out of the applications that have been received, a total of 2,431 were queried due to members not signing the forms, employers didn’t sign or stamp the form; incomplete form; members not submitting the requirements with their completed applications and employers not submitting required documents with the members’ application forms.

The CEO has also pleaded with members to be patient because there is a huge volume of applications and teams are trying their best to process these withdrawals for COVID-19, however, there are delays that are beyond their control.

He says members can be rest assured that their applications will be processed if they are eligible and the processing time for COVID-19 applications is 5 to 7 working days but could be longer due to the reasons highlighted.





Police are now increasing visibility in densely populated areas in the Central Division

By Dhanjay Deo
Tuesday 14/04/2020
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

Police are now increasing visibility in a number of densely populated areas in the Central Division like Nadawa.

Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho says this step is being taken as a lot of youths have been seen playing volleyball and rugby and engaging in other activities where they are not practicing physical distancing.

We received some calls this afternoon that a number of police vehicles and officers were seen in Nadawa.




37 fever clinics operational around the country

By Iva Danford
Tuesday 14/04/2020
Fever clinics

All the 37 fever clinics around the country are now operational seven days a week from 8am to 4pm at strategic locations.

Health Ministry say during Tropical Cyclone Harold, all preventative measures were taken to ensure Fever clinics were not damaged.

The Ministry say it is vital for these fever clinics to be operational again, as they are key in identifying potential COVID-19 cases.

Ministry of Health has also encouraged members of the public to visit a Fever clinic if they are developing any symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

At the Fever clinic, Fijians will have their temperature taken and symptoms checked.

The symptoms of COVID-19 are a dry cough, fever and sore throat.

Fijians will also be asked for travel history and other questions relevant to identifying a suspected COVID-19 case.

Health Care Workers will then decide which individuals will be referred for further testing and those to be referred to health centres for common colds and other ailments.

Early presentation of suspected COVID-19 symptoms and identification of positive cases at fever clinics will put a stop to local transmission of the virus.




FSC announces pay cuts for all employees due to COVID-19

By Dhanjay Deo
Tuesday 14/04/2020
CEO Graham Clark

The Fiji Sugar Corporation has announced cost-cutting measures including Leave Without Pay for some staff and pay cuts for all employees after assessing the risks and impact of COVID-19.

CEO Graham Clark says there will be a pay cut ranging from a minimum of 15% for executive management, 7.5% for staff officers and 5% for all non-staff employees.

He says the administration and support roles have been reviewed and for an initial period of four months, the unpaid leave will be introduced for some 130 employees identified across all operations.

Clark adds that retirement and employment contract expiry will be implemented as these falls due.

He says these matters have been discussed and shared with the leadership of all FSC employee affiliated unions.

Clark says they are also taking these actions to ensure they can start their 2020 crushing season in June as planned for minimum impact on the sugarcane farmers.




100,000 Fijians need to be screened for the Health Ministry to be able to give the policy advice to lift the Suva lockdown

By Iva Danford
Tuesday 14/04/2020
[Photo:Fiji Police Force]

The Health Ministry is aiming to screen more than 100,000 Fijians in the Suva containment area by Thursday evening to be able to give the policy advice to lift the lockdown.

Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says they have more staff on the ground now and have screened 38,600 Fijians so far.

Doctor Waqainabete says when this is done by Thursday evening, they would like to say that they have looked thoroughly as much as they can and they know that there is no community transmission of COVID-19.

He says the Ministry is looking at forming more than 50 medical teams to ensure that they cover the whole of Suva area. They currently have 30 teams.

Doctor Waqainabete says they also have assistance from the RFMF and Police.

The Minister is pleading with people to allow Health officials in the Suva containment area to fully conduct their screenings so that they are able to flush out this virus.

He says they had screened more than 59,000 Fijians in Lautoka before they were happy to give the policy advice to be able to lift the lockdown.




WHO unclear if recovered coronavirus patients are immune to second infection - WHO

By Semi Turaga
Tuesday 14/04/2020
Executive Director of WHO’s emergency programs Dr Mike Ryan

The World Health Organisation says not all people who recover from the coronavirus have the antibodies to fight a second infection, raising questions as to whether or not patients develop immunity after surviving COVID-19.

The Executive Director of WHO’s emergency programs Dr Mike Ryan says with regards to recovery and then re-infection, they do not have the answers to that adding "That is an unknown”.

WHO’s Lead Scientist on COVID-19 Dr Maria Van Kerkhove said a preliminary study of patients in Shanghai found that some patients had “no detectable antibody response” while others had a very high response.

She says whether the patients that had a strong antibody response were immune to a second infection is “a separate question".

The WHO says there are questions about whether the virus can reactivate after a patient recovers and tests negative for COVID-19.




None of the 16 confirmed COVID-19 patients have needed to use a ventilator

By Iva Danford
Tuesday 14/04/2020
Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete

All the 16 confirmed COVID-19 patients in Fiji are in stable condition and none of them have needed to use a ventilator.

Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says this is because their clinicians on the ground have a game plan on how to look after them to prevent them from using the ventilator.

Waqainabete says data suggests that if anyone with COVID-19 gets on a ventilator, on average, 50 percent of them don’t make it.

He says they have done very well to prevent Fijians from needing a ventilator.

Waqainabete says they have to make sure these patients are in a comfortable environment and feel at home.

He says this is done so these patients would not want to get out of the facilities.

All 6 COVID-19 tests done last night have come back negative.

Doctor Waqainabete confirmed this to Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama this morning.

The last confirmed positive case was announced on Good Friday.




117 people including a police officer arrested for breaching COVID-19 restrictions in the last 24 hours

By Semi Turaga
Tuesday 14/04/2020
[Photo:Fiji Police Force]

117 arrests were made in the last 24 hours for social gathering, lockdown and curfew breaches including a police officer who allegedly failed to adhere to social gathering restrictions.

Of the 117 arrests, 28 were juveniles. Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the Police officer was arrested after he was found playing rugby with a group of youths in Waila yesterday.

Qiliho says the officer will also face their internal disciplinary processes.

Of the 117 cases, the Northern Division recorded 35 cases which were all from social gathering breaches as the officer at the Saqani Police Post arrested a number of people for gathering in numbers and drinking kava.

The Eastern Division recorded 34 cases which include, 28 for social gathering breaches, 3 for curfew breaches and 3 for lockdown breaches.

One of the suspects arrested for the lockdown breach in the Eastern Division allegedly swam from Lokia to Nadali.

The Western Division recorded 30 cases which include 21 for social gathering breaches, 8 for curfew breaches and one for self-quarantine breach.

The case of self-quarantine breach involves a man residing in Nadi who had recently returned from Canada.

The Southern Division recorded 16 reports which include 10 curfew breaches and 6 social gathering breaches.

In the Central Division, there were 2 cases of social gathering breaches.

The curfew hours remain from 8pm to 5am.




133 arrested last night for breach of COVID-19 restrictions

By Iva Danford
Monday 13/04/2020
[Photo:Fiji Police Force]

With a total of 113 arrests made yesterday in breaches of social gathering, curfew and self-quarantine, Police Commissioner has reminded people that social gathering restrictions will also apply for picnic areas.

Sitiveni Qiliho says today is a public holiday and while there will be an urge to meet up with families and friends or even go out for a picnic, people must be reminded that the social gathering restrictions remain and this will also apply for picnic areas.

Qiliho says a worrying trend has been noted for the Western Division since the lifting of lockdown restrictions, with the high number of social gathering and curfew breach arrests made in recent days.

He says the Western Division recorded the highest number of social gathering breaches with 44 reports and the highest number of curfew breaches with 12 arrests.

Qiliho says the level of complacency is worrying and we must reiterate the importance of practicing all necessary precautionary measures as advised by the Ministry of Health whether you are in a lockdown area or not.

He says the Southern and Eastern Divisions both recorded 22 social gathering breaches reports.

Qiliho says there was also 7 reports of curfew breaches in the Southern and 3 in the Eastern Division.

He says there were 88 cases of breach of social gathering while 23 cases were for curfew breaches.

He says Fijians cannot afford to be complacent as we are not out of the woods yet.

The Commissioner is urging people to not let their guard down and continue to treat every person as a possible COVID-19 carrier.




Nausori Magistrates Court hands down $2,000 fine each to 11 people for breaching the COVID-19 curfew and social gathering restrictions

By Vijay Narayan
Sunday 12/04/2020
Police moving out to rural communities in spreading awareness on precautionary COVID-19 measures. [Fiji Police]

The Nausori Magistrates Court has handed down $2,000 fine each to 11 people for breaching the COVID-19 curfew and social gathering restrictions under the Public Order Act, and if these 11 people are in default of 3 months then they will have to spend time in prison.

A Nakasi man has been fined $1,000 and will face time in prison if he does not pay the fine while another man has to do 2 months community work at a police station.

24-year-old Wame Niutamata, 25-year-old Kitione Rokovasa, 23-year-old Semi Qaniuci, 25-year-old Mitieli Baleiwai and 28-year-old Josaia Sukaloa who are all farmers of Kasavu have each been fined $2,000 for breaching the lawful order. The court will review if the fine is being paid on the 21st of May. If in default of 3 months, these people will spend time in prison.

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K9 unit was deployed last night in the greater Suva area to ensure restrictions are followed by the public. [image: Fiji Police]

49-year-old taxi driver from Vuci Road, Salen Kumar, 27-year-old panel beater from Kuku, Suresh Chand, 50-year-old panel beater from Kuku, Michael Vikash and 50-year-old auto electrician from Naduru, Anil Chand have also been fined $2,000 each for breaching the order.

In another case 48-year-old mechanic from Waimaro, Baljeet Singh and 28-year-old farmhand from Tailevu, Sevanaia Rarokoliwa have also been fined $2000 each.

Fijivillage has also received confirmation that 26-year-old farmer of Taivou Settlement in Naitasiri, Avete Tavitavinavula has been found guilty of breaching the order and he has to do community work at Vunidawa Police Station for 60 days from 8am to 11am Monday to Friday. This will be reviewed by the court on the 21st of May.

Meanwhile on Friday, 29-year-old machine operator of Davuilevu Housing in Nakasi, Osea Nabulivou was fined $1,000 by the Nausori Magistrates Court for breaching the order. If in default of 3 months, he will have to spend time in prison. The case has been adjourned to the 7th of May for review of fine payment.

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4,773 households screened by mobile fever clinics in greater Suva area

By Violet Matakibau
Monday 13/04/2020
[Photo: Ministry of Health]

4,773 households have been screened by mobile fever clinics in the greater Suva area since its inception on the 6th of April.

The Head of the Mobile Fever Clinic Project Dr Semiti Vakabua says this is about 24,826 individuals.

Dr Vakabua is pleading with members of the public to tie up their dogs and keep an eye out for the health officials.

[Photo: Ministry of Health]

He adds the teams will check if family members have any flu-like symptoms and if they have any travel history.

Dr.Vakabua is urging people to spare a thought for those in the front line who are working around the clock and are under tremendous pressure to keep Fijians protected.

He says that the fever clinic teams are being accompanied by members of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces adding that the health officials will be carrying their ID cars.

They will conduct Mobile fever clinics in the areas around Cunningham and Khalsa rd today.




Overseas based rugby player to appear in court today for allegedly breaching self-quarantine

By Rashika Kumar
Monday 13/04/2020

An overseas-based Fijian rugby player who allegedly breached self-quarantine has been charged and will be produced in the Nadi Magistrates Court today.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the accused was arrested after he completed the mandatory self-quarantine process and was cleared by Health Officials.

He has been charged with one count of failure to comply with an order under the Public Health Act.




COVID-19 pandemic and TC Harold has brought our nation to its knees - Rabuka

By Naveel Krishant
Saturday 11/04/2020
Leader of Opposition, Sitiveni Rabuk

Leader of Opposition, Sitiveni Rabuka says the two extraordinary events, the COVID-19 pandemic and Severe Tropical Cyclone Harold has brought our nation to its knees.

In his Easter Message, Rabuka says those suffering disproportionately include the vulnerable members of our community including the elderly, the sick, the poor and those who are unemployed and their families.

Rabuka says in the aftermath of TC Harold, more of our citizens are homeless and traumatised and it falls on those of us who are able to help them, to do our best, where we can, to come together as a nation and to help them.

He says let us continue to fast and pray for those who have lost their homes, those injured by TC Harold, for the breadwinners who have lost their jobs, and those who are sick including those with COVID-19, those in isolation and quarantine and those at risk as well as their families.

The Leader of Opposition adds let us also keep in our prayers the doctors, nurses, medical personnel on the frontline of the war against COVID-19, as well as the emergency and rehabilitation service personnel leading the rehabilitation effort for TC Harold, and the police and military personnel implementing the lockdown and curfew to protect us all against COVID-19.

Rabuka further says we must reach out to those in need this Easter and beyond, let us all give generously to those who are suffering.

He says we must continue to pray that all our national leaders rise to the challenge and come together for the promotion of unity and shared responsibility.

Rabuka further adds our Easter celebration this year is very different as public worship is suspended and we are confined to our homes.

He says this is an act of love to protect our families, our community and our nation against the threat of the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Rabuka says we must not lose hope, instead we must reaffirm our belief in the eternal hope of resurrection which is the message of Easter.




Calls made for harsh fines and sentences to ensure that people do not continue to breach COVID-19 restrictions

By Vijay Narayan, Rashika Kumar, Naveel Krishant
Sunday 12/04/2020
Police operations carried out last night to ensure the Public Health Act and curfew measures followed. [image: Fiji Police]

As the fight against the spread of COVID-19 continues in the country, questions continue to arise on what can be done to ensure that there are strong deterrent measures in place and those who are breaching the Public Health Act and curfew measures are dealt with severely.

Calls are being made for higher bail amounts, harsher fines and sentences to ensure that people get the message that they cannot get away with breaching the rules and just have $200 bail or no conviction being recorded. Many people who are making this call say these are abnormal times where people breaching the curfew and lockdown restrictions, are putting people’s lives at risk.

The magistrate's courts around the country are now dealing with an influx of cases relating to these breaches.

Fiji had the highest number of arrests for breaches in 24 hours over the weekend since the curfew started.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says as the global COVID-19 death toll surpasses 100,000 in what has been described as a grim landmark, it is astounding to see the level of ignorance by a group of selfish people who have shown they lack good sense and judgement and are blatantly disregarding life-saving health advisories.

Qiliho says the 193 people arrested in the 24 hour period is a classic example of the selfish group of people that authorities continue to talk about that are risking the lives of their families and loved ones by leaving their homes, breaching curfew hours and choosing to mingle with potential COVID-19 carriers over yaqona and drinking sessions, without realizing that a few hours of fun could result in days and weeks of suffering for their loved ones when they take the virus back into their homes.

139 people were arrested for social gathering breaches, 53 arrests for curfew breaches and 1 arrest for breach of lockdown restrictions.

The Western Division recorded 58 social gathering breaches as people were still found gathering in numbers for kava or drinking sessions.

The Eastern Division recorded 30 social gathering breaches mostly in rural areas, 27 in the South which included arrests on Vanuabalavu, 18 in the Central Division and six 6 in the North.

Curfew breaches accounted for 53 arrests and the Eastern Division recorded 30 arrests, 13 in the South, 6 in the West, 3 in the North and 1 in the Central Division.

The Police Commissioner says keep in mind that any assembly of individuals as defined in the Public Health Act is considered a gathering.

He adds therefore if you are intending to invite even one or two people over to your home or plan to meet others for a social gathering then you are breaching the COVID-19 restrictions.

Qiliho further says they also have the support of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces who are assisting them with the arrests of COVID-19 restriction breaches.

He adds the checkpoints will remain throughout today and officers will strictly monitor movement throughout Fiji.

Qiliho says the message is simple, stay home.

The Police Commissioner also says unless you need to run to the shops to pick up groceries and urgent supplies, stay home.

He adds unless it is an emergency situation, stay home.

Qiliho says with today being a public holiday they do not expect a lot of movement and if people are found moving around without a valid reason, people should be prepared to spend their Sunday in Police custody as they have issued enough warnings.

However, there are worrying signs on the number of people still not following the curfew and lockdown restrictions - people still blatantly staying out drinking kava and alcohol, while others are not adhering to the self-quarantine directives.

In Nausori, at least three people have received $2,000 fine each from the court therefor breaches while one person has been told to do community work for 60 days at a Police Station. Failure to pay the fine would see the people serving 3 months in prison.

In Suva, Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili decided to exercise his powers and will not be entering the conviction for 5 university students who were found guilty for gathering in Laucala Bay and consuming alcohol.


Tongan students Ioane Moala and Manu Makuhoa and Fijian students Nicholas Arnold Prakash, Ronald Ritik Kumar and Shiv Anand pleaded guilty to a charge each of failure to comply with order under the Public Health Act.

They were drinking alcohol on the 11th of April in a flat at Laucala Bay.

The Chief Magistrate has ordered the 5 University of the South Pacific students to pay a fine of $200 each within a month and failure to pay the fine will result in the 5 in spending 20 days in prison.

Chief Magistrate Ratuvili also released each student on $500 bail. The five must reside at their address and report at Raiwaqa Police Station every Saturday between 8am and 5pm.

The case has been adjourned to the 11th of May.

Vijay N/Naveel/Rashika

Radio announcer appears for allegedly posting on facebook to stone Police vehicles
By: Rashika Kumar

Alisi Koroi 

Fijian Broadcasting Corporation announcer Alisi Koroi who is charged with one count of Malicious Act for allegedly posting comments on social media calling on people to stone vehicles during curfew hours has been remanded in custody by the Suva Magistrates Court.

It is alleged that between 7th and 8th April in Suva 24-year-old Koroi endeavored to disturb public peace by posting on her Facebook page to stone vehicles during curfew hours in the iTaukei language.

Police Prosecutor Sergeant Ravi Kumar objected to bail stating that the accused is a public figure and a lot of people follow her on social media.

He told the court that in stating that people should throw stones at police vehicles, she was putting the lives of those who protect her and other people at risk.

Sergeant Kumar also told the court that the case is of national interest as Koroi is a public figure.

Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili has ordered the accused to file a proper bail application through her Legal Aid lawyer. The case has been adjourned to the 20th of April.


Chief Magistrate fines Samabula man $200 for going out to buy cigarettes during the curfew

Police prosecutor calls for $2000 fine as the state is incurring huge cost to maintain law

BY: Rashika Kumar

mallet-new-sm


A 27 year old man charged with one count of failure to comply with orders of curfew under the Public Health Act has been fined $200 by the Suva Magistrate Court for buying a packet of cigarettes.

It is alleged that Samabula resident Masikesa Tomu left his home during the curfew to purchase a packet of cigarettes.

Police Prosecutor Sergeant Ravi Kumar told the court that a severe fine of $2,000 is warranted as the crime is of a serious nature.

He also told the court that the state is incurring a huge cost to maintain law.

Chief Magistrate Usaia Ratuvili has ordered Tomu to pay the fine of $200 within a month and if he is unable to do so, he will be imprisoned for 20 days.

He also told Tomu that a packet of cigarettes has now cost him $200.

The case has been adjourned to the 23th of June.

In a separate case, Samabula resident, 25-year-old Lui Naiyaku has been found guilty as he is charged with one count of failure to comply with orders of curfew under the Public Health Act.

He was standing on Lakeba Street during the hours of the curfew.

Naiyaku has also been ordered to pay a fine of $200 within a month and if unable to do so, he will be imprisoned for 20 days.

The case has been adjourned to the 23rd of June.

Meanwhile, 42 people were produced in the Suva Magistrates Court today for not adhering to laws in relation to COVID-19.




193 arrested last night for breach of COVID-19 restrictions

By Naveel Krishant
Sunday 12/04/2020
Police operations carried out last night. [image: Fiji Police]

193 arrests were made last night as people continue to breach the COVID-19 restrictions.

139 people were arrested for social gathering breaches, 53 arrests for curfew breaches and 1 arrest for breach of lockdown restrictions.

The Western Division recorded 58 social gathering breaches as people were still found gathering in numbers for kava or drinking sessions.

The Eastern Division recorded 30 social gathering breaches mostly in rural areas, 27 in the South which included arrests on Vanuabalavu, 18 in the Central Division and six 6 in the North.

Curfew breaches accounted for 53 arrests and the Eastern Division recorded 30 arrests, 13 in the South, 6 in the West, 3 in the North and 1 in the Central Division.


It is astounding to see the level of ignorance by a group of selfish people - Qiliho

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says as the global COVID-19 death toll surpasses the 100,000 in what has been described as a grim landmark, it is astounding to see the level of ignorance by a group of selfish people who have shown they lack good sense and judgement and are blatantly disregarding life saving health advisories.

Qiliho says the 193 people arrested in the last 24 hour period is a classic example of the selfish group of people that authorities continue to talk about that are risking the lives of their families and loved ones by leaving their homes, breaching curfew hours and choosing to mingle with potential COVID-19 carriers over yaqona and drinking sessions, without realizing that a few hours of fun could result in days and weeks of suffering for their loved ones when they take the virus back into their homes.

The Police Commissioner says keep in mind that any assembly of individuals as defined in the Public Health Act is considered a gathering.

He adds therefore if you are intending to invite even one or two people over to your home or plan to meet others for a social gathering then you are breaching the COVID-19 restrictions.

Qiliho further says they also have the support of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces who are assisting them with the arrests of COVID-19 restriction breaches.

He adds the checkpoints will remain throughout today and officers will strictly monitor movement throughout Fiji.

Qiliho says the message is simple, stay home.

The Police Commissioner also says unless you need to run to the shops to pick up groceries and urgent supplies, stay home.

He adds unless it is an emergency situation, stay home.

Qiliho says with today being Sunday they do not expect a lot of movement and if people are found moving around without a valid reason,people should be prepared to spend their Sunday in Police custody as they have issued enough warnings.




Stay home and honour the sacrifices of our healthcare heroes, utility workers, and disciplined forces -PM

By Semi Turaga
Friday 10/04/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has shared a message of love and sacrifice in his Easter message to all Fijians, urging everyone to stay home and honour the sacrifices of our healthcare heroes, utility workers, and disciplined forces.

He says love is the road that leads to hope.

Bainimarama says love grants us the strength to honour service with sacrifice.

He has asked all Fijians to stay home, keep the children and the elderly home at all times, and respect our nationwide curfew.

Bainimarama says because by loving one another and sacrificing for each other today, we all will share in the hope of a brighter tomorrow.

For the first time in Fiji, thousands of Christians are spending the Easter holiday at home with their families.

The traditional large congregation sermons have been replaced with live-streamed services.

Today, families sat around a laptop and people also individually watched sermons on their mobile phones as many denominations streamed sermons on their social media pages due to the restrictions put in place to stop the COVID-19 outbreak.

Capture

Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and is observed as a day of sorrow for all Christians.




150 arrests made for breaches of COVID-19 restrictions

By Naveel Krishant
Saturday 11/04/2020
Police conducting checks at a checkpoint [image: Fiji Police]

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says people are still moving around with the sole intention of breaching the COVID-19 restrictions which is evident as 99 arrests were made for social gathering breaches, 49 curfew breaches and 2 arrests were made for malicious comments posted on social media in the last 24 hours.

The total arrests in the last 24 hours were 150.

48 people were arrested in the Western Division, 35 in the Southern, 13 in the Central and 3 in the Eastern Division for social gathering breaches.

Qiliho says the Eastern Division recorded the highest number of curfew breaches with 21 arrests, there were 17 arrests in the Southern Division and 11 in the West.




60-year-old woman fined $500 for not self-isolating

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Friday 10/04/2020

The 60-year-old woman who breached mandatory self-quarantine measures after returning from the US has been fined $500 by the Suva Magistrates Court.

Susana Burenivalu pleaded guilty to one count of failure to comply with an order under the Public Health Act.

Burenivalu turned up to the Registrar of Marriages Office in Suva last month requesting to urgently get married.

It was then discovered that she returned from the USA on 23rd March as per her travel itinerary and was supposed to be under self-isolation.

The woman was arrested after completing self-quarantine.




6 families refused to be screened for COVID-19 symptoms

By Semi Turaga
Friday 10/04/2020
Health Minister Doctor Infereimi Waqainabete

Six families have already refused to be screened since community screening for symptoms of COVID-19 in the greater Suva area started this week.

Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says they were told in their briefing that 6,000 Fijians in the greater Suva area have already been screened.

Dr. Waqainabete says this has been done extensively in the Lautoka lockdown area where nearly 60,000 Fijians have been visited and have had their temperatures checked and their travel history taken in their own homes.

He says it is slightly disappointing to hear that there have been six families that have refused the Ministry of Health personnel to enter, take their temperature and talk to them as part of the screening program.

The Health Minister adds their personnel have gone again yesterday to talk to them because they must screen as much as they can.

Waqainabete says people also have to mindful of the fact that under the Public Health Act there are powers and regulations given to the Permanent Secretary and Minister for Health to make sure that they protect the health of all Fijians.




COVID-19 patient 1, 2 and 5 re-tested and results came back positive

By Shanil Singh
Friday 10/04/2020
Minister for Health Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete

Minister for Health, Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete says that they have tested Fiji’s first second and fifth confirmed cases of COVID-19 again and all results have come back positive.

Dr. Waqainabete says this suggests that the virus lingers for quite a bit of time despite patients showing signs of progress.

He says the criteria is to test the patients after 21 days but they have decided to test them earlier just to see if they are negative but the results have come back positive.

He adds that all patients are currently in stable condition.

Dr. Waqainabete also says that after the first 70,000 cases China revealed a report which has been helpful for all other countries in their preparations for COVID-19.

He says they have had the opportunity to do that as well within whatever data that they have.




European Union to mobilise and redirect FJD295M to respond to COVID-19 pandemic in the Pacific

By Semi Turaga
Friday 10/04/2020
EU Ambassador for the Pacific Sujiro Seam

The European Union says it will mobilise and redirect FJD295 million to respond to the coronavirus pandemic in the Pacific.

It says fifteen partner Pacific islands countries and four European overseas countries and territories will benefit from this support.

This assistance by the European Union will focus on strengthening health, water and sanitation systems and their research and preparedness capacities to deal with the pandemic, as well as mitigating its socio-economic impact.

The European Union will announce a detail support programme for the Pacific in the coming days.

The EU Ambassador for the Pacific Sujiro Seam said they recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic requires a global response, based on international cooperation and partnership.

He said they will work with the countries and territories concerned, the international and regional organisations and other development partners to optimize this assistance.




126 arrested for breaching curfew and social gathering restrictions

By Shanil Singh
Friday 10/04/2020
[Photo:Fiji Police Force]

Curfew and social gathering breaches continue to be a concern in the ongoing efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 after 126 people were arrested in the last 24 hours.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says there were 67 arrests for curfew breaches, 56 arrests for social gatherings while one arrest was made for breach of the lockdown.

Qiliho says two arrests were made for breaching quarantine measures in the Western Division where two foreign nationals were arrested at the Nadi Airport after it was discovered they failed to self-quarantine for the mandatory 14-day period.

The Western Division recorded the highest number of curfew and social gathering breaches with 57 arrests, the Southern Division recorded 29 arrests, the Eastern Division recorded 17 arrests, the Northern Division recorded 9 arrests while 11 arrests were made in the Central Division.

Qiliho says these 126 people have shown their families and loved ones that they do not care about their lives.

He says people who intentionally choose to breach the COVID-19 restrictions must be prepared to spend the long weekend in Police custody as enough warnings have been issued.

People that do not follow the 8pm to 5am daily curfew can face up to 2 years imprisonment if they are convicted for Disobedience of Lawful Order.




60-year-old woman to front court for allegedly not self-isolating

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Friday 10/04/2020

A 60-year-old woman who allegedly breached mandatory self-quarantine measures after returning from overseas has been charged and will appear in the Suva Magistrates Court today.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says they were notified when the woman turned up to the Registrar of Marriage Office in Suva last month requesting an urgent procedure of marriage.

He says it was discovered the woman returned from USA on 23rd March as per her travel itinerary and was supposed to be under self-isolation.

The woman was arrested after completing self-quarantine and has been charged with one count of failure to comply with an order under the Public Health Act.




COVID-19: Don’t politicize this virus - Dr. Ghebreyesus

By Semi Turaga
Friday 10/04/2020
Head of the World Health Organisation Doctor Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Don’t politicize this virus!

That is the message from the Head of the World Health Organisation Doctor Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a passionate appeal to world leaders about the fight against COVID-19.

He says COVID-19 exploits the differences countries have at the national level.

The Head of the World Health Organisation Doctor Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus




16 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country

By Semi Turaga
Friday 10/04/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

There are now 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country.

  • Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says there are now 16 cases of COVID-19 in the country.
  • Bainimarama says after testing another 32 people today for COVID-19, they received confirmation of another confirmed case.
  • PM says this latest case is the 9-year-old granddaughter of the man from Soasoa in Labasa.
  • This 9-year-old girl was taken into isolation on 4th April 2020.
  • She initially showed no symptoms but the Health Ministry knew she was high risk. 
  • The test for this 9-year old girl came back positive this morning. 
  • Bainimarama says this is the 6th confirmed case directly related to the man from Soasoa in Labasa.
  • Mobile Fever Clinics in Suva has started.
  • 6,000 Fijians in the greater Suva area have been screened for symptoms of COVID-19. 
  • Health Minister says it's disappointing that there have been families that have refused Health Ministry personnel from entering their homes to be screened. 

There are now 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has confirmed that after testing another 32 samples, they received confirmation of another COVID-19 positive case that they had been anticipating: the 9-year-old granddaughter of the gentleman in Labasa who travelled from India.

He says this young girl lived in Soasoa settlement in Labasa.

Bainimarama adds she has been in isolation since the 4th of April.

The Prime Minister says while she wasn’t showing any symptoms, they knew she had a high risk of being infected given her close contact with her grandfather.

Bainimarama says they had her tested and she was confirmed positive late yesterday morning.

The Prime Minister says this diagnosis takes Fiji’s case total to 16.

He says but given the length of time this young girl spent in isolation, and the fact that she wasn’t showing symptoms, her risk of infecting others is extremely low.

Bainimarama says this is the sixth confirmed case stemming from the gentleman in Labasa and it once again goes to show how long and dangerous a chain of transmission can grow if our public health directives are blatantly ignored.




53 people to front court today for breaching COVID-19 restrictions

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 09/04/2020
Police brave heavy rain to ensure restrictions aren't breached. [Fiji Police]

53 people will front the court today as Police officers continue to make arrests for COVID-19 restriction breaches.

There is some good news as there were no curfew arrests in the Central Division. The bad news is that some people continue to refuse to follow instructions like some people in Lokia who did not want to listen to Police and continued playing rugby while some tried to breach the Nausori border to enter Suva.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says social gathering breaches accounted for 33 arrests, curfew breaches 18 arrests and 2 men aged 18 and 28 years were arrested for breaching the lockdown restrictions after they allegedly tried to get into Suva through the Nausori border.

Qiliho says from the 33 social gathering breaches, a group of 8 youths were arrested after allegedly refusing to disperse after being warned not to play rugby in Lokia yesterday.

The remaining 25 arrests made in the East and Southern divisions where people were found drinking yaqona.

Of the 18 curfew arrests, the west recorded 4, South recorded 11, North recorded 2, East recorded 1 while no arrests were recorded in the Central Division.

Qiliho says it is clear that people are still taking things lightly as seen with the number of arrests even as the nation experienced the impacts of Severe Tropical Cyclone Harold creating more work for officers on the ground.

The Commissioner says TC Harold has passed and we have COVID-19 still here to deal with and we cannot afford to be complacent with a virus that is claiming thousands of lives every 24 hours globally.

Qiliho has told people to stop gambling with their lives and the lives of their loved ones, because when you selfishly leave your home to meet up with others over a tanoa of yaqona or a drinking party, you could be the one responsible for spreading the virus, which is why health officials have and continue to reiterate that everyone should Stay home to Save lives and refrain from gathering in numbers.




US Embassy Suva announces their government’s US$2.3 million commitment to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the Pacific

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 09/04/2020
The US Embassy Suva. [image: fj.usembassy.gov]

The US Embassy Suva has announced their government’s US$2.3 million commitment to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Pacific Islands region.

The United States Government, through USAID, is coordinating with the governments of 12 Pacific Island countries, including Fiji, Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Tonga, Samoa, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu and other stakeholders to identify priority areas for investment.

US Ambassador Joseph Cella says the United States partners with Pacific Island nations to bolster their ability to lead their countries to stable, prosperous futures.

He says as Pacific neighbors, allies and partners, the US Government is operating transparently and remains committed to stand by the people of the Pacific region in these challenging times.

Through this assistance, USAID will help governments prepare laboratory systems, implement infection prevention and control measures, strengthen port of entry screening, activate case-finding and event-based surveillance, and support rapid response and preparedness and more.

The US Government is leading the world’s humanitarian and health assistance response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of this comprehensive and generous US response, the State Department and USAID are providing an initial investment of nearly US$274 million in emergency health and humanitarian assistance to help countries in need.

Because an infectious-disease threat anywhere can become a threat everywhere, the United States calls on other donors to contribute to the global effort to combat COVID-19.




Stay strong, focus on recovery and continue to battle against COVID-19 - PM

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 09/04/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama meeting kids at Waidamudamu. Photo: PM Bainimarama

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says the country has been hit by two body blows – COVID-19 and TC Harold – however, he is calling on all Fijians to stay strong, focus on recovery and continue to battle against COVID-19.

Bainimarama says people should still be prepared for floods due to heavy rain up in the highlands.

The Prime Minister says TC Harold must not compromise the containment efforts for COVID-19.

Meanwhile Bainimarama is currently going around with Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete visiting the fever clinics in the Central Division.

He was earlier at Raiwaqa and Valelevu fever clinics.

Bainimarama, Doctor Waqainabete, Infrastructure Minister Jone Usamate and Defence Minister Inia Seruiratu also visited families in Waidamudamu, Nausori in the last hour.

The Prime Minister, Doctor Waqainabete, Usamate, Seruiratu and Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho also visited police officers at the Nausori border in the last hour.


The Prime Minister also visited RFMF Engineers working on COVID-19 ICU unit for health workers.

RFMF E

RFMF Engineers working on Covid 19 ICU unit for health workers

ngineers working on Covid 19 ICU unit for health workers

RFMF Engineers working on Covid 19 ICU unit for health workers








There are no new COVID-19 cases - Tudravu

By Iva Danford, Vijay Narayan
Thursday 09/04/2020

There are no new COVID-19 cases at this stage.

Chief Medical Adviser, Doctor Jemesa Tudravu says they had done 5 tests and they have all come back negative.

Fiji currently has 15 confirmed cases.

Tudravu confirms that they have adequate PCR machines which is used for COVID-19 testing.

He says there is a flight coming in from Sydney this afternoon bringing in more PCR machines.

Tudravu says the families in Nabua that were supposed to be in isolation and are currently sheltered at Ratu Sukuna Memorial School, are also isolated in the school.

He says once the families return to their homes, health officials will have to ensure that they are also in isolation.

He says they are working on trying to get people in evacuation centres to practice good hygiene to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Contact tracing continues.

Stay with us for developments




53 people to front court today for breaching COVID-19 restrictions

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 09/04/2020
Police brave heavy rain to ensure restrictions aren't breached. [Fiji Police]

53 people will front the court today as Police officers continue to make arrests for COVID-19 restriction breaches.

There is some good news as there were no curfew arrests in the Central Division. The bad news is that some people continue to refuse to follow instructions like some people in Lokia who did not want to listen to Police and continued playing rugby while some tried to breach the Nausori border to enter Suva.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says social gathering breaches accounted for 33 arrests, curfew breaches 18 arrests and 2 men aged 18 and 28 years were arrested for breaching the lockdown restrictions after they allegedly tried to get into Suva through the Nausori border.

Qiliho says from the 33 social gathering breaches, a group of 8 youths were arrested after allegedly refusing to disperse after being warned not to play rugby in Lokia yesterday.

The remaining 25 arrests made in the East and Southern divisions where people were found drinking yaqona.

Of the 18 curfew arrests, the west recorded 4, South recorded 11, North recorded 2, East recorded 1 while no arrests were recorded in the Central Division.

Qiliho says it is clear that people are still taking things lightly as seen with the number of arrests even as the nation experienced the impacts of Severe Tropical Cyclone Harold creating more work for officers on the ground.

The Commissioner says TC Harold has passed and we have COVID-19 still here to deal with and we cannot afford to be complacent with a virus that is claiming thousands of lives every 24 hours globally.

Qiliho has told people to stop gambling with their lives and the lives of their loved ones, because when you selfishly leave your home to meet up with others over a tanoa of yaqona or a drinking party, you could be the one responsible for spreading the virus, which is why health officials have and continue to reiterate that everyone should Stay home to Save lives and refrain from gathering in numbers.




27y/o flight attendant and 54y/o Labasa man expected to be investigated for allegedly breaching the Public Health Regulations

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 07/04/2020
Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho [Photo: Fijian Government]

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho confirms that people like the 27-year-old flight attendant from Lautoka who was the first confirmed COVID-19 case and the 54-year-old Labasa man who returned from a religious gathering in India and spread COVID-19 to a few people in the country are expected to be investigated for allegedly breaching the Public Health Regulations.

Qiliho also confirms that the flight attendants who were allegedly drinking grog at a hotel in Nadi during their isolation period last month will also be investigated.

When asked by Fijivillage, Qiliho made it clear that the Soasoa man will be questioned and the victims who also did not follow the self-quarantine directive will be questioned.

Qiliho says the flight attendants are also being fully investigated and further action will be taken after they complete their isolation period.

According to the Public Health Amendment Act, a person faces upto $10,000 fine or 5 years imprisonment or both, for breaching the self quarantine directives.




COVID-19: 1 new case announced by PM taking the total cases to 15

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 07/04/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama
  • Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has just confirmed another case.
  • The total number of cases now goes up to 15.
  • Testing 25 samples overnight.
  • The new case is the husband of the zumba classmate of Lautoka.
  • He developed symptoms in isolation.
  • All patients remain in stable condition.
  • Lifting of the lockdown doesn't mean life is back to normal.
  • If you see any rule breaking- speak up.
  • 8pm-5am curfew applies everywhere.
  • Case 1 - 165 contact tracing was done.
  • Labasa man - more than 800 contact tracing done.
  • Qiliho confirms 2 businesses have been shut down after the Soasoa man came into contact with these businesses.

Fiji now has 15 confirmed COVID-19 cases after the husband of the Zumba classmate of the first patient in the country, tested positive of COVID-19.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says this was a case they had expected for some time and, this 33 year old man did not develop any symptoms until after he was safely in isolation and posed no risk to the public.

This is the sixth confirmed transmission that can be traced back to the first case. All the 15 patients remain in stable condition.

Lautoka residents should remain on alert as the threat of COVID-19 and TC Harold remains - PM

The Prime Minister says the lifting of the lockdown in Lautoka does not mean life is going back to normal; it’s not cause for celebration or an excuse to play loose with the rules.

Voreqe Bainimarama says the 8pm to 5am nationwide curfew applies everywhere.

He says the ban on all social gatherings applies everywhere and the requirement to keep a safe distance of two metres applies everywhere.

Bainimarama says Police officers are stepping up surveillance in Lautoka from today to make sure no one takes this as an opportunity to skirt any of the directives. The Prime Minister if you see any rule-breaking, speak up. If you feel symptoms, visit a fever clinic or call 158.

Cyclones can kill, and so can coronavirus, follow the directives - PM

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says Tropical Cyclone Harold will enter the Fijian waters tomorrow, and we can expect strong winds and heavy rain in the Yasawa and Mamanuca groups, Viti Levu, Kadavu, the Lomaiviti Group and the Southern Lau Group. Bainimarama says if any areas under lockdown see serious flooding and need to be evacuated, the government has contingency plans in place to prevent any mixing between evacuees and Fijians who are close contacts of existing COVID-positive patients.

The Prime Minister says all evacuation centres will also be sanitised, and regularly monitored to ensure that they are not filled beyond capacity. Bainimarama says through this storm, he wants to again stress that the directives given by the authorities are not voluntary. He says they are not suggestions.

The Prime Minister says they are orders that must be followed, for your safety and the safety of those around you. Bainimarama advises people to stay away from floodwaters. If you’ve been directed to evacuate, please do so while the sun is out. If you have not been told to move, do the right thing and stay put at home.

Continue to put humanity first as 68 missionaries leave their bags to allow 11 Fijians to come back home - PM

The Prime Minister says 68 missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints left their bags and possessions behind in Kiribati, to get 11 Fijians back home.

Voreqe Bainimarama says our national carrier, Fiji Airways, organised a charter flight on board an A350 which safely carried 300 missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Nadi to Utah in the United States over the weekend.

Bainimarama says before departing for the U.S, Fiji Airways organised regional flights from across the Pacific to bring these missionaries to Nadi ahead of their trans-Pacific flight to Salt Lake City. On the flight from Kiribati to Nadi, 11 Fijians were able to fly back home to Fiji. To cut the weight of cargo and allow these 11 Fijians to make it aboard, 68 missionaries left their bags and possessions behind in Kiribati.

Bainimarama says thanks to their sacrifice, these Fijians are all safely back in Fiji, where they will be reunited with their families after a mandatory two-week quarantine. He says this is a profound demonstration of what it means to put humanity first and what it means to have love and compassion for your fellow human beings.

Bainimarama says vinaka to all who helped bring these 11 Fijians home.

He says in the weeks and months to come, serious sacrifices may be demanded from all of us, as long as we use compassion as our guiding principle, there is no challenge we the Fijian people cannot overcome.




Health Officials questioned and released on leaked documents of COVID-19 cases

By Iva Danford
Tuesday 07/04/2020

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says that they have questioned some health officials with regards to the leaking of names of the 6th and 7th COVID-19 cases in Fiji.

He says some of these officials were questioned overnight and released but police are confident that they will get to the source of this leaked document.

Qiliho says they are getting to the end of this investigation.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama earlier announced that some of these two COVID-19 patients’ personal details were unfortunately leaked to the public and the Ministry of Health staff are devastated that someone is leaking confidential information.

He says these leaks have made the ministry’s jobs far more difficult and every time people on Facebook share this leaked information, they do so at the expense of the doctors, nurses and other medical staff trying their absolute best to inform the public in an accurate and timely manner.




We have traced 834 people who came into contact with the 54y/o man from Labasa - Waqainabete

By Shanil Singh
Tuesday 07/04/2020
Fiji Centre for Disease Control

Minister for Health  Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete confirms that they have been able to trace a total of 834 people who had come into contact with the 9th case of COVID-19 in Fiji who was a 54-year-old man from Soasoa Labasa.

Dr. Waqainabete says these were both direct and indirect contacts which includes his son daughter-in-law and granddaughter from Nabua in Suva who earlier tested positive for COVID-19.

He has assured the nation that they have been able to get in touch with the contacts and the mechanisms of self-isolation for those who need to be self-isolated is now ongoing.

Dr. Waqainabete says from cluster one which is the flight attendant from Lautoka there were a total of 165 contacts, where a few came out as asymptomatic and 5 came out as positive.

He says from cluster two which is based out of the Nadera case there were 30 contacts where none of them had any symptoms and they are all in isolation.

Dr. Waqainabete says there are no serious concerns regarding cluster four which is based out of the Nadi case.

The Health Minister also says that about 30 people who had come into contact with the two hair-dressers who were earlier tested positive for COVID-19 have come forward and contacted them.

He also says that the Ministry has spent nearly $10 million in their attempt to combat COVID-19 so far.

Dr. Waqainabete says some of these funds were given by government before the COVID-19 Response Budget and all other government ministries are supporting the Ministry of Health so the cost is much more than that.




3 Fijians in Malaysia test positive for COVID-19 after returning from Nizamuddin, India

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 07/04/2020
Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete

Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says they continue to monitor two Fijians who attended the religious gathering in Nizamuddin in India and returned to Fiji, while Fijivillage has received information that 3 of the Fijians who attended the gathering are in Malaysia and have tested positive for COVID-19.

The 3 Fijians are expected to stay in Malaysia for the isolation period.

One of the people who has returned to Fiji from India is the 54-year-old Soasoa man who has tested positive for COVID-19 and is in isolation at Labasa Hospital.

Times of India has already reported that four people from Fiji are likely to be blacklisted by India amongst the 300 foreigners who went to India from 16 countries, on tourist visas but attended the congregation at Nizamuddin.

India’s Union Home Ministry official has said that these foreigners were among around 8,000 people who attended the Tabligh-e-Jamaat at Nizamuddin Markaz facility in March, many of whom have shown symptoms of COVID-19.

A total of 281 foreigners were found by the police at the Nizamuddin campus.

They include the 4 people from Fiji, 19 people from Nepal, 20 people from Malaysia, one from Afghanistan, 33 from Myanmar, one from Algeria, one from Djibouti, 28 from Kyrgystan, 72 from Indonesia, 7 from Thailand, 34 from Sri Lanka, 19 from Bangladesh, 3 from England, 1 from Singapore, 1 from France and 1 from Kuwait.




8 people that were arrested for allegedly drinking yaqona in a grog shop make court appearance this afternoon

By Rashika Kumar
Tuesday 07/04/2020

The 8 people who were arrested for allegedly drinking yaqona in a grog shop in Nabua appeared in the Suva Magistrates Court this afternoon.

67-year-old Shafiq Ali, 64-year-old Mohammed Maulana Shah, 54-year-old Leonard Vishnu Deo, 69-year-old Sakeo Vuli, 53-year-old Mesake Koroi, 30-year-old Litia Lolohea, 24-year-old Laisani Vakatale and 27-year-old Kalesi Samanunu are charged with failure to comply with order under the Public Health Act.

It is alleged that they were drinking yaqona in Nabua on the 4th of April at about 6.45pm.

They have been granted bail by Magistrate Seini Puamau.

Magistrate Puamau asked the police prosecution whether apart from stupidity, the 8 people pose any threat to the community to which the prosecutor said that they do not pose any other threat.

They have been granted bail under strict conditions and $1000 cash surety.

They must attend court for every mention and trial and they must not reoffend or interfere in the state’s case.

The 8 people charged should also provide a fixed address and stay there and they are also not allowed to change their address without getting a permission from court first.

The case has been adjourned to the 23rd July.




Continue to put humanity first as 68 missionaries leave their bags to allow 11 Fijians to come back home - PM

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 07/04/2020
missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint that boarded the Fiji Airways flight. [image: Becky May Rouland/Facebook]

The Prime Minister says 68 missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints left their bags and possessions behind in Kiribati, to get 11 Fijians back home.

Voreqe Bainimarama says our national carrier Fiji Airways organised a charter flight on board an A350 which safely carried 300 missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Nadi to Utah in the United States over the weekend.

Bainimarama says before departing for the U.S Fiji Airways organised regional flights from across the Pacific to bring these missionaries to Nadi ahead of their trans-Pacific flight to Salt Lake City.

On the flight from Kiribati to Nadi 11 Fijians were able to fly back home to Fiji.

To cut the weight of cargo and allow these 11 Fijians to make it aboard 68 missionaries left their bags and possessions behind in Kiribati.

Bainimarama says thanks to their sacrifice, these Fijians are all safely back in Fiji where they will be reunited with their families after a mandatory two-week quarantine. He says this is a profound demonstration of what it means to put humanity first and what it means to have love and compassion for your fellow human beings.

Bainimarama says vinaka to all who helped bring these 11 Fijians home.

He says in the weeks and months to come, serious sacrifices may be demanded from all of us as long as we use compassion as our guiding principle, there is no challenge we the Fijian people cannot overcome.




Cyclones can kill and so can coronavirus, follow the directives - PM

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 07/04/2020

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says Tropical Cyclone Harold will enter the Fijian waters tomorrow, and we can expect strong winds and heavy rain in the Yasawa and Mamanuca groups, Viti Levu, Kadavu, the Lomaiviti Group and the Southern Lau Group. Bainimarama says if any areas under lockdown see serious flooding and need to be evacuated, the government has contingency plans in place to prevent any mixing between evacuees and Fijians who are close contacts of existing COVID-positive patients.

PM-COVID19-sm

The Prime Minister says all evacuation centres will also be sanitised, and regularly monitored to ensure that they are not filled beyond capacity. Bainimarama says through this storm, he wants to again stress that the directives given by the authorities are not voluntary. He says they are not suggestions.

The Prime Minister says they are orders that must be followed, for your safety and the safety of those around you. Bainimarama advises people to stay away from floodwaters. If you’ve been directed to evacuate, please do so while the sun is out. If you have not been told to move, do the right thing and stay put at home.


People are advised to take all precuationary measures as Category 4 TC Harold comes closer to the group

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 07/04/2020
TC Harold Threat Track Map at 1:26PM 7th April. Photo: met.gov.fj

People are advised to take all precautionary measures now as continuous heavy rain and damaging winds are expected in Fiji from later today into tomorrow as Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Harold comes closer to the group.

The centre of TC Harold is currently located 600 kilometres west of Nadi. Harold is forecast to be a strong category 4 cyclone as it reaches closest to Fiji tomorrow.

It is travelling in an east-southeast direction at about 15 kilometres per hour. The Nadi Weather Office and Na Draki are both saying while it is predicted that Cyclone Harold will not make landfall over any of the islands of Fiji, the centre will pass close enough to the Mamanucas, southern Yasawas, Viti Levu, Vatulele, Beqa, Kadavu and southern Lau that they will very likely experience damaging winds with gusts to 90 kilometres per hour starting from later tonight into tomorrow and continuing for much of the day.

Forecast-Track-Map-20-112-PM-7-Apr-sm

Kadavu and southern Lau will likely experience more destructive storm force winds gusting to 125 kilometres per hour during the middle of the day and through to the evening tomorrow.

Widespread heavy rain is expected across Fiji from today ahead of the cyclone.

Rain will continue tonight and through the day tomorrow with flash flooding initially followed by river flooding tomorrow, especially for the Nadi and Sigatoka rivers, but also the Navua and Ba rivers, and also later the Rakiraki river and the Rewa from the interior to Nausori.

The onset of gales around western and southern Viti Levu will coincide with high tide and a full moon around sunrise tomorrow with a high risk of sea flooding along the Coral Coast and western Viti Levu, and also coastal villages and tourist resorts in the Mamanucas and Yasawas. While the forecast guidance remains consistent in predicting that the centre of TC Harold will pass about 300 kilometresor more south of Viti Levu later tomorrow, the track could potentially change over the next 24 hours so you should prepare for the possibility of stronger winds than predicted should the cyclone move closer to Fiji.

Expected continuous heavy rain increasing further tonight with widespread local flash flooding about the western, central and northern divisions.

Heavy rain will then spread to the eastern division by tomorrow morning.

The one element of positivity is that the cyclone will be travelling at around 20 kilometres by this time and its presence in Fiji waters will be relatively brief in comparison to Vanuatu.

By tomorrow night the centre of the cyclone will be moving out of southern Lau waters.






42 arrests and 2 lockdown breaches in the last 24 hours including a case of suspects trekking through Wailoku to Delainavesi

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 07/04/2020
Delainavesi Checkpoint. [image: Fiji Police]

Concerns continue to be raised as another 42 arrests were made in the last 24 hours which include two lockdown breaches where the suspects trekked through Wailoku to get to Delainavesi.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says curfew arrests accounted for 17 of the total number of people arrested while 23 people were taken in for social gathering breaches.

12 of the 23 arrests made include a group that were found drinking homebrew and consuming alcohol and yaqona in Navua last night.

All those arrested will be produced in court today.

Qiliho says they are clamping down on breaches of social gatherings and all information received will be investigated.

Members of the public have also been sending in photos and videos of people breaching the restrictions for which they are grateful for, as they need to work together to fight this virus.

As a responsible citizen to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure everyone is following the law, please call Police on 8932875 at the Central Command Centre, 9905457 at the Western Command Centre, 9905722 at the Northern Command Centre, 9905529 at the Southern Command Centre and 9905563 at the Eastern Command Centre.

People that do not follow the 8pm to 5am daily curfew can face up to 2 years imprisonment if they are convicted for Disobedience of Lawful Order.




Police to investigate how a man arriving from Uruguay managed to smuggle himself into the Lautoka lockdown area

By Naveel Krishant
Tuesday 07/04/2020
Police operations conducting checks at a checkpoint [image: Fiji police]

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says they will investigate as to how a man who had arrived from Uruguay had managed to smuggle himself into the Lautoka lockdown area.

The man had arrived into the country on the 24th of March from Uruguay, transiting through Singapore.

Qiliho had confirmed this morning that the test result of the man had returned negative for COVID-19.




Man who allegedly called on people to breach curfew hours to make court appearance today

By Naveel Krishant
Tuesday 07/04/2020

A 24-year-old unemployed man will be produced in the Suva Magistrates Court today for allegedly inciting violence and disobedience of the law through a comment he posted on social media.

Police say the accused who resides in Tacirua had allegedly posted a comment calling on people to breach curfew hours following a Press statement issued by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama on COVID – 19

He has been charged with incitement to violence and disobedience of the law.




Lockdown on Kashmir, Lautoka lifted

By Naveel Krishant
Tuesday 07/04/2020

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the lockdown that was placed on Kashmir, Lautoka earlier this morning has been lifted.

Qiliho says this is after the test result of the case of interest from the area returned negative. This is the man who had returned from Uruguay and had smuggled his way into the Lautoka confined area.

The greater Lautoka lockdown restriction was lifted this morning.




COVID-19: 2 New cases announced by PM taking the total cases to 14

By Vijay Narayan
Monday 06/04/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Fiji now has 14 cases of COVID-19, and a new Lautoka confined area is expected to be announced tomorrow after the lockdown for the Greater Lautoka Area is lifted at 5am tomorrow.

  • Two new cases confirmed by the PM
  • The total number of cases goes up to 14
  • The new cases are the wife of gentlemen from Labasa and the second new case announced today is the sister of the first case.
  • Risk of further transmission is low
  • One case of interest in Lautoka
  • Plan to lift the lockdown on Lautoka at 5am tomorrow
  • They will announce the areas that will be on lockdown in Lautoka tomorrow based on the case of interest

Confirmed COVID-19 cases

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says the 12th case of COVID-19 is the daughter-in-law of the 54-year-old Soasoa, Labasa man who returned from India on the 22nd of March.

An additional two cases of the virus in Fiji have been confirmed today.

The first new case is the wife of the man from Labasa.

She was taken into isolation two days before being diagnosed positive this morning.

The second new case is the sister of Fiji’s very first case, the flight attendant from Lautoka.

She is the mother of an existing case, the COVID-positive one-year old baby boy, and she chose to stay in isolation with her child to continue to breastfeed and care for him.

Bainimarama says she has been in isolation since the 19th of March, when Fiji’s first case tested positive.

He says both cases are close contacts of previous patients, and both were already in isolation when their symptoms developed and they tested positive.

The Prime Minister says the risk of further transmission is very low.


Lockdown for greater Lautoka Area to be lifted but new lockdown area to be confirmed soon after man smuggles his way in - PM

By Vijay Narayan
Monday 06/04/2020
[Photo:Fiji Police Force]

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama confirms that the lockdown in the Greater Lautoka Area will be lifted at 5am tomorrow however a new confined area has to be determined for a part of Lautoka after a man smuggled his way into the area, hid his travel history from officials and now has symptoms of COVID-19.

Bainimarama says this was discovered when the man visited a fever clinic in Lautoka yesterday.

After discovering that he had symptoms, more information emerged that the man arrived in Fiji on the 24th of March from Uruguay, transiting through Singapore.

Bainimarama says after further questioning, they discovered that the man had in fact smuggled his way into the confined area during the lockdown period.

The Prime Minister says it appears the man remained within a set area in Lautoka.

Now that he’s showing symptoms, the health contact tracing teams are determining how many Fijians he may have put at-risk.

This man’s test result will come out tomorrow morning.

The new confined area within Lautoka will be based on the man’s movements.

These details will be announced tomorrow.

Bainimarama also says it is the bad news that usually makes headlines but let’s not forget that most people in the Lautoka confined area actually have been doing the right thing.

He also says they are grateful to Fijians inside and outside the checkpoints who have been riding out, and he knows that it has been a difficult 18 days.

Bainimarama says their patience and diligence has helped the government effectively trace and isolate cases, so by staying inside and playing by the rules, they have saved lives.

He also confirms that yesterday, the fever testing team screened the temperatures of nearly 10,000 Fijians in the Lautoka confined area.

He says several of the people were running a fever, which in itself isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm.



Let us target zero curfew breaches - PM

By Vijay Narayan
Monday 06/04/2020

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says let’s get the number down to zero for curfew breaches.

Bainimarama says police officers had to make more than a few arrests over the weekend, but the number of arrests for curfew breaches on Sunday night fell to 21 from 110 on Saturday night.

He says he wants to give credit to the vast majority of Fijians who respected the rules and kept themselves and their loved ones at home. Bainimarama says Stay at Home, Save Lives.

He says it is also the best way all of us can honour the sacrifices of the Police and RFMF officers and healthcare heroes serving on the frontlines of the war against coronavirus in the hospitals, fever clinics, contact tracing teams and isolation wards.

Confirmed cases have surged past 1.2 million worldwide while more families are being robbed of loved ones every day as the global death count approaches 70,000.





Do not participate in grog sessions with friends - Dr. Waqainabete

By Rashika Kumar
Monday 06/04/2020
Minister for Health Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete

Minister for Health Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete is urging Fijians not to participate in any social events, even something as intimate as a grog session with friends.

The Minister has also confirmed that they had to find about 130 people who came in contact with the Labasa patient.

He says majority of them are in Macuata area, while some are in Cakaudrove and some in Taveuni.

The Minister has also confirmed that more ventilators and personal protective equipment have arrived into the country to assist the health workers.

Doctor Waqainabete says the government has spent a few hundred thousand dollars on a software and tablets specifically for contact tracing.




People no longer need to take bank statements to FNPF to access their funds - AG

By Dhanjay Deo
Monday 06/04/2020
Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum confirms a number of exceptions have been made where people no longer need to take bank statements to FNPF to access their funds.

He says people will only need to highlight their bank account number and funds will then be deposited in their bank account.

Sayed-Khaiyum adds that the government has disbursed $5 million to FNPF as of last week and more funds will be disbursed this week.

This is coming out from the COVID-19 Response Budget.

Sayed-Khaiyum says those people who have lost their jobs can access funds from FNPF.

He adds that they are talking to FNPF to go ahead and directly list the names of the employers who should be passing on the benefits to the employees who have lost their jobs or now have reduced hours of work.

This is being done after some employers who are behind in paying FNPF contributions for their employees are not issuing letters for their employees, so that they can access their funds from FNPF.





People breaching curfew and restriction of lockdown areas are playing with death - Qiliho

By Iva Danford
Monday 06/04/2020
[Photo:Fiji Police Force]

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says that people breaking the curfew or breaching the restriction of lockdown areas do not realise that they are playing with death.

Qiliho highlighted this when asked about the man that came back from overseas and managed to sneak into Lautoka during the lockdown.

He says Police cannot position themselves on every ground of the lockdown area.

Qiliho says people also do not seem to understand how severe the COVID-19 pandemic is.





People getting released on bail for $200 after breaching the curfew is not a good deterrent - Qiliho

By Vijay Narayan, Naveel Krishant
Monday 06/04/2020
Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says he personally thinks people getting released on bail for $200 after breaching the curfew is not a good deterrent.

When asked by Fijivillage on how Police feel about people being released on bail for as low as $200 and with the high number of curfew breaches, Commissioner Qiliho says this is not enough.

People continue to disregard the social gathering and curfew restrictions as 40 people were arrested for breaching social gathering restrictions which includes three Police officers and a security guard who were arrested at the Colo-i-Suva Community Post yesterday morning for allegedly having a grog session.

More than 540 people have breached the curfew restrictions since it started last Monday.

21 people were arrested for breaching curfew hours in the last 24 hours.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says they have a zero-tolerance policy and enough awareness has been conducted on what everyone needs to do and they will not be accepting any excuses.

Qiliho says Police officers flouting these measures will feel the full brunt of the law and will also face the internal disciplinary measures.

Two Police officers were caught drunk and driving in Labasa during the curfew hours last Thursday. They have also been charged.

Eight people were arrested in Nabua after they were allegedly found drinking yaqona in a grog shop.

In Lautoka four youths who were found gathering under a mango tree were warned to disperse but allegedly refused to do so and have been arrested.

Meanwhile, Qiliho says people should call Police immediately if they witness people not practising physical distancing, are breaching the curfew restrictions, or are having large grog sessions or drinking parties.

The call is made to every Fijian to ensure that every fellow citizen of this nation is doing the right thing and not breaching the physical distancing instruction, nationwide curfew and lockdown restrictions in Suva, Lautoka and Soasoa.

As a responsible citizen to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure everyone is following the law, please call Police on 8932875 at the Central Command Centre, 9905457 at the Western Command Centre, 9905722 at the Northern Command Centre, 9905529 at the Southern Command Centre and 9905563 at the Eastern Command Centre.

People that do not follow the 8pm to 5am daily curfew can face up to 2 years imprisonment if they are convicted for Disobedience of Lawful Order.




Fiji to face two crises at once-COVID-19 and TC Harold -PM

By Vijay Narayan
Monday 06/04/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says Fiji is preparing to face two crises at once – COVID-19 and effects of Tropical Cyclone Harold.

Bainimarama says the only way we beat both is if every Fijian adheres closely to the directives from authorities.

The Prime Minister says our disciplined forces will be giving orders, not advice – and they won’t tolerate disobedience.

Bainimarama stresses to people to do what they are told to do as your life and the lives of those you love depend on it. He says we cannot allow severe weather to jeopardise our life-saving game plan to lock this virus down.

The Prime Minister says this morning, Tropical Cyclone Harold intensified into a category five cyclone, with Vanuatu in its immediate path, with parts of Fiji also at risk.

Fiji can expect heavy rain and flooding from Cyclone Harold from tomorrow, meaning floodwaters and road closures will likely add a new layer of complexity to the containment efforts.




Let us target zero curfew breaches - PM

By Vijay Narayan
Monday 06/04/2020

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says let’s get the number down to zero for curfew breaches.

Bainimarama says police officers had to make more than a few arrests over the weekend, but the number of arrests for curfew breaches on Sunday night fell to 21 from 110 on Saturday night.

He says he wants to give credit to the vast majority of Fijians who respected the rules and kept themselves and their loved ones at home. Bainimarama says Stay at Home, Save Lives.

He says it is also the best way all of us can honour the sacrifices of the Police and RFMF officers and healthcare heroes serving on the frontlines of the war against coronavirus in the hospitals, fever clinics, contact tracing teams and isolation wards.

Confirmed cases have surged past 1.2 million worldwide while more families are being robbed of loved ones every day as the global death count approaches 70,000.




Lockdown for greater Lautoka Area to be lifted but new lockdown area to be confirmed soon after man smuggles his way in - PM

By Vijay Narayan
Monday 06/04/2020
[Photo:Fiji Police Force]

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama confirms that the lockdown in the Greater Lautoka Area will be lifted at 5am tomorrow however a new confined area has to be determined for a part of Lautoka after a man smuggled his way into the area, hid his travel history from officials and now has symptoms of COVID-19.

Bainimarama says this was discovered when the man visited a fever clinic in Lautoka yesterday.

After discovering that he had symptoms, more information emerged that the man arrived in Fiji on the 24th of March from Uruguay, transiting through Singapore.

Bainimarama says after further questioning, they discovered that the man had in fact smuggled his way into the confined area during the lockdown period.

The Prime Minister says it appears the man remained within a set area in Lautoka.

Now that he’s showing symptoms, the health contact tracing teams are determining how many Fijians he may have put at-risk.

This man’s test result will come out tomorrow morning.

The new confined area within Lautoka will be based on the man’s movements.

These details will be announced tomorrow.

Bainimarama also says it is the bad news that usually makes headlines but let’s not forget that most people in the Lautoka confined area actually have been doing the right thing.

He also says they are grateful to Fijians inside and outside the checkpoints who have been riding out, and he knows that it has been a difficult 18 days.

Bainimarama says their patience and diligence has helped the government effectively trace and isolate cases, so by staying inside and playing by the rules, they have saved lives.

He also confirms that yesterday, the fever testing team screened the temperatures of nearly 10,000 Fijians in the Lautoka confined area.

He says several of the people were running a fever, which in itself isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm.




Suva and Lautoka businesses who are not providing essential services urged to refrain from engaging in business - Ali

By Dhanjay Deo
Monday 06/04/2020
President of the Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry Doctor Nur Bano Ali

The President of the Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry Doctor Nur Bano Ali is calling on those business owners in Suva and Lautoka to refrain from engaging in business for two weeks who are not providing essential services.

Ali says the order of priority is save lives and then their livelihood.

Ali says Suva City currently looks dysfunctional and it is a reality we all should face as the country is not going through financial crisis but health crisis.

Ali says businesses can email the Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry at manager@fijichamber.com if they have any queries regarding their business, staff or the assistance that has been made available.




Rotary Club of Lautoka and Lautoka Ratepayers Association trying their best to assist people in Lautoka

By Shanil Singh
Monday 06/04/2020
Lautoka businessman, Narayan Reddy

Lautoka businessman, Narayan Reddy who along with the Rotary Club of Lautoka and Lautoka Ratepayers Association has been assisting people since the lockdown in Lautoka says residents are struggling but they are still trying their best to provide assistance.

Reddy says they have assisted more than 500 families so far but they are now running out of funds.

He says they are trying their best with whatever resources they have because the situation is getting worse. Reddy says many workers have lost their jobs, are on reduced hours or their job site is outside the lockdown area in Lautoka.

Reddy says the list of people needing assistance is increasing by the day with more than 1000 families on that list at the moment.

He says from what they have seen so far, most of the people need basic food items such as flour, rice, oil, dhal, sugar and tinned fish.

Reddy says they had also distributed medication for high blood pressure and diabetes.

Meanwhile Rotary Club of Lautoka President, Teresa Ali has urged other people in Lautoka who can assist to please come forward and help them.




61 people including 3 police officers arrested for breaching curfew and social gathering restrictions

By Vijay Narayan, Naveel Krishant
Monday 06/04/2020
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

People continue to disregard the social gathering and curfew restrictions as 40 people were arrested for breaching social gathering restrictions which includes three Police officers and a security guard who were arrested at the Colo-i-Suva Community Post yesterday morning for allegedly having a kava session.

More than 540 people have breached the curfew restrictions since it started last Monday.

21 people were arrested for breaching curfew hours in the last 24 hours.

Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho says they have a zero tolerance policy and enough awareness has been conducted on what everyone needs to do and they will not be accepting any excuses.

Qiliho says Police officers flouting these measures will feel the full brunt of the law and will also face the internal disciplinary measures.

Two Police officers were caught drunk and driving in Labasa during the curfew hours last Thursday. They have also been charged.

Eight people were arrested in Nabua after they were allegedly found drinking yaqona in a Grog Shop.

In Lautoka four youths who were found gathering under a mango tree were warned to disperse but allegedly refused to do so and have been arrested.

Meanwhile Qiliho says people should call Police immediately if they witness people not practising physical distancing, are breaching the curfew restrictions, or are having large grog sessions or drinking parties.

The call is made to every Fijian to ensure that every fellow citizen of this nation is doing the right thing and not breaching the physical distancing instruction, nationwide curfew and lockdown restrictions in Suva, Lautoka and Soasoa.

As a responsible citizen to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure everyone is following the law, please call Police on 8932875 at the Central Command Centre, 9905457 at the Western Command Centre, 9905722 at the Northern Command Centre, 9905529 at the Southern Command Centre and 9905563 at the Eastern Command Centre.

People that do not follow the 8pm to 5am daily curfew can face up to 2 years imprisonment if they are convicted for Disobedience of Lawful Order.




Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho shocked by the number of people arrested for breaking curfew hours in the last 24 hours

By Semi Turaga
Saturday 04/04/2020
Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says they are shocked by the number of people that have been arrested for breaking the curfew hours in the last 24 hours.

123 people were arrested last night for breaking curfew hours.

Qiliho says people who should be responsible and leaders in society are also involved in breaking the law.

The Police Commissioner says they will take some of the people to court after their self-quarantine period finishes or at the end of their treatment.

Qiliho says these people are not honest with Police.

He also confirms that the investigation is ongoing into the issue of information being leaked from the Ministry of Health.

He reiterated Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama's message of stay at home, save lives.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Bainimarama says this level of lawlessness is irresponsible, un-Fijian and just plain stupid.

He says we are at war with the most devastating global pandemic in 100 years and any disobedience in our ranks will cost us lives.

He sent a strong warning that they don’t care who you are, rules are rules, break them, and you will be found and punished.

Bainimarama says it doesn’t matter how famous you are, it doesn’t matter how rich you are, it doesn’t even matter how religious you feel you are, no one has the magic cure to coronavirus, and no one is immune to our laws.

The Prime Minister says as always, these few bad examples hang a dark shadow over much of the good work being done all throughout the country adding a few irresponsible actors shouldn’t take away from the many more who are following the rules, or the long hours being put in by our frontline workers who are combatting COVID-19.

He further says in Lautoka, for example, thanks to the ongoing efforts by the medical teams on the ground, over 30,000 Fijians have been screened for fevers through temperature checks and in-person outreach.

He adds in his eyes, every Fijian who gets themselves screened on the streets or tested at a fever clinic is a true patriot.

He once again thanked the health workers for their hardwork.

The Prime Minister says come next week, if the government does not see our fever testing numbers go dramatically up, and they don’t see the numbers of the curfew and quarantine violations go dramatically down, they will initiate a nationwide 24-hour curfew.

Bainimarama says if you’re feeling flu-like symptoms visit a fever clinic or call 158 adding if you’re not going to work, buying food, getting money or accessing an essential service, stay at home, otherwise, they will bring in the military and police to lock down all of Fiji.

Bainimarama says but even if we do that, even if we throw every dollar we have into this effort, even if we direct every police officer in the country to force our people to stay in their homes, the government cannot win this war alone.

He says they need every person to take responsibility for the nationwide response.




Fiji now has 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1 case of interest

By Vijay Narayan, Semi Turaga
Saturday 04/04/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Fiji now has 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 but the Health Ministry is awaiting further test results of the daughter-in-law of the Soasoa man in Labasa who has tested positive.

She is the 12th case and is the only patient who is yet to be tested twice for COVID-19.

The test results for her second test is expected later today.

Key Points from the announcement :

  • PM has again stressed to people to stay home and save lives.
  • The father who is at Labasa Isolation Ward has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • He is the father of the barber who tested positive of COVID-19 earlier this week.
  • All contact tracing teams are on the ground.
  • Three  families at Labasa Isolation Ward.
  • The 11-year-old daughter of the couple at Nabua has also tested positive of COVID-19.
  • Another case in Lautoka connected to a woman who tested positive after the Zumba class with the first patient.
  • A new case in Nadi has been confirmed. She was in self-quarantine after returning from NZ.
  • Fiji now has 5 new cases of COVID-19 overnight.
  • The virus can spread at an exponential rate and the people have to take all necessary precautions according to Prime Minister Bainimarama.
  • The Labasa man who returned from India had gone around Suva including a garage in Suva, he also caught a Patterson Shipping boat on March 27th from Suva to Labasa and then he put 3 members in his household in Labasa.
  • 240 square kilometres of Soasoa in Labasa will be locked down after the first confirmed case in the North.
  • The Prime Minister says anyone can be a carrier.
  • Bainimarama has called on people to adhere to the curfew restrictions.
  • 2 rugby players broke compulsory self-quarantine measures.
  • 1 of them was coming from Singapore and was a high risk.
  • 1 rugby player was taken to hospital but he bolted out of the hospital but Police officers have caught him and he is at the Nadi Hospital Isolation Ward.

  • Bainimarama also confirms a woman and her children who were going in a fibreglass boat to Wakaya are also under investigation.
  • Over 30,000 people have been screened at fever clinics.
  • PM has stressed that he does not care who the people are who are breaching the rules, don't care how famous you are or how rich you are - do the right thing and follow the rules.
  • 24 hours curfew will be imposed on people if people do not follow the rules.
  • Military and Police will be brought in to lockdown Fiji next week if people do not follow the rules.
  • PM has told children and the elderly not to leave the house.
  • Bainimarama stresses that everyone has to follow the rules and if they don't then stringent action will be taken.
  • Case 8 - a 39-year-old woman of Natokawaqa, Lautoka.
  • Case 9 - 54-year-old man from Soasoa Labasa who had returned from India.
  • Case 10 - a 20-year-old woman from Nadi who had returned from NZ.
  • Case 11 - the daughter of the couple from Nabua settlement. She developed symptoms while in isolation. She remains isolated in Navua.

  • 2 other cases of interest - a 25-year-old woman and her son. They are related to the 54-year-old Soasoa man who had returned from India.

𝐍𝐞𝐰 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐟𝐢𝐫𝐦𝐞𝐝 𝐜𝐚𝐬𝐞𝐬

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama confirms the father of the barber who tested positive on Thursday has been confirmed to have COVID-19.

He says they had a strong suspicion of how the sixth and seventh cases of COVID-19 in Fiji contracted the virus.

Bainimarama says the father stayed with the couple for several days after returning from India on the 22nd of March.

He says the father likely became infected at a large religious gathering he attended while in India.

The Prime Minister says upon returning to Fiji, he spent five days in the Nabua Settlement, and he then made his way by boat to Vanua Levu.

He then travelled to his home in Soasoa and is currently in stable condition in the isolation ward at Labasa Hospital.

Bainimarama says this patient did not declare any symptoms when returning from travel and did not follow the directive of entering into government-mandated home quarantine, a compulsory requirement for all those returning to the country from abroad that came into effect on the 19th of March.

The Prime Minister says three days after the directive came into effect, this individual proceeded to ignore it by hopping from Nadi to Suva to Labasa in the span of a week, potentially spreading COVID-19 via land, air, and sea over just a few days.

He says contact tracing teams are in the process of identifying all other individuals who came into contact with this man including a few in Suva who he spoke with at car garages and fellow passengers on the ferry from Nabouwalu Jetty to Vanua Levu on the 27th of March.

𝐓𝐰𝐨 𝐜𝐚𝐬𝐞𝐬 𝐨𝐟 𝐢𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭

Bainimarama says following his arrival in Soasoa, the 54 year old man, his daughter-in-law, and his grandson were all taken into isolation and tested.

He says they tested all three, and two of them, including the father tested positive.

Bainimarama says they are currently doing a second-round test on the daughter-in-law and grandson to confirm their results.

He says in the meantime, all three family members remain in isolation at Labasa Hospital where they are in stable condition.

𝟏𝟏-𝐲𝐞𝐚𝐫-𝐨𝐥𝐝 𝐝𝐚𝐮𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐞𝐫

Bainimarama says after identifying the couple who tested positive for the virus in the Nabua Settlement, they had also entered their 11-year-old daughter into isolation before she had developed symptoms.

The Prime Minister says yesterday, she came down with a fever.

She was tested and confirmed as positive for the virus this morning.

𝐋𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐨𝐤𝐚 𝐰𝐨𝐦𝐚𝐧

Bainimarama says in the Lautoka confined area, the 39 year old sister of case number five, the woman from the first patient’s Zumba class, developed symptoms after she was already placed in quarantine within Natabua High School.

The Prime Minister says the woman alerted the Ministry of Health and was tested.

She was confirmed as positive for the virus this morning, and she has since been isolated at Lautoka Hospital where she remains in stable condition.

𝐍𝐚𝐝𝐢 𝐰𝐨𝐦𝐚𝐧

Bainimarama says there is a new case in Nadi which is unrelated to any of the other patients.

He says this has many similarities to the first case in Nadera, Suva, the man who immediately entered self-quarantine upon arriving back from abroad, a responsible move that has, so far, resulted in no additional cases.

Bainimarama says this new case in Nadi is a 20 year old woman who also entered self-quarantine immediately after returning to Fiji from Auckland.

He says they are grateful this young woman displayed the same diligence and compassion as that young man from Nadera as she placed herself into quarantine, and stayed there.

She was brought food that was dropped off at her door, and she refrained from coming into contact with others.

Bainimarama says her good habits have spared Nadi from a total lockdown.

All Fijians living with COVID-19 are in stable condition. Bainimarama says this is our single largest jump in cases in a day.

He says week over week, our new case numbers have doubled.

𝐋𝐨𝐜𝐤𝐝𝐨𝐰𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐒𝐨𝐚𝐬𝐨𝐚 𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐚 𝐢𝐧 𝐕𝐚𝐧𝐮𝐚 𝐋𝐞𝐯𝐮

Bainimarama says they are going to lock down a 240-square-metre portion of Soasoa area on Vanua Levu – where the contact tracing for the first case in the North is underway.

He says the surrounding homes, and neighbours he came into contact with, will be under this contained area.

Bainimarama says if it’s determined that the spread has risked going beyond these boundaries, they will expand them accordingly.

𝐑𝐮𝐠𝐛𝐲 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐲𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐛𝐫𝐨𝐤𝐞 𝐪𝐮𝐚𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐞

The Prime Minister says two rugby players returning from overseas broke compulsory quarantine after coming back to Fiji.

He says like every other person disembarking from international flights, they were required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Bainimarama adds the two rugby players violated the directives, and put their loved ones and all of Fiji at risk.

He says one of them was coming in from Singapore and had a high-risk of exposure to the virus while overseas.

The Prime Minister says after reports he was breaking quarantine, he was actually brought into the hospital in Sigatoka and then he bolted and disappeared, forcing police officers to track him down.

Bainimarama says unlucky for him, he couldn’t step his way past our Fiji Police Force.

The Prime Minister says the player has been arrested, and he is now securely in isolation at Nadi Hospital.

He says last night, they also received another report of a mother who took her family on a fibreglass boat and shipped herself to Wakaya Island.

Police are investigating this alleged breach as well. 




123 people including a church pastor arrested for breaching curfew

By Semi Turaga
Saturday 04/04/2020
[Photo:Fiji Police Force]

123 people were arrested for breaching the curfew from 8 o'clock last night to 5 o'clock this morning.

This includes a Church Pastor who allegedly conducted a wedding ceremony in Nayavu Village in Wainibuka, Tailevu resulting in the gathering of more than 20 people who were arrested after they were allegedly moving around during curfew hours.

Three arrests were also made on the island of Rotuma.

There were 41 arrests in the Eastern Division, 40 in the Southern Division, 31 in the Western Division, 7 in the Central Division and 4 in the Northern Division. Those arrested from last night till this morning will be produced in special court sittings all around Fiji.

Since the start of the curfew there have been 348 arrests nationwide.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says this is a shocking sign of disobedience in a time where they need everyone to listen, obey and comply and restrict movement and gatherings.

He says there's no excuse for anyone to be still found breaching the curfew hours following the stern warning issued by the Prime Minister and the extensive awareness and warnings issued by Police.

Qiliho stresses that people need to realise the seriousness of the situation that we are in as a nation and stay at home unless it is an emergency situation.

The Police Commissioner says the fact that the information about the breaches is coming through via tips, is a testament that many are genuinely concerned about the possible health implications on themselves and their communities and support the importance of restricting movement in light of the latest developments that have resulted in the lockdown of the greater Suva area.




COVID-19: PM acknowledges the hard work of health care workers and Police officers

By Iva Danford
Friday 03/04/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has acknowledged the work of health care workers and police officers in the country who have left their families behind and have moved into and out of the Suva confined area.

In a video message, Bainimarama is calling on the people of Fiji to respect the sacrifice that has been made by them.

Bainimarama says these people are real heroes of Fiji.

Bainimarama says, for the next 14 days, these heroes will be away from their families.

The Prime Minister says these people deserve more than our gratitude and people should respect them and stay at home.

He says people should join him in cheering on our healthcare heroes as they embody the spirit of "veilomani".




FNPF members unemployed for the last 6 months can now withdraw their funds

By Semi Turaga
Friday 03/04/2020
Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Members of FNPF who have been unemployed for the last 6 months can now go and withdraw their funds.

Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says people have called up and said they lost their job last year in November which is not related to COVID-19.

He says they can go and withdraw whatever amount is there in their general account.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the government will not provide a top-up for this because it is not specifically related to COVID-19.

He also says that those who have been terminated in the last 6 months for whatever reason can also withdraw from their FNPF general account.

Sayed-Khaiyum adds that those people who may have resigned can also withdraw after three months from the date of resignation.

Taxi Drivers

He says some taxi drivers have been in touch with them because their hours have been cut down because of curfew and reduction in traffic.

Sayed-Khaiyum says some taxi drivers may actually have their own FNPF accounts because they have worked previously and they can access their funds also.

He says they can also withdraw about $1000 from their general account but there will be no top-up from government.

Sayed-Khaiyum says this is the same for people that drive hired cars.




Fiji Link suspends all flights between Nadi and Suva due to COVID-19 lockdown

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 03/04/2020
[Photo: Fiji Airways]

Fiji Link, Fiji Airways’ domestic subsidiary, has today suspended all flights between Nadi and Suva, due to the lockdown of the Capital City announced by the Fijian Government.

Fiji Airways Managing Director and CEO, Andre Viljoen says scheduled Fiji Link services are no longer available.

Fiji Link says impacted customers can be rest assured that their bookings are safe.

Viljoen says their aircraft will be used for medical or essential supply runs as required.

The ATR fleet is also available for regional charter for freight or evacuation services.

Fiji Airways Sales Offices in Suva and Nadi Airport have closed in light of the present situation.

The Fiji Airways Reservations Centre is available to all Fiji Airways and Fiji Link customers needing assistance.




Right to freedom of movement under the Fijian Constitution can be restricted in the interests of public health - Raj

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 03/04/2020
Director of Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Ashwin Raj

The Director of Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Ashwin Raj says we all have the right to freedom of movement guaranteed under the Fijian Constitution however, this right can be restricted in the interests of public health.

Raj says the requirement to stay at home initially in Lautoka and now Suva is intended to meet a legitimate social need as it is in the interests of public health.

Raj says the written law to allow this is the Public Health Act.

He also says the step taken is proportionate to the social need as it is to prevent widespread infection and to save lives.

Raj also says the restriction impairs the right as little as possible.

The Director also says the human rights implications of COVID-19 is not only limited to rights and freedoms as it pertains to freedom of movement.

Raj says some of the other human rights issues include : the right to freedom of speech, expression and publication and the need to balance that right with responsibility to ensure that what we say is actually fact based, it does not lead to panic and harm and has the effect of compromising national security or resulting in the diminution of rights and freedoms of others, ensuring access to critical information in a timely and transparent manner including its availability in the vernacular and accessible to those with disabilities and those who are on the margins of our society such as the poor.

He says we should ensure that health data is handled with sensitivity and ensuring the right to privacy, address discrimination, racism and xenophobia particularly when people are apportioning blame on individuals for bringing the virus on the basis of their religion, ethnicity, or place of origin or what they eat.

Ashwin Raj also says that we should ensure access to food, water, health care and care giving support in areas that are under lockdown and quarantine, ensure protection of the most vulnerable such as those in places of detention such as prisons and police stations as these places pose a higher risk since everyone is in close proximity and ensure the rights of arrested and detained persons as that can be a challenge in this context given the risks of exposure.

Raj also says we should ensure the rights of children, women, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and the homeless who are disproportionately affected because they might be in situations of vulnerabilities such as domestic violence, abuse, neglect poverty and destitution, ensure access to clean water and sanitation, ensure economic relief for the most vulnerable such as low wage earners and protect our health workers and law enforcement officers who are on the frontline.

Ashwin Raj says COVID-19 will have (and indeed has already had) a disproportionate impact on a broad range of civil and political as well as economic, social and cultural rights and our ability to realise these rights.

He says more than ever, we must stand in solidarity in the face of stigma, discrimination, racism and xenophobia, carefully weigh our actions in the context of the rule of law, our human rights and freedoms and the responsibilities that come with it.




Nearly all shops in Suva City are closed except supermarkets, banks, restaurants and pharmacies

By Dhanjay Deo
Friday 03/04/2020

Nearly all shops in Suva City are closed today except supermarkets some banks, restaurants and pharmacies.

Streets are not empty and people have been seen wandering around. Some have also been seen standing too close to each other next to the ATMs and are not practicing physical distancing.

Some are taking precautions and have been seen wearing masks and gloves.

A number of people have also been seen lining up in front of the Fiji National Provident Fund office.

We also witnessed that while some major eateries remain open in the Capital, more people are using their drive-through to place their orders.




Few taxi operators still servicing the Suva lockdown area - Lal

By Semi Turaga
Friday 03/04/2020

The Fiji Taxi Association has confirmed only a few taxi operators are still servicing the Suva lockdown area from today as all operators have been given the choice to decide whether they still want to continue with their services.

General Secretary Ashwin Lal says the situation is the same in the Lautoka lockdown area.

Lal says even taxis that are operating at the moment are only allowing one or two passengers during a trip.

He says people need to understand that the drivers are taking precautions because they don’t want to get COVID-19 and infect their families.

Lal says most of these drivers are already finishing early because of the curfew from 8 tonight.

Land Transport Authority CEO Samuel Simpson has made it clear that bus operators, taxi and mini bus drivers must enforce the two metres physical distance between the drivers and the passengers in their vehicles.

Simpson says the choice is with the operators, and if they cannot enforce the 2 metres distance between them and the passengers, then they must choose whether to operate or not.

He says this is being done for the safety of the Fijian public as clearly stated by the Health Ministry.

Simpson says if they do not want to be booked, they should make the choice based on their situation.




160 Health Ministry staff who live outside Suva confinement area have moved into designated health facilities in Suva

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Friday 03/04/2020
Doctors at CWM Hospital

160 Ministry of Health officials and staff who live outside the Suva confinement area have moved into designated health facilities in Suva for the duration of the lockdown.

Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete is also urging people to do their part and stay at home unless there is an absolute need to go out.

The greater Suva area is now on lockdown for 14 days.

The lockdown started at 5 o’clock this morning.

Police have closed off entry and exit at the drawn up borders of the Suva confined area.

The closed-off borders are the Delainavesi Bridge checkpoint on the Queen’s Highway, the Sawani Junction checkpoint, and the Rewa Bridge checkpoint.




Two Labasa cops arrested for breaching curfew were allegedly drunk and driving around in private vehicle

By Semi Turaga
Friday 03/04/2020

The two police officers based at the Labasa Police Station who have been arrested for breaching the 10pm to 5am curfew today were allegedly drunk and driving around in a private vehicle.

They have been arrested alongside 58 people in other divisions across the country.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the officers will also face internal disciplinary measures.

28 people were arrested in the Southern Division, 26 were arrested in the Western Division and there were 4 arrests in the Eastern Division and two in the North.

The Police Commissioner has also issued a directive that any officer who is found breaching the measures and restrictions announced by the Prime Minister will be removed from the institution.

He says this will include anyone responsible for social gatherings at Police premises including barracks.

Qiliho says at a time where they are calling for support towards COVID-19, he will not allow Police officers to take advantage of their affiliation to the Fiji Police Force where they think they can abuse their powers during the current situation.




FNPF assistance available for employees affected by Suva lockdown

By Semi Turaga
Friday 03/04/2020
People lining up at FNPF in Suva

If your place of employment is within the Suva or Lautoka lockdown areas and is closed down as the employer is not an essential service, you can access funds of up to $500 from FNPF and if you do not have funds in your FNPF account, the government will supplement that amount.

Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says a classic example is a garment factory.

He says even though you may live within the confined area or space but the garment factory is not going to open, you can access funds of up to $500.

He says those who live outside the lockdown areas but actually work within the lockdown areas and therefore cannot get to work, can withdraw $500 from FNPF or the government will provide the assistance.

The same applies for those who live within the lockdown area but your place of work is outside the lockdown area.

The applications of the affected employees are to be done online to FNPF by the employers.




60 people were arrested during the curfew hours from 10pm to 5am including two Police Officers

By Semi Turaga
Friday 03/04/2020

Sixty people including two police officers were arrested for breaching the curfew hours from 10 o’clock last night to 5 o’clock this morning.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho has directed that the two police officers based at the Labasa Police Station be charged and produced in court like every other Fijian that has been arrested for breaching the nationwide curfew.

The officers will also face internal disciplinary measures.

28 people were arrested in the Southern Division, 26 were arrested in the Western Division and there were 4 arrests in the Eastern Division and two in the North.

The Police Commissioner has also issued a directive that any officer who is found breaching the measures and restrictions announced by the Prime Minister will be removed from the institution.

He says this will include anyone responsible for social gatherings at Police premises including Barracks.

Qiliho says at a time where they are calling for support towards COVID-19, he will not allow Police officers to take advantage of their affiliation to the Fiji Police Force where they think they can abuse their powers during the current situation.




COVID-19: PM announces lockdown of Suva after confirmation of 2 new cases in Nabua

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 02/04/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has announced the lockdown of Suva after confirmation of 2 new cases in Nabua

The greater Suva area is now on lockdown for 14 days.

The lockdown started at 5 o’clock this morning.

Police have closed off entry and exit at the drawn-up borders of the Suva confined area.

The closed-off borders are the Delainavesi Bridge checkpoint on the Queen’s Highway, the Sawani Junction checkpoint, and the Rewa Bridge checkpoint.

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Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama announced the lockdown of Suva and new nationwide curfew hours after the confirmation that two people from Nabua are the latest patients to have tested positive for COVID-19.

Bainimarama says within the greater Suva confined area, the greater public will not be allowed in or out, only those travelling for medical purposes will be allowed through checkpoints.

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All non-essential businesses will be closed.

Bainimarama says supermarkets and shops selling food will remain open so that people can buy food.

Restaurants can remain open, so long as they cut seating capacity below 20 people, practice safe physical distancing between tables and at queues, and must focus on takeaway and delivery orders.

Banks and pharmacies will remain open. Essential business will remain open. Just like Lautoka, that list includes air and rescue services, air traffic control services, civil aviation, telecommunication services, food and sanitary manufacturing plants, electricity services, emergency services, fire services, health and hospital services, lighthouse services, meteorological services, mine pumping, ventilation and winding, sanitary services, supply and distribution of fuel and gas, power, telecommunications, garbage collection, transport services, water and sewage services, FNPF and FRCS, civil service, private security services and roading services.

Bainimarama says if your business is not on the list, close it down.

The Prime Minister says for civil servants, they should continue to go to work unless the Permanent Secretary has informed you to work from home.

Markets will remain open but they are decentralising markets into satellite markets to prevent dangerous overcrowding that spurs the spread of the virus; and given some Fijians need to seek specialised treatment at facilities in Suva, the checkpoints will allow these individuals who need to undergo surgery or receive kidney dialysis treatment. In order to ensure residents in the greater Suva area can access life-sustaining services, the port of Suva will remain open for international freight shipping and inter-island cargo shipping; any passenger travel, however, remains forbidden.

The government will also implement the same Agriculture Marketing Authority arrangement they have introduced in the Lautoka confined area to get food and produce into the Suva confined area.

At all three checkpoints, suppliers can arrange with a police driver to ensure the produce still comes into Suva. The Prime Minister also says that food and essential goods will remain on the shelves of our shops and supermarkets.

He stresses to people not to run to the supermarkets and buy up goods as doing so will crowd these stores and put every shopper at-risk.

Contacts of the couple

The contact tracing teams are now identifying all of their close contacts and directing them into self-quarantine.

The Prime Minister says they identified a contact who lived at home with these two patients after returning from India as the likeliest transmitter of the virus.

The man has been placed into isolation in Labasa Hospital. The test result of the man is expected to be out soon.

Voreqe Bainimarama says the two new cases are the most serious developments to-date.

He says unlike the other case in the Suva area who was immediately self-quarantined and then isolated, there is a high risk these patients have infected others, as they not only lived in close contact with other families in their settlement but served in very public-facing job.

Both patients worked as hairdressers, one at the Jade Salon at FNPF Plaza and the other at the Super Cuts in Damodar City Suva.

Bainimarama says the Health Ministry has been informed both individuals stopped working from the 28th of March, but witness accounts have thrown those accounts into doubt.

He says the government needs to respond as if both individuals were working while showing symptoms and take assertive action to contain the virus.

New curfew hours

The Prime Minister has announced that the nationwide curfew will be from 8pm to 5am from tonight.

Voreqe Bainimarama says if you are travelling for work or as a result of a medical emergency, you can travel during these hours.

He stresses that otherwise, don’t add your name to the ever-growing list of violators.

Also from today, social gatherings will be banned entirely, everywhere in Fiji.

Bainimarama says the 20 person limit now applies only to the workplace.

He says two people, three people, it doesn’t matter, no more social gatherings.

The Prime Minister also says do not have visitors over to your homes.

Your interactions should be limited entirely to those already living in your households.

If you’re missing a friend or loved one, do the safe thing and call them on the phone.

If you need to walk around or exercise you may do so, but keep a safe distance of two metres from other people while outside.

He also says bus operators, drivers, and riders must take measures to ensure physical distancing is practiced on all of Fiji’s buses.

Changes to Lautoka lockdown

The Prime Minister has announced that restaurants in Lautoka can now operate, so long as they follow the safety guidelines, focusing on safe physical distancing and takeaway and delivery services.

Voreqe Bainimarama says the boundaries of the confined area will be open to those who are seeking emergency medical care or kidney dialysis.

Under close police escort, these individuals travel from the checkpoints directly to Lautoka Hospital.

Two confirmed cases

The sixth case is a 21-year-old hairdresser and the seventh case is her 33-year-old husband who is a barber.

Bainimarama says the two individuals are a couple living together in the Nabua Settlement in Suva.

The 21-year-old woman developed symptoms on Saturday, the 28th of March.

She informed the Ministry of Health on the 1st of April.

Bainimarama says the teams visited her home and tested her that same day.

Her partner, the 33-year-old husband reported symptoms on the 31st of March.

He was tested the same day as his wife.

The Prime Minister says it is important to note that the symptoms of these two newest cases started with just a runny nose when they called the Ministry of Health for testing.

Bainimarama stresses if you have any symptoms at all, even something as minor as a runny nose, immediately dial 158, which is the 24-hour toll-free coronavirus helpline.

He confirms that both patients have been transported securely and hygienically in an ambulance to the Navua Hospital Isolation Ward where both are in stable condition.

The couple shared a home with their daughter and she has been taken into isolation as well.

War On COVID-19

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says we cannot afford to lose the war against this virus.

Bainimarama says they know most Fijians are following and respecting the rules they have put in place but too many still aren’t.

He says if you have been sitting in Suva feeling as if this virus is not your problem, or that somehow your behaviour does not need to change, get a grip.

Bainimarama says this virus is here and it is serious.

He says anyone, anywhere could be a carrier.

Bainimarama says if people follow the government’s directives, they will lock this virus down and win this war. If people don’t, many people will die.

Health Ministry Leak

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says some of these two COVID-19 patients’ personal details were unfortunately leaked to the public.

Bainimarama says the Ministry of Health staff are devastated that someone is leaking confidential information.

He says these leaks have made the ministry’s jobs far more difficult and every time people on Facebook share this leaked information, they do so at the expense of the doctors, nurses and other medical staff trying their absolute best to inform the public in an accurate and timely manner.

Police are currently investigating this matter when they find whoever did the leak, they will be taken to task.

Source: World Health Organization




Greater Suva area to be locked down for 14 days after confirmation of 2 new cases in Nabua

By fijivillage
Thursday 02/04/2020
PM Voreqe Bainimarama make major COVID-19 announcement

Two new cases of COVID-19 in Fiji as announced by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

They are a couple from Nabua.

21-year-old wife developed symptoms on Saturday 28th March.

Partner developed symptoms on Tuesday 31st March.

Symptoms started with a running nose.

Immediately dial 158 if you're showing symptoms.

Contact tracing has begun.

Two new cases are unrelated to the past 5 cases.

There is a high risk these two new cases have infected others.

Both patients are hairdressers.

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Greater Suva area will be locked down.

91889859-683501039145967-4972598403847421952-n

From 5am today- the Greater Suva Area from Delainavesi Bridge to Sawani Junction and Nausori Bridge.

Nationwide curfew will start at 8pm till 5am from tonight.

Source: World Health Organization




Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to make major COVID-19 announcement at 3:30pm today

By fijivillage
Thursday 02/04/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama to make major COVID-19 announcement.

The announcement is at 3:30pm today.

Stay with Fijivillage for live coverage.




Family of 3 quarantined at Navua Hospital Isolation Ward

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 02/04/2020
Navua Hospital

A family of three from Nabua Muslim League settlement along Ratu Mara Road is currently quarantined at the Navua Hospital Isolation Ward.

They were taken to Navua this morning while a contact tracing team is at the settlement this hour.

Fijivillage has also received confirmation that the father of the man currently being quarantined in Navua, is in self quarantine in Labasa after returning from India.

We are also receiving reports that Police and Health Ministry officials are currently at the squatter settlement in Nabua.

The man in quarantine in Navua is a barber from Suva while his wife is a hairdresser. Their child is also in quarantine.

We will have more soon.

Four people from Fiji are likely to be blacklisted by India

Meanwhile four people from Fiji are likely to be blacklisted by India amongst the 300 foreigners who went to India from 16 countries, on tourist visas but attended an Islamic congregation at Nizamuddin that has become a key source for the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

We are awaiting comments from the Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete on the whereabouts of these four people from Fiji, whether they have arrived in Fiji and are in self isolation and what steps are being taken as we speak.

Stay with us for developments regarding this.

Times of India has reported that India’s Union Home Ministry official has said that these foreigners were among around 8,000 people who attended the Tabligh-e-Jamaat at Nizamuddin Markaz facility in March, many of whom have shown symptoms of COVID-19.

About 30 of those who attended the Nizamuddin event in mid-March tested positive and at least three have succumbed to the infection in the last few days.

The Union Home ministry official said those who went on tourist visa to India but attended the Nizamuddin event stands being in the blacklist as they have violated the visa conditions. He says tourist visa holders can't attend religious functions. If a foreigner is put in the Home ministry's blacklist, he or she can't travel to India in future.

A total of 281 foreigners were found by the police at the Nizamuddin campus. They include the 4 people from Fiji, 19 people from Nepal, 20 people from Malaysia, one from Afghanistan, 33 from Myanmar, one from Algeria, one from Djibouti, 28 from Kyrgystan, 72 from Indonesia, 7 from Thailand, 34 from Sri Lanka, 19 from Bangladesh, 3 from England, 1 from Singapore, 1 from France and 1 from Kuwait.




Contact tracing of the two new cases and person of interest underway- Dr Tudravu

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Thursday 02/04/2020
Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Jemesa Tudravu

Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Jemesa Tudravu has stated that their contact tracing team is following on the leads on the two new cases and also a person of interest who is linked to the couple.

Dr. Tudravu says the person of interest who has travel history from India, has also been travelling around the country.

He says their team is also working hard in trying to find all the people the two new cases got into contact with in Nadi.




Health Ministry in the process of tracking people from Fiji who who were part of a recent gathering in India

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 02/04/2020
Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete

The Health Ministry is in the process of tracking down 2 people who attended an Islamic congregation at Nizamuddin that has become a key source for the spread of COVID-19 in India.

Fijivillage has received information that they have tracked down 2 people while they are in the process of tracking down another 2.

One of the people already tracked down is understood to be in isolation at the Labasa Hospital.

Times of India has already reported that the four people from Fiji are likely to be blacklisted by India amongst the 300 foreigners who went to India from 16 countries, on tourist visas but attended the congregation at Nizamuddin.

We are awaiting comments from the Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete on the whereabouts of these people from Fiji, whether they have arrived in Fiji and are in self isolation and what steps are being taken as we speak.

Stay with us for developments regarding this.

Times of India has reported that India’s Union Home Ministry official has said that these foreigners were among around 8,000 people who attended the Tabligh-e-Jamaat at Nizamuddin Markaz facility in March, many of whom have shown symptoms of COVID-19.

About 30 of those who attended the Nizamuddin event in mid-March tested positive and at least three have succumbed to the infection in the last few days.

The Union Home ministry official said those who went on tourist visa to India but attended the Nizamuddin event stands being in the blacklist as they have violated the visa conditions.

He says tourist visa holders can't attend religious functions.

If a foreigner is put in the Home ministry's blacklist, he or she can't travel to India in future.

A total of 281 foreigners were found by the police at the Nizamuddin campus.

They include the 4 people from Fiji, 19 people from Nepal, 20 people from Malaysia, one from Afghanistan, 33 from Myanmar, one from Algeria, one from Djibouti, 28 from Kyrgystan, 72 from Indonesia, 7 from Thailand, 34 from Sri Lanka, 19 from Bangladesh, 3 from England, 1 from Singapore, 1 from France and 1 from Kuwait.




Person who was in close contact with two new cases of COVID-19 has been tested - Dr. Waqainabete

By Naveel Krishant
Thursday 02/04/2020
Health Minister Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete

Health Minister Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete says that the test of the person who was in close contact with the two new patients of COVID-19 has been done.

The man is in the isolation ward at the Labasa Hospital.

Dr. Waqainabete says the test is being sent to the Fiji Centre for Disease Control in Tamavua.

He adds that they will be running the test this afternoon and until then they cannot really comment on whether the test is positive or negative.

Dr. Waqainabete says that the person remains a person of interest.




Changes to Lautoka lockdown

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 02/04/2020

The Prime Minister has announced that restaurants in Lautoka can now operate, so long as they follow the safety guidelines, focusing on safe physical distancing and takeaway and delivery services.

Voreqe Bainimarama says the boundaries of the confined area will be open to those who are seeking emergency medical care or kidney dialysis.

Under close police escort, these individuals travel from the checkpoints directly to Lautoka Hospital.




New curfew hours

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 02/04/2020

The Prime Minister has announced that the nationwide curfew will be from 8pm to 5am from tomorrow night.

Voreqe Bainimarama says if you are travelling for work or as a result of a medical emergency, you can travel during these hours.

He stresses that otherwise, don’t add your name to the ever-growing list of violators. Also from tomorrow, social gatherings will be banned entirely, everywhere in Fiji.

Bainimarama says the 20 person limit now applies only to the workplace.

91427989-662527671244834-4243770963709132800-n

He says two people, three people, it doesn’t matter, no more social gatherings.

91889859-683501039145967-4972598403847421952-n

The Prime Minister also says do not have visitors over to your homes.

Your interactions should be limited entirely to those already living in your households.

If you’re missing a friend or loved one, do the safe thing and call them on the phone.

If you need to walk around or exercise you may do so, but keep a safe distance of two metres from other people while outside.

He also says bus operators, drivers, and riders must take measures to ensure physical distancing is practiced on all of Fiji’s buses.





Suva on lockdown from today

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 02/04/2020
Suva lockdown map

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says all of the greater Suva area will be going on lockdown from 5am today for 14 days.

Bainimarama says this is a tactic that the government is embracing because it has proven effective in containing the spread of COVID-19.

He says they have drawn up the borders of a Suva confined area, and they will be closing off entry and exit from 5am today at the Delavanesi Bridge checkpoint on the Queen’s Highway, the Sawani Junction checkpoint, and the Rewa Bridge checkpoint.

The Prime Minister says within the greater Suva confined area, the greater public will not be allowed in or out, only those travelling for medical purposes will be allowed through checkpoints.

All non-essential businesses will be closed.

Bainimarama says supermarkets and shops selling food will remain open so that people can buy food.

Restaurants can remain open, so long as they cut seating capacity below 20 people, practice safe physical distancing between tables and at queues, and must focus on takeaway and delivery orders.

Banks and pharmacies will remain open.

Essential business will remain open.

Just like Lautoka, that list includes air and rescue services, air traffic control services, civil aviation, telecommunication services, food and sanitary manufacturing plants, electricity services, emergency services, fire services, health and hospital services, lighthouse services, meteorological services, mine pumping, ventilation and winding, sanitary services, supply and distribution of fuel and gas, power, telecommunications, garbage collection, transport services, water and sewage services, FNPF and FRCS, civil service, private security services and roading services.

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Bainimarama says if your business is not on the list, close it down.

The Prime Minister says for civil servants, they should continue to go to work unless their Permanent Secretary has informed you to work from home.

Markets will remain open but they are decentralising markets into satellite markets to prevent dangerous overcrowding that spurs the spread of the virus; and given some Fijians need to seek specialised treatment at facilities in Suva, the checkpoints will allow these individuals who need to undergo surgery or receive kidney dialysis treatment.

In order to ensure residents in the greater Suva area can access life-sustaining services, the port of Suva will remain open for international freight shipping and inter-island cargo shipping; any passenger travel, however, remains forbidden.

The government will also implement the same Agriculture Marketing Authority arrangement they have introduced in the Lautoka confined area to get food and produce into the Suva confined area.

At all three checkpoints, suppliers can arrange with a police driver to ensure the produce still comes into Suva. The Prime Minister also says that food and essential goods will remain on the shelves of our shops and supermarkets.

He stresses to people not to run to the supermarkets and buy up goods this afternoon as doing so will crowd these stores and put every shopper at-risk.




Nabua Muslim League settlement along Ratu Mara Road and access into settlement cordoned off

By Vijay Narayan, Semi Turaga
Thursday 02/04/2020
Nabua Muslim League settlement along Ratu Mara Road and access into the settlement cordoned off

Police and Health Ministry officers are on the ground at Nabua Muslim League settlement along Ratu Mara Road and access into the settlement has been cordoned off.

We can also confirm that a house in the settlement has also been cordoned off.

This follows the quarantining of the family of 3 in Navua.

The family was taken from the settlement to the Navua Isolation Facility this morning.

Stay with us for developments.




Festival of Ram Naumi cancelled for the first time in Fiji due to COVID-19

By Rashika Kumar
Thursday 02/04/2020
Ram Naumi celebrations in 2019

Hindu’s for many years have been celebrating the festival of Ram Naumi together in their communities but for the first time, Fijians are not celebrating the 9 days on a grand scale due to COVID-19.

There is a ban on a gathering of more than 20 people which has resulted in the celebration of the festival to shift to a much smaller scale.

Shree Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha of Fiji President Sarju Prasad says this has not dampened the spirit of the festival as more people are now celebrating Ram Naumi in their homes.

Prasad is also urging Hindu’s to practice social distancing during the celebrations and also ensure that people do not share utensils such as cups, bilos or spoons and plates.

This is the year our sister Radio Station, Radio Sargam aired Ram Katha or Ramayan recitals for 8 nights which will culminate in a 2-hour special from 11am to conclude the festival.

Radio Navtarang and Sargam Content Director Satya Nand says people will get the opportunity to take part in the festivities from their own homes as people can not gather in crowds due to the danger of COVID-29.

The program has been sponsored by Ashabhai and Kelvin Realtors.

Source: World Health Organization




48 more people arrested for breaching 10pm-5am curfew

By Semi Turaga
Thursday 02/04/2020
[Photo:Fiji Police Force]

48 more people were arrested for breaching the curfew from 10 o’clock last night to 5 o’clock this morning and many of those arrested were either returning from a social gathering or a kava session at friends or relatives place.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the rest of those arrested could not give any reason as to why they had lost track of the time and were caught out during the curfew hours.

There were 18 arrests in the Western Division, 16 in the South Division, 6 in the East, 5 in the Central and 3 in the North.

Qiliho says it's the third day since the enforcement of the nationwide curfew, and we have found that the main reason behind the high number of arrests, is due to sheer laxity and a no care attitude.

He says as well as the static checkpoints erected at strategic locations throughout the country, increased mobile patrols continues as reports come in of people not adhering to the curfew and are moving around in areas outside of where the roadblocks have been erected.

Qiliho’s message to those still deliberately breaching the curfew hours is we will get you, as our mobile patrols have been beefed up.

The Police Commissioner is urging members of the public to contact the National Police Command and Control Centre on 9905 296 or their nearest Divisional Police Command Centers and report those that are breaching the curfew hours, as we need to work together to fight COVID-19.

Source: World Health Organization




Housing Authority and Public Rental Board announces COVID-19 relief package for affected customers

By Naveel Krishant
Thursday 02/04/2020
Minister for Housing Premila Kumar

The Housing Authority and Public Rental Board has announced a COVID-19 relief package for affected customers.

Minister for Housing Premila Kumar says that Housing Authority customers affected by COVID-19 have a few options they can choose from.

Kumar says for the next three months they can choose a loan repayment holiday, change the contract whereby the loan repayment can be extended and the amount can be reduced.

The Minister adds that they can also have interest only payment option and extend the contract and get a repayment holiday.

Kumar further says that the Public Rental Board has the option to defer the rental payment.

The Minister says the boards will be doing a monthly review of the situation.

More to follow.

Source: World Health Organization




COVID-19: Lockdown for the greater Lautoka area will remain until 5am Tuesday April 7th

By Vijay Narayan, Naveel Krishant
Wednesday 01/04/2020
Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete

The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Fiji remains at 5 and there have been no new cases for 7 days now.

Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says a total of 368 tests have been conducted so far at the Fiji Centres for Disease Control in Tamavua.

Doctor Waqainabete also confirms that the greater Lautoka area will remain on lockdown until 5am Tuesday April 7th as the last confirmed case from Lautoka was identified on March 23rd. That was the 31-year-old woman who had gone to a Zumba session with the first confirmed patient.

He says they have identified all the close contacts of the woman and they are in self-isolation.

However, there is still a risk she could have infected others.

Doctor Waqainabete says if they lift the restrictions too early and they have missed someone in Lautoka who has contracted the virus, then the rest of Viti Levu could be at risk.

He also says that there were gaps in the information provided by the first patient who had COVID-19 in Fiji.

This means that there is still a risk that someone may have COVID-19 in the Lautoka area.

He adds that they also consulted the experts when making this decision.

Source: World Health Organization




Agriculture Marketing Authority is not here to make profit and are not overcharging market vendors in Lautoka lock-down area - Reddy

By Iva Danford, Violet Matakibau
Wednesday 01/04/2020
Minister for Agriculture Dr. Mahendra Reddy

Minister for Agriculture Dr. Mahendra Reddy confirms that the Agriculture Marketing Authority is not in the business of making profits at this time and are not overcharging market vendors in the Lautoka lock-down area.

This comes after market vendors in Lautoka said that the Agriculture Marketing Authority is increasing prices of root crops and vegetables when selling to vendors which is resulting in the high prices of vegetables and root crops at the Lautoka Market.

Dr. Reddy says these are not normal times and the Authority is solely there to ensure that those in the lock-down area have access to adequate supply of fresh produce by getting the vegetables past the border.

He says the vendors in Lautoka are increasing the prices after buying them at reasonable prices from the Agriculture Marketing Authority. Dr. Reddy says this is also happening because local vegetables are not under price control.

Source: World Health Organization




Lockington and Narayan spearhead initiative in Lautoka to assist people in need

By Vijay Narayan, Iva Danford, Shanil Singh
Wednesday 01/04/2020
Lautoka resident Allen Lockington distributing cartons of food to another resident in Lautoka

As people of Lautoka continue with the second week of lockdown, more assistance has come through for those who are in desperate need of food and other essential items.

This is for people who have been living from pay to pay and cannot go to work as their job site is outside the lockdown area, they have been laid off or their working hours have been reduced.

Times have been tough for some families due to job losses and reduced hours.

For people who are sole bread-winners in their families, they have been trying to make ends meet however it has been difficult.

The FNPF and government assistance packages are now rolling out but people are also wondering what will happen if the COVID-19 crisis continues and the businesses do not start getting workers back for some time.

Two men are spearheading an initiative in Lautoka to assist those in need. They are Lautoka businessman Narayan Reddy and resident Allen Lockington who have assisted more than 200 households in the past 3 days in the interior of Lautoka.

Lautoka Ratepayers and Residents Association Acting President, Allen Lockington says they received a call about a woman and her 4 children in Saru in Lautoka after her husband lost his job.

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Lautoka resident Allen Lockington [R] distributing cartons of food to another resident in Lautoka

Lockington says her husband had gone to town to look for work but he could not find anything to do. He says the family had nothing and they were overjoyed to get about $60 worth of groceries.

Reddy says they are focused on helping out villages and settlements which includes Lovu settlement, Drasa settlement and the villages of Lawaki, Lomolomo and Vitogo village.

He says they have received donations from people in Suva and Lautoka.

Reddy says they are doing this as friends and to uplift people’s lives.




Qiliho directs officers to arrest people found loitering in public places outside of the nationwide curfew hours

By Dhanjay Deo
Wednesday 01/04/2020
Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho. [Image: File]

Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho says officers have been directed to arrest people found loitering in public places outside of the nationwide curfew hours.

This follows serious concerns received about people continuing to gather in numbers and are not adhering to physical distancing measures particularly in public places.

Qiliho says the directive issued to the five Divisional Police Commanders this morning is to start arresting and charging people for loitering outside the curfew hours of 10pm to 5am.

Qiliho says with the announcement of the extension of school holidays for another two weeks, parents and guardians must at all times ensure that their children are at home, and not loitering around places where they should not be.

The Police Commissioner says the message about physical distancing and unnecessary gatherings which has been reiterated time and time again by the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, is clearly being taken lightly.

Qiliho says they must continue to take all necessary precautionary measures and has reiterated the words of the Prime Minister, where he stated that every person in Fiji should act as if anyone, anywhere could be a carrier of COVID-19, and for everyone to recognise that they have a role to play in defeating this virus for good.




Close to 500 people are currently under quarantine due to COVID-19 - Tudravu

By Naveel Krishant
Wednesday 01/04/2020
Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Jemesa Tudravu

Close to 500 people are currently under quarantine at the moment due to COVID-19 at their homes or quarantine facilities.

This has been highlighted by the Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Jemesa Tudravu who says that they are also continuing their quarantine enforcement in all divisions.

Dr. Tudravu says their teams are working hard that these people are visited and assessed during the quarantine time.

He adds that they are working with Divisional Commissioners to set-up community isolation facilities as part of their preparedness plans.

Dr. Tudravu says they are grateful to schools, institutions and organizations that have stepped forward to help their teams to ensure that they get these facilities set-up.

Dr. Tudravu also adds that there are 37 fever clinics in the country.

He is urging people with fever and flu like symptoms to visit the fever clinics.

Dr. Tudravu says they are also continuing the contact tracing of all confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Fiji.

This also includes contact tracing of the New Zealand man who developed symptoms after returning to NZ from Fiji.

Source: World Health Organization




30 teams of medical staff will be going through the area of containment in Lautoka today - Waqainabete

By Dhanjay Deo
Wednesday 01/04/2020
Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete

Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says from today 30 teams of medical staff and other agencies supporting them will be comprehensively going through the area of containment in Lautoka to make sure they are not missing anything.

The greater Lautoka area will remain on lockdown until 5am Tuesday, April 7th.

He says he feels for everyone who are facing challenges in Lautoka but they need to take the step to keep Lautoka on lockdown for the next few days.

Source: World Health Organization




Consumers urged to avoid lingering in supermarkets as a safety measure against COVID-19

By Antonio Rahiman
Wednesday 01/04/2020
Shoppers at a supermarket in Suva. [image: File]

Consumers are now being urged to avoid lingering in supermarkets as a safety measure against COVID-19 and the Consumer Council is also encouraging consumers to opt for cashless payment methods as money that has exchanged hands several times while in circulation may not be the best option at this time.

The Consumer Council of Fiji says while understanding many consumers will have to shop for provisions and food, it is advisable that consumers create a shopping list to ensure they do not spend extended periods in supermarkets.

CEO Seema Shandil says reduced time in shops and supermarkets also means less physical contact with others.



Shandil urges consumers to avoid going shopping in large groups. She says when you are planning your shopping, make sure you tell your family members that it is not the time for a family outing.

Shandil says go alone or just go with another person if required.




Westpac’s COVID-19 Customer Support

By Shanil Singh
Wednesday 01/04/2020
Westpac Fiji Chief Executive Kip Hanna

Westpac Fiji customers who have been affected by COVID-19 will be given a repayment holiday (principal and interest) up to six months on their home loans, personal loans and business loans.

This will be done on a case by case basis.

Westpac Fiji say customers who can provide evidence they have been impacted through COVID-19 by the loss of employment, reduced hours, enforced leave without pay and business closure are entitled to this.

However interest will be accumulated over the number of months a customer takes to pay their loan.

Westpac Fiji Chief Executive, Kip Hanna this is a once in a lifetime event and a united response by government, regulators and corporate Fiji is exactly what they need, and what has been put in place.

Hanna says they are determined to help their customers through this uncertain situation.

He says at this challenging time, they remain very conscious of the important role they play and their focus is on ensuring they continue to support their customers.




BSP arranging reliefs packages to assist customers who have been affected by COVID-19

By Dhanjay Deo
Wednesday 01/04/2020

Bank of South Pacific says it is arranging relief packages on a case by case basis to assist customers who have been affected by the evolving nature of COVID-19.

BSP Fiji says for personal loans, there will be six months principal and interest holiday.

For car loans, there will be six months principal and interest holiday. There will be a repayment holiday of up to 6 months on credit cards and six months principal and interest holiday on home loans.

It says maturity term will be extended by a commensurate term of the suspended repayment period.

BSP Fiji says for business customers, there will be principal and interest holidays for up to six months.




Reddy urges market vendors not to take advantage of the lockdown situation in Lautoka

By Violet Matakibau
Wednesday 01/04/2020
Minister of Agriculture Dr. Mahendra Reddy

Minister of Agriculture Dr. Mahendra Reddy is urging market vendors, not to take advantage of the lockdown situation in Lautoka and start hiking up prices.

The Minister has cautioned market vendors in Lautoka if this practice continues then the relevant marketing authorities together with the Ministry of Agriculture will set up retail tables around the market area and retail vegetables to the consumers.

Dr. Reddy has ensured everyone in Lautoka that Lautoka will have fresh vegetables throughout the lockdown period.

Dr. Reddy says they will continue supplying vegetables to the markets in the greater Lautoka area.

He urges vendors to exercise caution in terms of how much markup they are imposing on vegetables.




Fiji Police to use drones to help with COVID-19 operations

By Semi Turaga
Wednesday 01/04/2020
Drones have been acquired by the Fiji Police Force [Photo: Fiji Police Force Facebook]

Two drones have been acquired by the Fiji Police Force to help with their operations.

Police say the drones were procured from Drone Services Fiji.

Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the timing could not have been better considering the need to have more eyes on the ground during COVID-19 and routine Police operations.




49 people arrested for breaching curfew from 10pm-5am throughout Fiji

By Semi Turaga
Wednesday 01/04/2020
[Photo:Fiji Police Force]

Another 49 people were arrested for breaching the curfew from 10 o’clock last night to 5 o’clock this morning throughout Fiji.

There were 18 arrests in the Western Division, 12 in the Southern Division, 10 in the Eastern Division, 5 in the North and 4 in the Central Division.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says majority of those arrested were found loitering in public places while some continued to move around without any proper documentation of authorization from their employers.

There were also 68 people that were arrested yesterday.

People that do not follow the 10pm-5am daily curfew can face up to 2 years imprisonment if they are convicted for Disobedience of Lawful Order.

Under Section 202 of the Crimes Act, everyone who disobeys any order, warrant or command duly made, issued or given by any court, officer or person acting in any public capacity and duly authorised in that behalf, commits a summary offence.

The penalty is imprisonment for 2 years, unless any other penalty or mode of proceeding is expressly prescribed by law in respect of such disobedience.




Civil servants in non-essential areas in govt ministries will be advised tomorrow if they have to work from home

By Vijay Narayan, Dhanjay Deo
Tuesday 31/03/2020
Attorney General and Minister for Civil Service Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Attorney General and Minister for Civil Service Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has announced a work from home civil servants’ guideline which will be rolled out from tomorrow after a meeting with the Permanent Secretaries.

This is for workers in different ministries who can work from home.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the Permanent Secretaries will make the necessary decisions on the staff to work from home.

He says there are many ministries where people do not have to sit in the office. Sayed-Khaiyum says these people can work from home.

The Attorney General says the Permanent Secretaries will track the work of those employees working remotely.

Sayed-Khaiyum also stresses that civil servants cannot call members of the public to meet at their homes.

He also says this will in no way diminish the delivery of government services to the people of Fiji.

The Attorney General has also announced that people can still go to the Births, Deaths and Marriages Office, get fishing licenses the Ministry of Fisheries and people can still lodge development plans at the Office of Town and Country Planning.

The work from home directive was made by Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama as a COVID-19 preventative measure.




People should not be lining up outside the FNPF Offices if they require the COVID-19 Assistance

By Navitalai Naivalurua
Tuesday 31/03/2020
Fiji National Provident Fund CEO Jaoji Koroi

People should not be lining up outside the Fiji National Provident Fund Offices if they require the COVID-19 Assistance.

This has been stressed by FNPF CEO, Jaoji Koroi who says that members can check if they are eligible for the assistance on the FNPF website or with their employers, and then fill out the application with the employer.

He says these forms will then be loaded to the FNPF online portal by the employers from tomorrow.

The list of affected companies is already on the FNPF website.

The FNPF CEO says they are looking at assisting 45,000 affected employees.

Koroi says members will only need to provide their bank statement and a valid photo ID to the employer to complete their application.

The employer will have to provide details on whether the employee has lost their job or is on reduced hours.

People who do not live in the Lautoka Confined Area and are not working in the tourism sector but have also lost their jobs due to COVID-19 can access their unemployment assistance.

Jaoji Koroi says these members will be able to withdraw $1,000.

91211059-587754445149114-4625098900645085184-n

Meanwhile the $1,000 COVID-19 assistance will be provided to those that have been affected in the tourism sector.

Those impacted by the physical distancing restriction and members working in the lock-down area in Lautoka can also withdraw $500 from their general accounts.

This will only be done through their employers.

The government will top up funds for those members who do not have enough money in their general FNPF accounts.

He says FNPF is expected to provide $40 million from members’ funds and the government is expected to provide $60 million.



2 weeks school holidays has been extended by the Minister for Education

By Naveel Krishant
Tuesday 31/03/2020
Students at a Fiji scondary school during classes

The 2 weeks school holidays has been extended by the Minister for Education, Rosy Akbar.

Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says Akbar has announced that the school holidays has been extended to 17th April.

Akbar says the Ministry will closely monitor the situation regarding COVID-19 and advise people on the school resumption date.

The Ministry will be releasing a set of planned supplementary activities through their Schools Broadcasting Unit as well as their official website and social media page.

The Education Ministry encourages people to share this information widely.

Rosy Akbar adds the Ministry will realign the school terms, reassess the curriculum and reschedule examinations.

Akbar has stated that the safety and well-being of children, teachers and their families are paramount and cannot be put at undue risk.

She says the Ministry of Education will take necessary steps to ensure the quality of students’ education will not be compromised when schools commence.

Meanwhile, the Student Free Days Programme for teachers has been temporarily suspended for term two.

The Ministry requests that all children be kept at home as much as possible as the Fijian public continues to practice physical distancing to prevent the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus. During this period, students will still not be allowed to use the government subsidised blue bus cards.

Akbar also reiterated the imperative role parents and guardians play in inculcating good values and virtues and honing lifelong skills in their children.

She also emphasised the need for parents to instruct their children on the importance of handwashing with soap and water on a regular basis.




People that do not follow the daily curfew can face up to 2 years imprisonment if they are convicted for Disobedience of Lawful Order

By Semi Turaga
Tuesday 31/03/2020

People that do not follow the 10pm-5am daily curfew can face up to 2 years imprisonment if they are convicted for Disobedience of Lawful Order.

Under Section 202 of the Crimes Act, everyone who disobeys any order, warrant or command duly made, issued or given by any court, officer or person acting in any public capacity and duly authorised in that behalf, commits a summary offence.

The penalty is imprisonment for 2 years, unless any other penalty or mode of proceeding is expressly prescribed by law in respect of such disobedience.




A whole of the nation approach is needed to continue to fight COVID-19 - Waqainabete

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 31/03/2020
Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete

Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says a whole of the nation approach is needed to continue to keep the COVID-19 cases at a minimum amount, and Fiji still has 5 confirmed cases with no new cases despite 357 tests.

Doctor Waqainabete says this is a test for Fiji to keep the confirmed cases down. He says having no new cases for the last 6 days will not be of any help if people in the country do not follow the preventative measures.

Doctor Waqainabete also says people have to play their part in combating COVID-19.

He reiterates the Prime Minister’s message to break the stigma around those who are seeking care.

The Health Minister says these are already scary times, and it may be intimidating to visit our health centres particularly the new fever clinics. But anyone who has a fever, even if they do not have a recent travel history, should visit one of the fever clinics, and encourage your loved ones and neighbours to do the same.

The Prime Minister has also said that this is particularly important as Fiji enters the flu season, a virus that shares many of the symptoms of COVID-19.

The Health Minister says that there is no shame in being sick. He says there is no shame in having the flu, a fever, or coronavirus. Doctor Waqainabete says by seeking treatment for your sickness, and by reporting your symptoms as soon as they develop, you are being incredibly responsible, and you are looking out for more than yourself; you’re taking care of those around you, and you’re taking care of those you love. Doctor Waqainabete says the numbers will not sky-rocket in Fiji if people do the right thing.




Farmer who allegedly breached the Lautoka lockdown to see girlfriend granted bail

By Shanil Singh
Tuesday 31/03/2020

The 23-year old farmer who is alleged to have breached the Lautoka lockdown by going to Rakiraki to see his girlfriend has been granted bail by the Rakiraki Magistrates Court.

Police say it is alleged that Charlie Wakeham trekked on foot for about 30 kilometres through the forest from Lautoka, following the logging track and descended at Namosau, Ba and then caught a bus to Rakiraki.

Wakeham has been charged with one count of Disobedience of Lawful Order.

Police say the matter was reported by the Turaga ni Koro of Vatukacevaceva Village, Ra.

The case will be called on the 24th of June.




Police aware of villages implementing their own lockdown

By Semi Turaga
Tuesday 31/03/2020
Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says they are aware of what measures certain villages in the Northern Division have adopted as their precautionary measures to protect their communities from COVID-19.

He says their community policing officers have been advising them on the need to adhere and practice measures announced by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and the Ministry of Health.

The latest village to join the ban on non-essential travel is Lutu-Wainibuka in the province of Naitasiri. Village Headman, Joji Rinakama says those wishing to enter the village must first get screened at the Vunidawa Health Centre and provide proof of medical clearance.

Several villagers in the Northern Division and Ra have already banned non-essential travel.




The village of Lutu-Wainibuka in the province of Naitasiri now banning non-essential travel

By Semi Turaga
Tuesday 31/03/2020
The village of Lutu-Wainibuka in the province of Naitasiri

The village of Lutu-Wainibuka in the province of Naitasiri is now banning non-essential travel joining several other villages throughout the country that have taken this preventative measure to fight the spread of COVID-19.

Village Headman, Joji Rinakama says those wishing to enter the village must first get screened at the Vunidawa Health Centre and provide proof of medical clearance.

joji-rinakama-sm

Several villagers in the Northern Division and Ra have already banned non-essential travel.




COVID-19 Pandemic will leave deep, deep scars - UNDP

By Semi Turaga
Tuesday 31/03/2020

The United Nations Development Programme says income losses are expected to exceed $220 billion in developing countries and nearly half of all jobs in Africa could be lost.

It says with an estimated 55 percent of the global population having no access to social protection, these losses will reverberate across societies, impacting education, human rights and, in the most severe cases, basic food security and nutrition.

UNDP says under-resourced hospitals and fragile health systems are likely to be overwhelmed.

This may be further exacerbated by a spike in cases, as up to 75 percent of people in the least developed countries lack access to soap and water.

It says additional social conditions, such as poor urban planning and overpopulation in some cities, weak waste disposal services, and even traffic congestion impeding access to healthcare facilities, may all add to the caseload.

The administrator of the United Nations Development Programme Achim Steiner says this pandemic is a health crisis but not just a health crisis.

He says for vast swathes of the globe, the pandemic will leave deep, deep scars.

Steiner further says without support from the international community, we risk a massive reversal of gains made over the last two decades, and an entire generation lost, if not in lives then in rights, opportunities, and dignity.

UNDP is already working to support health systems in countries including Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Djibouti, El Salvador, Eritrea, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Nigeria, Paraguay, Panama, Serbia, Ukraine and Vietnam.

A UNDP-led COVID-19 Rapid Response Facility has already been launched, funded by existing resources and capitalized with an initial US$20 million.

This facility is disbursing through a fast-track mechanism enabling UNDP teams to offer immediate assistance to countries for their national response.

UNDP anticipates a minimum of $500 million need to support 100 countries.

UNDP has also made a call to action to the international community to think beyond the immediate impact of COVID-19.

The organisation has emphasised the need for three priority actions: resources to help stop the spread of the virus, support to respond during the outbreak itself, and resources to prevent the economic collapse of developing countries.

As an immediate response, UNDP is building on the support it has been providing to China and other Asian countries to help strengthen their health systems.

This includes helping them procure much-needed medical supplies, leverage digital technologies and ensuring health workers are paid.

At the same time, UNDP will support countries to slow the spread of the virus and to provide social protection for vulnerable populations, promoting a whole-of-government and whole-of-society response to complement efforts in the health sector.

In the longer term, UNDP will work with countries to assess the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 and take urgent recovery measures to minimize long-term impact, particularly for vulnerable and marginalized groups, and to help societies to recover better.

UNDP says tackling COVID-19 and its impacts will require partners who can work across systems and sectors and in contexts that are both complex and uncertain.




Fiji Airways exploring possibilities of evacuation flights between Nadi and Los Angeles to assist with repatriation of citizens and residents

By Semi Turaga
Tuesday 31/03/2020
A Fiji Airways aircraft at Nadi Airport

Fiji Airways says it is exploring the possibility of evacuation flights between Nadi and Los Angeles this week or early next week to assist in the repatriation of citizens and residents.

Fiji Airways says it is exploring the possibility of evacuation flights between Nadi and Los Angeles this week or early next week to assist in the repatriation of citizens and residents.

It says the recovery flight details will be confirmed if there is adequate demand for these services.

Fiji Airways says guests holding valid tickets for Nadi-Los Angeles or Los Angeles-Nadi flights are also able to book themselves on the recovery flight at no cost by registering their interest via a submission form.

It says they will be contacted by Fiji Airways representatives for ticket price and confirmation.

Fiji Airways says guests holding tickets to/from other US ports like San Francisco or Honolulu may also get on these flights.

Any connections to/from Los Angeles will be the guests’ own responsibility.

The national airline says all guests must familiarise themselves with and adhere to the entry requirements of Fiji and the United States.

Fiji Airways says it is unable to uplift transit passengers on these recovery flights.

Only bonafide citizens and residents are able to enter Fiji at this time, and will be subject to further measures by the Government on arrival.

This includes either self-quarantine or self-isolation at home or a Government-mandated facility.

Guests can register their interest by submitting a form on this link - https://bit.ly/2xv3HrY




68 people arrested for breaching 10pm-5am curfew

By Semi Turaga
Tuesday 31/03/2020
[Photo:Fiji Police Force]

Sixty eight people were arrested last night for breaching the curfew hours from 10pm to 5am daily.

37 people were arrested in the Western Division, 13 in the Southern Division and 18 in the Eastern Division.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the sixty eight had no valid reasons to be out during the curfew hours when officers queried about their movements.

He says these people were arrested and taken into custody.

He says with the high number of arrests made, Police officers had to strictly adhere to protocols and measures to ensure they were also not exposed to any possible health threats as processing teams were on standby to handle the cases as they were brought to the Police Stations.




Suva City Council sets up hand sanitizers and cones to ensure 2m social distancing at Suva Bus Stand

By Semi Turaga
Tuesday 31/03/2020

The Suva City Council is taking proactive measures at the Suva Bus Stand as the country continues the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19.

At least 10 hand-sanitizers have already been installed along the sitting areas in the bus terminals.

Fijivillage has seen people actively using these hand sanitizers.

Cones and yellow tapes have also been placed around the Suva Bus Stand to ensure social distancing of at least 2 metres.

There are also about 10 enforcement officers that are at the Suva Bus Stand monitoring this.

One enforcement officer we spoke to says there are still a lot of people that are not practicing social distancing at the Suva Bus Stand.

Fijivillage also witnessed this yesterday.




Woman who is alleged to have violated 14-day self-isolation period will be questioned by police next week

By Shanil Singh
Monday 30/03/2020

A woman in her 60s who is alleged to have left her home where she was ordered to self-isolate for a period of 14 days will be taken in for questioning by Police after she undergoes the 14-day mandatory isolation period next Monday.

Police say the suspect who resides in Sukanaivalu Road in Nabua, will be taken in for questioning for an alleged case of Disobedience of Lawful Order.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says they were notified when the suspect turned up to the Registrar of Marriage Office in Suva on Saturday requesting for an urgent procedure of marriage.

Qiliho says it was then discovered that she had just returned from the USA on the 23rd of this month as per her travel itinerary and was supposed to be under self-isolation.

Qiliho says anyone found breaching the self-isolation period as directed by the Ministry of Health are warned that they will be placed back in isolation and once cleared will be taken straight into custody, charged and produced in Court if they fail to adhere.




Nausori man charged for allegedly spreading false information of COVID-19 on social media

By Dhanjay Deo
Monday 30/03/2020

A 53-year-old self-employed man from Nausori will appear in the Suva Magistrates Court today for allegedly spreading false information on social media in relation to COVID-19.

Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho says the man allegedly uploaded a malicious and misleading post on his Facebook account about COVID-19 that caused anxiety and alarm.

He has been charged with one count of a malicious act.




Farmer who allegedly breached the Lautoka lockdown to see girlfriend to appear in court

By Shanil Singh
Monday 30/03/2020

The 23-year old farmer who is alleged to have breached the Lautoka lockdown by walking for about 30km to Ba to see his girlfriend has been charged and will appear in the Rakiraki Magistrates Court today.

The man has been charged with one count of Disobedience of Lawful Order.

Police say that it is alleged that the suspect had trekked on foot through the forest from Lautoka, following the logging track and descended at Namosau, Ba.

They say the matter was reported by the Turaga ni Koro of Vatukacevaceva Village, Ra.




Municipal markets to now open from 8am to 7pm to ensure vendors are able to comply with the curfew

By Iva Danford
Sunday 29/03/2020
Minister for Local Government Premila Kumar

Municipal markets will now be open from 8am to 7pm to ensure vendors are able to comply with the nationwide curfew.

This has been highlighted by the Minister for Local Government Premila Kumar who says that they have reviewed the operating hours of all markets around the country and have made the decision after consulting the special administrators from all municipal councils.

Kumar says as a government they had to prepare the private sector, so that they are not caught in this curfew.

Kumar says they had a lengthy discussion with the private sector to understand the nature of their business and also to understand why they need people to work after hours.

She says they came to know that there are a number of businesses such as call centres, service stations, security services, the manufacturing sector, pharmacies and taxis that operate 24/7.

Kumar says after having this discussion with the private sector they assured them that the curfew will have no impact on their businesses, except that they have to ensure that they follow the protocol, which is that when the officers leave for work after 10pm, they must carry a photo ID, and they should also carry a letter. That letter will be given to the Police Commissioner, as well, so that the police officers at the checkpoints will do their work in a proper manner.

Kumar says to avoid overcrowding at the market they made the decision to decentralize the markets and will now put up tents with the vendors in different areas in the neighborhoods, as well as in the cities and towns.

She says they can put up a tent in a park, where they can sell their vegetables and that will reduce overcrowding.

Kumar says she will be able to come up with the areas exactly where these tents would be put up, as well as in which cities and towns at a later date.

She says definitely within a couple of days, she should be able to come up with that plan.




Fiji still has five positive cases and they are all in stable condition - Sahukhan

By Violet Matakibau
Sunday 29/03/2020
The Head of Health Protection, Dr. Aalisha Sahukhan

The Head of Health Protection, Dr. Aalisha Sahukhan says they have conducted over 330 tests for COVID-19 at Fiji Centres for Disease Control and there have been no new cases.

Dr. Sahukhan says Fiji still has five positive cases and they are all in stable condition.

The positive cases are the two imported cases from overseas, and the two contacts of the first case.

Dr. Sahukhan says there are over 200 case countries around the world that have reported cases of COVID-19 which is almost every single country in the world.

She says some of the wealthiest nations have taken unprecedented measures essentially shutting down their societies.

Doctor Sahukhan says public health personnel are busy finding, isolating and contact tracing every case that they find on a daily basis and are glad to have the assistance of the Police and the Republic of Fiji Military Forces.

The Head of Health Protection is calling on the public to listen to the advisories given by the Health Ministry and the Government as the healthcare system alone cannot stop this disease.

Dr. Sahukhan says people need to continue to wash their hands with soap and water as much as possible, or alcohol-based hand sanitizer and keep their distance from others when they are outside for at least 2 metres.

She says if you have been told to self-quarantine for 14 days, please stay home and don't have visitors.

Dr. Sahukhan advises that all these practices will make a difference.



101 permanent checkpoints to be set up around the country as the nationwide curfew comes into effect - Qiliho

By Iva Danford
Sunday 29/03/2020
Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho

Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho says they will set up 101 permanent checkpoints around the country as the nationwide curfew comes into effect tomorrow.

Qiliho says they are working with the Republic of Fiji Navy on monitoring the inter Island movement and also the curfew in those areas will be commanded from the Navy headquarters.

He says the curfew is not about restricting movement of workers, it's about restricting the non-essential movement.

Qilliho says the curfew goes for villages and settlements as well as there will be no functions that should be entertained in those settlements and villages.

He says in addition to the curfew on land they also have RFMF units that are already out and about with contact tracing where they are also visiting those in isolation or in quarantine.

The Police Commissioner stresses that the curfew is Fiji wide.

All staff who are required to work during curfew hours should carry company Photo ID cards, and in the absence of company ID, the staff will need to carry a valid National photo ID, such as Voter ID, Joint ID or Driver’s License.

They are also required to provide a company letter to staff that they are required to work during that specific time and a National Contact Centre telephone contact to verify the claims of the staff. Contracted service providers which includes taxi or bus operators, or port service providers such as tug operators or line port service providers are required to provide a letter from the contracting company stating that they are service providers for the company and are required to work during the curfew period.

Meanwhile, businesses are required to provide to the Ministry of Industry and Trade the list of employees who would work in the curfew period, scanned copies of their company photo ID or the relevant ID that will be used during this period, list of company vehicle registration numbers, private vehicle registration numbers and contracted taxis or buses registration numbers.

As announced by the Prime Minister, in order to minimise non-essential movement of Fijians, in Fiji’s bid to contain COVID-19, there will be a nation-wide curfew in place from tomorrow and this curfew will apply daily from 10pm to 5am.




COVID-19: Over 330 tests done with no new cases confirmed - PM

By Vijay Narayan
Sunday 29/03/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says over 330 tests for COVID-19 have been done and there have been no new cases.

Bainimarama says these tests include the 300 passengers who flew on the same flights as the first patient.

He says they have been successful in identifying and isolating or quarantining the passengers and their closest contacts.

Bainimarama says all of those passengers who are in Fiji have been directed to self-quarantine for 14 days.

He says the Health Ministry is monitoring people who are on self-isolation.

The Prime Minister says we cannot and will not rest.

He says that our lockdown measures and travel restrictions have not been easy for everyone, but it is clear these were the right measures taken at the right time to lock down this virus.

Bainimarama says through the intensive work of contact tracing teams, doctors, nurses, health inspectors, police officers, the Republic of Fiji Military Forces personnel, and the support staff from across government, they have done extremely well surveilling for testing and containing new cases.

He says every person in Fiji should act and think the next person is a carrier.

Bainimarama says this is a crisis, lives are on the line and the economy is on the line.

He has stressed that people need to keep their distance and the elderly and children have to be at home.

The law now states that people breaching the health regulations can face 5 years imprisonment and $10,000 fine.

The Prime Minister stresses that people have to follow the directions to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Bainimarama says this is a war we cannot afford to lose.

He is calling on people who feel sick to visit the fever clinic or the doctor.

Bainimarama also stresses that people should not breach self-quarantine directives.

Lautoka Lockdown to be reviewed in the next 5 days.

The Prime Minister also says the decision on whether to lift the lockdown in Lautoka will be made in the next 5 days.

Bainimarama says they will either lift restrictions or have to extend them.

He says if even one fails to follow the rules and this virus spreads within Lautoka, all of you will stay on lockdown even longer.

Bainimarama says those currently in the Lautoka confined zone, need to ensure the rules are followed and encourage each other in their community, and everyone they see to do the same.

He says that they need to pull up their socks, keep to the rules and get their city through this together.

Bainimarama says this will depend on how people follow the directions.

Nationwide Curfew

The Prime Minister has also revealed that 100 permanent checkpoints will be set up around the country from tonight when the nationwide curfew comes into effect from 10pm to 5am.

Bainimarama says there should be no wandering the streets unless you are working or have an emergency. People not following this will face serious consequences.

The Prime Minister also confirms that every existing work permit will be extended for 3 months due to current restrictions.

He says the Permanent Secretary for Immigration will provide further details.

Bainimarama also confirms that inter islands flights will cease to the outer islands from 6pm today except for freight flights.

From tomorrow a call centre for COVID-19 will be set up for anything in relation to the virus.

For now you can call the following Health Ministry numbers :

In the Central Division call 2219905;

In the Eastern Division call 2219906;

In the Western Division call 2219907; and

In the Northern, Division call 2219908



Isolation facility for children and mothers who need to deliver set up in Makoi

By Iva Danford, Vijay Narayan
Sunday 29/03/2020
The isolation facility in Makoi

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama confirms that the Ministry of Health has set up an isolation facility in Makoi for children, and mothers who need to deliver, and are tested positive of COVID-19.

Fijivillage has received confirmation that an Intensive Care Unit has also been set up in Makoi with new ventilators.

Meanwhile the RFMF Engineers together with the Ministry of Health are getting the new Ba Hospital prepared in case Fiji has more positive cases.

Engineers from RFMF are also building a new incinerator at the Navua Hospital.

RFMF officers also worked with health officials to ensure that passengers of Fiji Airways fights last week were properly self-isolated.

They also have personnel helping health officials at the Sub Divisional Health Office in Suva.




Fiji Link to suspend domestic operations to all outer-islands by 6pm today

By Vijay Narayan
Sunday 29/03/2020

Fiji Link will suspend domestic operations to all outer-islands by 6pm today in line with Government directives.

The final services between Suva-Labasa and Nadi-Labasa will operate today.

From tomorrow, the only Fiji Link flights will be between Nadi and Suva, operating at a reduced frequency.

Suspended services include flights from the Nadi and Suva hubs to Labasa, Taveuni, Savusavu, Kadavu, Vanuabalavu, Lakeba, Cicia, Koro, Rotuma.

Andre Viljoen, Fiji Airways Group Managing Director and CEO says the majority of their customers understand that these measures are necessary to combat the spread of COVID-19.

He says they will gladly adhere to Government directives, and stand ready to assist if charter flights are required for the freight of essential supplies to Vanua Levu and outer islands.

Viljoen says customers holding bookings for flights which are now suspended can be rest assured that their bookings are safe.

They look forward to welcoming the passengers onboard when they resume operations.

Fiji Link will announce resumption of domestic services after approvals from authorities.




25-year-old man charged and will front court for allegedly breaching the Lautoka lockdown conditions

By Violet Matakibau
Sunday 29/03/2020
Police guarding the Lautoka border. [image: Fiji Police}

A 25-year-old man who is alleged to have breached the Lautoka lockdown conditions on Friday has been charged and will be produced at the Nasinu Magistrates Court tomorrow.

He was arrested in Caubati.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the continuous breaches of the restrictions are a serious concern because of the threats and risks involved and needs to stop.

He says the country is dealing with an invisible threat that can only be effectively destroyed if everyone works together to stop its spread by adhering to the movement restrictions placed on the Lautoka area as well as complying with the Ministry of Health and Service’s advice with regards to self-isolation.

He adds they have processing teams all over the five Divisions who will handle these cases as they are received and they acknowledge the support of members of the public who have been forthcoming with information about the suspected breaches in their communities.




38-year-old man to be question for breaching his 14-day mandatory isolation period

By Violet Matakibau
Sunday 29/03/2020

A 38-year-old man who allegedly breached his 14-day mandatory isolation period after returning from New Zealand will be questioned by police once cleared by medical authorities.

Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho says the man was directed to self-isolate after returning to Fiji and allegedly left his place of isolation in Newtown Settlement in Nasinu earlier this week.

Qiliho says a team conducting checks on those directed to self-isolate went to his home to inquire about his status and found him missing and they were informed that he had gone shopping.

He is back into isolation.



Protocols need to be adhered by people working during nationwide curfew hours

By Iva Danford
Sunday 29/03/2020

People can still go to work during the nationwide curfew which comes into effect tomorrow but will need to adhere to certain protocols and carry Company Photo ID’s.

This clarification came after the Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum together with the Minister for Industry and Trade, Premila Kumar met with industries to develop clear protocols to manage movement of staff during the nation-wide curfew period.

It was noted in the meeting that industries and certain service providers who require staff to do shift work or may need staff to address emergency calls during the nationwide curfew can still do so.

All industry players have been advised by the Attorney General that they will need to ensure all staff who are required to work during curfew hours should carry company Photo ID cards, and in the absence of company ID, the staff will need to carry a valid National photo ID, such as Voter ID, Joint ID or Driver’s License.

They are also required to provide a company letter to staff that they are required to work during that specific time and a National Contact Centre telephone contact to verify the claims of the staff. Contracted service providers which includes taxi or bus operators, or port service providers such as tug operators or line port service providers are required to provide a letter from the contracting company stating that they are service providers for the company and are required to work during the curfew period.

Meanwhile, businesses are required to provide to the Ministry of Industry and Trade the list of employees who would work in the curfew period, scanned copies of their company photo ID or the relevant ID that will be used during this period, list of company vehicle registration numbers, private vehicle registration numbers and contracted taxis or buses registration numbers.

As announced by the Prime Minister, in order to minimise non-essential movement of Fijians, in Fiji’s bid to contain COVID-19, there will be a nation-wide curfew in place from tomorrow and this curfew will apply daily from 10pm to 5am.

The Attorney General has assured the private sector that arrangements will be made to ensure there are minimum disruptions to businesses during the curfew period.




Passenger carriage or movement on inter-island ships throughout Fiji suspended from tomorrow till further notice

By Violet Matakibau
Saturday 28/03/2020
Passengers embarking an inter-island ship in Fiji. [image: file]

There will be no passenger carriage or movement on inter-island ships throughout Fiji from tomorrow till further notice.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport in consultation with the Ministry of Health has put restrictions in place to all inter-island shipping movements.

These include restriction of movement for all small craft and yachts while freight cargo services will continue during this time.





300 Fijians tested for COVID-19 with only 5 confirmed cases

By Iva Danford
Saturday 28/03/2020
Minister for Health Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete

300 Fijians have been tested for COVID19 and only 5 are confirmed cases.

This has been confirmed by the Minister for Health Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete who says that there are no new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.

Waqainabete has earlier said that all tests done recently were negative.

Meanwhile new ventilators and ICU beds have arrived in the country.




21 Fijians arrive at the Nadi Airport and will be under a strict 14-day quarantine period

By Iva Danford
Saturday 28/03/2020
A Virgin Airways plane taking off. [image: Virgin Australia]

A Virgin Airways flight from Brisbane, Australia with 21 Fijian citizens and cargo containing Personal Protective Equipment and other equipment has arrived at the Nadi International Airport.

Ministry of Health say that any passengers showing symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival will be transferred to an isolation facility.

The Ministry with relevant government agencies will place all passengers without symptoms from this flight under a strict 14-day quarantine period at designated sites near the Nadi International Airport where they will be assessed and monitored daily by a medical team.

During their time in quarantine, the passengers will not be permitted to leave their rooms and meals will be delivered by room service. They will not receive any visitors.

The Ministry say their staff at the designated sites have received training on COVID-19 prevention and will be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment. 

They say measures have been taken to ensure there will be minimal interaction between the passengers and site staff.

The same measures will be applied to passengers who are expected on a flight from New Zealand tomorrow .

The Ministry of Health say they acknowledge the assistance by the Australian Government in providing personal protective equipment and equipment that will be used in the response to COVID-19. And these equipment will be distributed for use at health facilities throughout Fiji.




COVID-19: FNPF assistance will only be done through the employers of those who are directly affected

By Violet Matakibau
Saturday 28/03/2020
Assistance forms will be emailed to the Employers, from early next week, who will then liaise directly with their staff. [image: file]

The Fiji National Provident Fund assistance that will be provided to those that have been affected in the tourism sector, those impacted by the physical distancing restriction and members working in the lock-down areas will only be done through their employers.

This was highlighted by FNPF Chief Executive Officer, Jioji Koroi who says that they will be working closely with Employers when FNPF rolls out the assistance program for members through existing digital platforms.

He says Fund is taking its cue from health advisories for physical distancing during this period and will be carrying out bulk of the assistance processes digitally.

Koroi says this is the most effective way to ensure members are able to access their funds, and at the same time adhering to health and safety regulations for COVID-19.

Koroi says the assistance forms will be emailed to the Employers, from early next week, who will then liaise directly with their staff.

Koroi says these are abnormal times and the Fund was grateful to government for partially funding this assistance, especially for those who do not have sufficient eligibility.

He says they are relying on the goodwill and accountability of the Employers during this period, to help them deliver the assistance to their staff who have been affected.

These forms need to be completed by the affected members with the Employer, who will then electronically submit the completed forms with the other requirements to the Fund.

Koroi says as mentioned during the Budget address, members in the priority areas can be assured that they will receive their funds and to exercise caution and patience as they await assistance.




32 fever clinics setup and fully operational in Fiji as rapid response to COVID-19 ramps up

By Shanil Singh
Saturday 28/03/2020
A fever clinic that has been set up at Valelevu Multipurpose Courts [image: Twitter/Dr. Waqanabete]

A total of 32 fever clinics have been setup and are fully operational around the country as Fiji ramps up its rapid response to COVID-19.

These clinics are operational from 8am to 4pm everyday and are based at strategic locations that can be conveniently accessed by the members of the public.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services is encouraging people to visit these clinics should they have a fever or develop any symptoms of COVID-19, in an effort to stop the spread of this virus.

The Ministry also says that people will not need to make any appointments with the doctors and nurses in these clinics.

They say the establishment of fever clinics is an integral part of the government’s effort to contain the spread of the virus and to ensure that the vulnerable members of the public are not exposed to the virus in regular hospitals and health centres.

Most of the Clinics are open from 8am-4pm, 7 days a week, with the exception of the Punjas and Kamikamica Health Centres in Lautoka which are open from 8am-10am and the Valelevu Health Centre in Nasinu which will be open 24 hours.

The fever Clinics around the country are:

EASTERN DIVISION

1. Levuka Hospital

2. Lomaloma Health Centre

3. Lakeba (Old Nurses Quarters)

4. Vunisea

5. Rotuma Hospital

WESTERN DIVISION

1. Punjas Health Centre

2. Kamikamica Health Centre

3. Viseisei Health Centre

4. St. Thomas High School

5. Tavua Hospital

6. Ba Health Center

7. Balevuto Health Centre

8. Nailaga Health Centre

9. Ba Mission Hospital (Tent Outside)

10. Rakiraki Hospital (Car Park)

11. Nadi Hospital

12. Bukuya Health Centre

13. Namaka Health Centre

14. Sigatoka Hospital

NORTHERN DIVISION

1. Nasea Health Centre

2. Nutrition Training Centre

3. Savusavu (Old Public Health Building)

4. Waimaqera Health Centre (Outside)

5. Waiyevo Health Centre (Outside)

6. Nabouwalu Hospital

CENTRAL DIVISION

1. Lami (Tikaram Park)

2. Raiwaqa (Pentecostal Church)

3. Valelevu (Tennis Court)

4. Nakasi Health Centre (Car Park)

5. Nausori Health Centre (Quarters 2)

6. Wainibokasi (Car Park)

7. Navua (Tent Outside)

8. Vunidawa

9. Nakorosule

10. Korovou (Behind the bus stop at the junction to Hospital

If you have been to a COVID-19 affected country in the last 14 days and develop a fever, cough or difficulty breathing immediately contact one of the numbers listed below.

Central 2219905

Eastern 2219906

Western 2219907

Northern 2219908





A woman in her 60s to be questioned for alleged case of disobedience of lawful order

By Shanil Singh
Saturday 28/03/2020

A woman in her 60s will be taken in for questioning after she will undergo the 14-day mandatory isolation period for an alleged case of disobedience of lawful order.

The suspect who resides in Sukanaivalu Road in Nabua, was alleged to have left her home where she was ordered to self-isolate for a period of 14 days.

Police Commisioner Sitiveni Qiliho says they were notified when the suspect turned up to the Registrar of Marriage Office in Suva yesterday requesting for an urgent procedure of marriage when it was discovered that she had just returned from the USA on the 23rd of March as per her travel itinerary and was supposed to be under self-isolation.

Qiliho says anyone found breaching the self-isolation period as directed by the Ministry of Health are warned that they will be placed back in isolation and once cleared will be taken straight into custody, charged and produced in Court if they fail to adhere.




21 Fijians arrive at the Nadi Airport and will be under a strict 14-day quarantine period

By Iva Danford
Saturday 28/03/2020
A Virgin Airways plane taking off. [image: Virgin Australia]

A Virgin Airways flight from Brisbane, Australia with 21 Fijian citizens and cargo containing Personal Protective Equipment and other equipment has arrived at the Nadi International Airport.

Ministry of Health say that any passengers showing symptoms of COVID-19 on arrival will be transferred to an isolation facility.

The Ministry with relevant government agencies will place all passengers without symptoms from this flight under a strict 14-day quarantine period at designated sites near the Nadi International Airport where they will be assessed and monitored daily by a medical team.

During their time in quarantine, the passengers will not be permitted to leave their rooms and meals will be delivered by room service. They will not receive any visitors.

The Ministry say their staff at the designated sites have received training on COVID-19 prevention and will be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment. 

They say measures have been taken to ensure there will be minimal interaction between the passengers and site staff.

The same measures will be applied to passengers who are expected on a flight from New Zealand tomorrow .

The Ministry of Health say they acknowledge the assistance by the Australian Government in providing personal protective equipment and equipment that will be used in the response to COVID-19. And these equipment will be distributed for use at health facilities throughout Fiji.




No new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours - Waqainabete

By Iva Danford
Saturday 28/03/2020
Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete

Minister for Health Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete has confirmed that there are no new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours.

He says there are still 5 confirmed cases.

Waqainabete has earlier said that all tests done recently were negative.




Lynda Tabuya charged in relation to a social media post

By Iva Danford
Saturday 28/03/2020
SODELPA MP Lynda Tabuya

SODELPA MP Lynda Tabuya who was taken in for questioning by police for her post on social media in relation to COVID-19 has been charged.

Tabuya is charged with one count of Malicious Act and will be produced in the Suva Magistrates Court on Monday.

She was taken in by police on Wednesday.

Meanwhile Nadi based Doctor Isireli Biumaitotoya who is also known as Leli Darling has been released.

Dr Biumaitotoya was also questioned for the same offence.




First confirmed case of COVID-19 had allegedly gone out to party in San Francisco - Waqainabete

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 27/03/2020
Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete

Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete has revealed that the 27-year-old flight attendant who is the first confirmed case of COVID-19, had allegedly gone out to party in San Francisco, stayed with family there, also went around San Francisco, and was also coughing while wearing a mask and serving passengers on the New Zealand flight from Nadi.

Doctor Waqainabete made the comments while responding to the Leader of Opposition, Sitiveni Rabuka and others who are saying that the government brought COVID-19 to Fiji.

He says the flight attendant did not follow the policies of Fiji Airways and defied the instructions.

Doctor Waqainabete says the Health Ministry also has the health declaration cards at the airport and they should declare if they have a fever, cough or have difficulty breathing.

The budget is $40 million for 4 months. This is for Incident Control Management Team, Media and Communications, infection control, buy another 50 ventilators to add on to the current 58 ventilators, ICU facilities, isolation room facilities, infra-red thermometers, scanners, contact tracing, food feeding and rations, other drug needs and Fiji Centres For Disease Control costs to name a few.




Nationwide curfew from 10pm-5am from Monday - PM

By Iva Danford, Vijay Narayan
Friday 27/03/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has announced a nationwide curfew from 10pm to 5am every night from Monday, March 30th.

Bainimarama says too many Fijians seem to think when the sun goes down, the rule on non non-essential travel and other measures stop.

He says this is for everywhere in Fiji and further announcements will be made soon.

Bainimarama stresses that there is far too much risk of socialising and unnecessary travel between 10pm to 5am.

He says if you are out during these hours unless it’s for work or another life-sustaining purpose, Police will direct you straight home.

The government will announce the full details of this curfew soon.

Stay with us for more details.

Meanwhile, Bainimarama says the Lautoka confined area is on total lockdown, cruise ships are banned, gatherings of 20 or more people are banned and the elderly and children should stay at home.

Bainimarama says while most of the Fijians are fast asleep the COVID-19 team at the Ministry of Health is starting their day working to spearhead the response and containment efforts.




Government will pay 21 days Sick Leave for people earning less than $30,000 if they test positive for COVID-19

By Vijay Narayan, Naveel Krishant
Thursday 26/03/2020
Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Minister for Economy and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the government will pay 21 days Sick Leave for people earning less than $30,000 if they test positive with COVID-19.

A 300% tax deduction will also be allowed to employers for wages/ salary paid to employees who are self-quarantined and approved by Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ESTIMATE 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ADDRESS
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf




Relief for affected workers coming through FNPF or the government

By Vijay Narayan, Naveel Krishant
Thursday 26/03/2020

Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says from today, once the budget gets passed, Fijian workers in the hospitality sector who have lost their jobs or have reduced hours since 1st February 2020, can, for now, access an initial $1,000 from the FNPF if they have the funds in their account.

Sayed-Khaiyum says if they do not have that amount, the government will subsidise the difference.

All those employees affected by the nationwide physical distancing requirements, along with employees in the Lautoka confined area who have been placed on leave without pay or had their hours cut, will be able to access an initial $500 dollars from FNPF.

If they do not have enough funds the government will subsidise the amount.

Fijians in the informal sector who are confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 will be paid a one-off sum of $1,000.

Furthermore, for those affected in the informal sector in the lockdown areas, the government will also be providing a one-off relief payment of $150 for all those who have a street trader or hawker license.

The Minister says all FNPF employees contributions will reduce from 8% to 5%.

This will be from 1st April to 31st December 2020.

This is expected to put $80 million in the pockets of employees.

Employers’ FNPF contributions will reduce from 10% to 5% from 1st April to 31st December.

Sayed-Khaiyum says over the next nine months, this will keep $130 million in their accounts.

COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ESTIMATE 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ADDRESS
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf




Close to 25,000 people have lost their jobs in the tourism sector and they need to be assisted urgently - AG

By Vijay Narayan, Naveel Krishant
Thursday 26/03/2020
Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has revealed in Parliament that close to 25,000 people have lost their jobs in the tourism sector and they need to be urgently assisted by government and access funds from their FNPF if they have enough funds.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the government is using the law to urgently assist the people who have lost their jobs.

He says the reality of the matter is that we have a dire situation on our hands.

Sayed-Khaiyum adds they do not want the dilly-dallying like the opposition is doing.

He revealed that the government will make available $60 million to those people who have lost their jobs already.

Sayed-Khaiyum says we need to take action now.

He adds that the Budget Book is available and they should debate it today.

The Minister for Economy says if the opposition feels 3 hours is not enough then they can debate it for 7 hours.

He says they are here to do a job and parliament is a workplace.

NFP MP Pio Tikoduadua had also opposed the motion for 1 day debate today saying his leader, Professor Biman Prasad has been saying that the economy is coming to a grinding halt. He asked where is the boom.

Tikoduadua says 3 hours of debate for the Supplementary Budget is not good enough.

Leader of the Government in the House, Inia Seruiratu says parliament can be debating all of next week but every day counts.

Seruiratu says Italy had 5 COVID-19 cases on February 23rd.

He says a month later they have 60,000 cases.

Seruiratu says we need to take immediate action.

COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ESTIMATE 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

ECONOMIC AND FISCAL UPDATE SUPPLEMENT TO THE COVID-19 RESPONSE BUDGET ADDRESS
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf




Senior Police officer charged for allegedly breaching the Lautoka lockdown restrictions

By Dhanjay Deo
Thursday 26/03/2020

A senior Police officer has been charged for allegedly breaching the Lautoka lockdown restrictions.

Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho says the senior officer allegedly left Lautoka and returned to Sigatoka over the weekend.

He has been charged with one count of disobedience of lawful order and will appear in the Sigatoka Magistrates Court tomorrow.

Qiliho says the alleged selfish actions of the senior officer is deeply concerning and he has directed for the senior officer to be sent on interdiction/suspension and charged.

Qiliho says they cannot have police officers who are intent on serving their own needs while blatantly disregarding the welfare, safety and security of the people they serve, particularly in a time where police are relied upon heavily to keep everyone safe.

The Police Commissioner says the alleged actions of this officer, in no way reflects the tireless work put in by hundreds of other officers manning the checkpoints and those currently serving within the Lautoka restricted areas in these past few days.

Qiliho says those officers who are found breaching the restrictions are made to face the consequences of their actions in a court of law like everyone else.




RBF makes $60 million available for loan facility for businesess affected by COVID-19

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 26/03/2020
Reserve Bank of Fiji

The Governor and Chairman of the Reserve Bank of Fiji Board Ariff Ali states that the RBF will expand its Natural Disaster and Rehabilitation Facility and raise it to $60 million to include businesses affected by epidemics or pandemics and be renamed the Disaster Rehabilitation and Containment Facility.

Ali says businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can access funds under this facility through their respective commercial banks, licenced credit institutions or the Fiji Development Bank at an interest rate of up to a maximum of 5.0 percent.

Ali says the magnitude of the domestic economic contraction will depend on the duration and the spread of the pandemic, which continues to unfold.

He says financial conditions remain accommodative with ample liquidity, stable interest rates and modest credit growth.

The Governor says the reduction in interest rates and various other reprieve measures announced by commercial banks’ to assist customers should support businesses during this downturn.

The Governor also states that that downside risks emanating from both the external and domestic fronts have increased in recent weeks and remain elevated. The RBF is monitoring these economic and financial developments closely and will align monetary policy and other measures accordingly.

Ali says the Fijian economy is currently in unchartered waters and headed for a recession this year.

He says the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the cessation in tourism activity and transmitted significant negative knock-on effects to the broader economy.

The RBF says while precautionary and containment measures adopted by the authorities and the general population will drastically affect consumption spending and government revenue, they are appropriate and crucial to avoid longer-term social and economic damage.

On the revenue front, the stimulus expected to be announced by the Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in the supplementary budget should assist in the recovery of the economy.

He says for now, the financial system is sound and the RBF’s twin monetary policy objectives of low inflation and adequate foreign reserves remain intact.

Annual inflation was registered at a historic low of -3.0 percent in February while foreign reserves were around $2.228 billion as at today, sufficient to cover 5.7 months of retained imports of goods and services.




No new cases of COVID-19 - Waqainabete

By Rashika Kumar
Thursday 26/03/2020
Health Minister Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete

Minister for Health Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete has confirmed that there are no new cases of COVID-19.

He says there are 5 confirmed cases.

The Minister has also confirmed that all tests done yesterday were negative.




3 women who were charged with one count each of Malicious Act appear in court today

By Naveel Krishant
Thursday 26/03/2020
[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

Three women who were charged with one count each of Malicious Act appeared in the Suva Magistrates Court today.

36-year-old Titilia Camaibau, 53-year-old Marica Bole and 32-year old Sharoon Devi Kumar allegedly posted false information on social media in relation to the COVID-19 situation which created panic and fear among the general public.

The court has ordered Camaibau to undergo psychiatric evaluation at the St Giles Hospital and her case will be called again on the 2nd of April.

Devi has been remanded in custody for the next 7 days and her case will be called again on the 2nd of April.

Bole has been bailed and ordered to report to the Nasinu Police Station every first day of the month and her case will be called again on the 15th of June.




Lynda Tabuya taken in for questioning in relation to social media post

By Rashika Kumar
Thursday 26/03/2020

SODELPA MP Lynda Tabuya is currently being questioned by Police.

This is in relation to a online post about COVID-19.

This has been confirmed by the Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho.

Stay with us for developments.




COVID-19: Akbar pleads for all teachers to act as gatekeepers for their communities

By Vijay Narayan
Thursday 26/03/2020
Education Minister Rosy Akbar

Education Minister, Rosy Akbar is strongly pleading with all teachers to act as gatekeepers of their communities and help share information on the preventative actions our children and members of the community can undertake at this point in time.

Akbar has told teachers not to limit their teachings to the classrooms, it is time for them to reach beyond the traditional boundaries and ensure that our homes, society and country are well aware of the implications of COVID-19.

The Minister for Education says they cannot conduct face to face awareness programmes, strictly no gatherings and instead can make use of other means such as electronic platforms to disseminate information that can help save a life.

The Ministry has emailed an information package titled “COVID-19 Information for Communities - Protecting Yourself and Your Family” to individual teacher email addresses to bring about more awareness without compromising their health and safety.

Teachers that have viber groups, social networking chat groups with the parents, are encouraged to use it to create awareness and help rigorously impart the message.

She says we all need to act responsibility and ensure that our nation remains safe.

Akbar calls out to all teachers, reminding them of their civic duty.

She says the nation relies on teachers to take the lead role disseminating preventative information on COVID-19.

Parents please keep your children engaged in activities and restrict outside movements.




COVID-19: Taxi drivers call on proprietors to lower contractual income demand

By Shanil Singh
Thursday 26/03/2020
Taxi's lined up and waiting for passengers outside a supermarket in Suva

A number of taxi drivers are calling on their taxi proprietors to lower their contractual income demand due to a reduction in their taxi income after the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Fiji last week.

A taxi driver from Suva City has told Fijivillage that he has to give $350 to the taxi owner every week which is about $60 a day.

He says this is proving difficult for him in these trying times since paying for fuel alone takes about $40 a day.

The taxi driver says he had discussions with his taxi owner however they have not been able to reach an agreement.

He says on a normal day he was able to make about $50 from 6am to 9am but was only able to make $8 today.

Another driver, has told us they will have no option but to park their taxis if they can’t reach an agreement with their taxi owners.

Meanwhile, Fiji Taxi Association General Secretary, Ashwin Lal says the contract is between the operators and the drivers and the operators should consider the ongoing crisis.




Nadi based Doctor taken in for questioning in regards to social media posts linked to COVID-19

By Rashika Kumar
Thursday 26/03/2020

Nadi based Doctor Isireli Biumaitotoya who is also known as Leli Darling has been taken in for questioning in regards to posts on social media on information linked to the COVID-19 situation.

This has been confirmed by Police Spokesperson, Ana Naisoro who says that the Police will not be releasing any more information at this stage.

Stay with us for more on this.




AG to present COVID-19 supplementary budget to parliament at 7:30pm today

By Naveel Krishant, Semi Turaga
Thursday 26/03/2020
Minister for Economy and Attorney General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Attorney General and the Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum will present a COVID-19 Supplementary Budget to parliament at 7.30 tonight.

Sayed-Khaiyum says they are introducing a COVID-19 Budget Response to offer relief to Fijian families, bolster businesses, protect workers, and fund life-saving containment efforts.

He says they haven’t a moment to spare.

Sayed-Khaiyum had earlier said that we cannot risk waiting until the close of the financial year to re-evaluate government spending priorities and take stock of government revenue streams.

Sayed-Khaiyum had said there are key expenditures that must be made to ensure the protection and continuation of the Fijian way of life, that includes our people’s health, their jobs, their businesses and their food security.

The Minister added that the economy remains under prudent and responsible management and the government will not hesitate to make tough decisions with a view towards long-term economic prospects.

He had said rest assured, the government will be leveraging every channel of growth at its disposal to keep the economy prosperous, keep Fijians employed, and keep businesses afloat, all while putting people’s well being first.

Stay with us for the latest from the supplementary budget announcement tonight on Fijivillage.




3 men arrested and charged for case of alleged aggravated robbery in Nadi

By Iva Danford
Thursday 26/03/2020

Three men have been arrested and charged for a case of alleged aggravated robbery in Naisoso, Nadi earlier this week.

Police say the three are alleged to have threatened a cashier of a shop and stole cash and cigarettes worth more than $500 on Monday.

The three were arrested by a team of officers from Namaka.

Police say they remain in custody as investigation0 continues regarding their alleged involvement in other burglary cases in the Namaka and Nadi areas.




3 people charged with allegedly spreading false information in relation to COVID-19 to be produced in court

By Naveel Krishant
Thursday 26/03/2020

Three people will be produced in the Suva Magistrates Court today charged with allegedly spreading false information on social media in relation to the COVID-19 situation in Fiji.

The accused persons are a 36-year-old woman from Nadali, a 53-year-old woman from Muanikoso and a 32-year-old bank officer from Suva.

All have been charged with one count of Malicious Act.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says all three are alleged to have posted false information on social media in relation to the COVID-19 situation which created panic and fear among the general public.




Police Western Division Headquarters on lockdown after staff member shows COVID-19 symptoms

By Semi Turaga
Thursday 26/03/2020

The Police Western Division Headquarters is on a lockdown after a senior female police officer who returned from overseas has shown symptoms for COVID-19.

The woman had undergone the mandatory 14 day isolation period and was given the clearance to resume work.

She later displayed symptoms of COVID-19 and has been isolated in a different location.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says they were directed by medical authorities in Lautoka and are adhering like any other responsible Fijian until cleared to isolate their Police officers and civilian staff based at the Western Division Headquarters.

Qiliho has assured that they continue to operate the functions of the Western Division Headquarters from within the confines of the building.

Among those in the lockdown is the Divisional Police Commander West SSP Surend Sami.




If you’re told to quarantine, do it. Do it, or we’ll make you do it – Bainimarama

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 25/03/2020
Police check point outside the lockdown area of Lautoka

The Prime Minister says if the government tells you to self-quarantine, do it or the government will make you do it.

Voreqe Bainimarama says if you have been directed to self-quarantine and you’re hearing this message, ask yourself: Where would you rather be? Quarantined in the comfort of your home for 14 days, or in prison for violating the law?

He says police are actively investigating reports that 36 Fiji Airways flight attendants have blatantly violated their self-quarantine, sharing grog and interacting with their friends and caregivers from outside the quarantine area.

Bainimarama has a message to those people “To those not following our instructions, I have to ask: Is this a joke to you? What in God’s name are you thinking? While Fijians in Lautoka are living under lockdown, while our health workers work day and night to test and treat patients, and while the elderly are restricted to their homes, these Fijians are spitting on all of the sacrifices their fellow Fijians are making to keep our country safe.”

Bainimarama stresses that self-quarantine isn’t a voluntary measure.

He says it is not simply a “nice thing to do”.

The Prime Minister says it is a compulsory, legally-mandated order, and these Fijians will be investigated.

Bainimarama has also made it clear that if necessary, they will be arrested, charged and punished accordingly.

The Prime Minister says in Fiji, being a flight attendant is a highly-competitive job, hundreds, if not thousands, of Fijians, strive for each position filled. He says it should be a position you hold with pride and one you don’t take for granted.

He says if irresponsible behaviour like this continues, Fiji Airways should not hesitate to clean house and replace these people with people who take their duty of care seriously.

Bainimarama says their behaviour in-flight and the protective measures that they take to ensure the safety of their cabin should be no different than they are on the ground when they are caring for their own community.

COVID-19: 5th case in Fiji confirmed by PM

A 31-year-old woman from Lautoka is the 5th confirmed COVID-19 case in Fiji.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says their contact tracing team confirms that the woman attended a Zumba class with the 27-year-old flight attendant who was the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Fiji and while he was already displaying the symptoms.

Bainimarama says all members of that Zumba class were directed to self-quarantine the same day the first patient was diagnosed, the 19th of March.

They were each instructed to immediately alert the Health Ministry medical teams if they began developing symptoms.

Yesterday, four days into compulsory self-quarantine, the 31-year-old woman, began displaying symptoms.

During their Zumba class, she worked out in close proximity with the first patient and shared a hug.

When she later recognised her symptoms, she notified the ministry’s rapid response medical teams, who securely and hygienically transported her via ambulance to the isolation ward at Lautoka Hospital.

She was tested.

Bainimarama says the woman shares a household with nine others –– two of whom were also showing symptoms and have been isolated in Lautoka Hospital.

The other seven remain under strict quarantine in the home, which is under constant police surveillance.

Further contact tracing was needed as the 27-year-old Lautoka man did not give full story – PM

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama confirms that they had to do further contact tracing in relation to the first confirmed COVID-19 case as their investigations revealed that unfortunately, they were not given the full story.

Bainimarama says witnesses have told the Ministry of Health that the flight attendant had been showing symptoms, including coughing, days prior and that he failed to place himself in self-quarantine.

He says their contact tracing had to be extended further back to identify even more people he may have contacted and get them into quarantine as well. The Prime Minister says this is water under the bridge; none of us should waste time targeting or vilifying the first patient as we all have much more important work to focus on.

He confirms that most of the individuals they have had to contact have been placed in compulsory self-quarantine.

However, there are still six individuals, all in the Western Division, who have yet to come forward.

Nadi Airport to close from today while passenger travel to the outer islands will cease from Sunday March 29th

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says they are working overtime to avoid the nightmare scenario in countries like Italy.

Bainimarama says the government is quickly acquiring new Intensive Care beds and ventilators, and taking other measures that will be announced by Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in tonight’s supplementary budget address at 7.30pm.

He says the fact is, if what happened in Italy happens in Fiji, our healthcare system would buckle.

Bainimarama says the grim reality is that in Fiji, the number of deaths for this many cases would likely be much, much higher.

He says Fiji is at war with the coronavirus.

Bainimarama says we cannot see our enemy but we must act as if the enemy is in our midst at all times.

He says you can join the fight by washing your hands with soap and water, practicing physical distancing, two metres distance is safest and following any and every directive given to you by authorities.

The Prime Minister says Fiji now has two cases imported from overseas.

From tomorrow, Nadi Airport will be officially shut down to all scheduled passenger travel.

There are currently three flights inbound to Fiji carrying Fijians returning home from overseas, these passengers will all be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon the arrival.

Bainimarama says they are seriously concerned about the virus ever reaching any of our outer island communities.

From this Sunday, the 29th of March, all passenger travel to the outer islands will cease.

Shipping lines for freight will continue with increased bulk but decreased frequency to ensure food and other essential goods are supplied across the islands.

The ban on gatherings of 20 or more people remains in effect.

If you have a death in the family, you can proceed with a burial, so long as you limit any gatherings to fewer than 20 people.


Fiji Airways boss says staff that allegedly disregard self-quarantine directives, have no place in National Airline

By Iva Danford
Thursday 26/03/2020
Managing Director and CEO of Fiji Airways, Andre Viljoen [L]

The Managing Director and CEO of Fiji Airways, Andre Viljoen says if found guilty after due process, the Fiji Airways staff that allegedly disregarded the self-quarantine directives of the Fijian Government, will have no place in the National Airline and this includes any breaches in the past two weeks and any in the future.

In an internal email to all staff last night, Viljoen says he is disappointed beyond measure and Police will continue with their investigations and they will give them every assistance required.

The 36 flight attendants who are on self-quarantine at a Nadi hotel were allegedly having grog sessions with people from outside almost every night and other people were also bringing over food, clothes and snacks to them.

Viljoen says Fiji Airways will return to the skies once this crisis is over but if some of its staff flaunt Government directives or internal Fiji Airways Safety rules, they will not return.

The CEO says that he shares the disappointment and embarrassment that most members of the Fiji Airways family are feeling today.

He says when the Lautoka Containment Zone was implemented, they accommodated staff who could not reach their homes in Lautoka at a hotel in Nadi.

Viljoen says he finds it hard to understand why anyone would behave so recklessly as everyone arriving from a layover was told by Health Officials on the need to self-quarantine either at their own homes or at the hotel.

He says these are not normal times and for a week, everyone has been made aware of the rules surrounding self-quarantine.

Viljoen says they have colleagues in Lautoka right now in the confinement zone and are unable to get to work.

He says that his focus in the past few weeks as this crisis grew, has been to ensure that Fiji Airways survives in a world where many other airlines will not, to save jobs when many are already letting people go.

Viljoen says they have selfless pilots and cabin crew who continue to operate recovery flights to return stranded citizens to their homes and bring Fijians back and airport personnel, and Fiji Link who continue to operate and serve customers.

He says all this good work, all these responsible actions by almost 1,500 members of the Fiji Airways family, are tarnished by the actions of just a handful.



Source: World Health Organization




The 36 flight attendants who are on self-quarantine are alleged to be still interacting with outsiders

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 25/03/2020
Police strictly guarding the check point in Lautoka [image: Fiji Police]

The 36 flight attendants who are on self-quarantine at a Nadi hotel are allegedly having grog sessions with people from outside almost every night and other people are also bringing over food, clothes and snacks to them.

We have received reports that these people from outside are also spending time with the self isolated flight attendants.

All this is happening despite repeated calls by the Prime Minister and the Health Ministry for people to self quarantine and not to have physical interaction with anyone.

The reports have come from nearby Nadi residents.

Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho has confirmed to Fijivillage that they working with the hotel on the CCTV footage and the people were warned by a senior Police Officer last night.

Qiliho says investigations are well underway and those who have disobeyed the Ministry of Health directives will be produced in court in the next few days.

Commissioner Qiliho says these people are totally being irresponsible and selfish in their actions when majority of the Fijian citizens are diligently adhering to the directives of the government.


Avoid all non-essential travel from today - PM

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 24/03/2020

All Fijians anywhere in the country are to avoid all non-essential travel from today after the 4th confirmed COVID-19 case in Fiji – which is from Suva.

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has made it clear in his statement to the nation today that no Fijian should travel from their home unless absolutely necessary.

He says people certainly should not be travelling around the country, across divisions or to different islands.

Bainimarama says children should stay at home at all times. He stresses that the elderly should stay at home at all times.

The Prime Minister says breadwinners who can go to work should go home straight after.

For everyone else, every move you make should be for your own health or the health of others.

Bainimarama says you can go out to get food, get medicine, take out money or access another essential service, it is also fine to exercise safely outdoors, so long as you maintain a safe distance from others.

But do not visit friends or family unless absolutely necessary.

The Prime Minister tells people do not host parties, do not needlessly linger and do not mingle with strangers.

Bainimarama says not in 100 years has the world seen a health crisis this severe. He says these are not normal times, and we cannot go about our day-to-day lives as if everything is normal.

He says that ignorance of the reality on the ground and the severity of this disease will get people killed.

The Prime Minister says if one person is exposed to this virus, and ignores the government’s restrictions, they could run around infecting everyone they come into contact with.

Bainimarama says if all those newly-infected people do the same, suddenly, we have a massive outbreak on our hands.

If the Ministry of Health has directed you to self-quarantine, do it.

They will be calling you and checking in on you in-person to make sure you are staying away from the public.

Self-quarantine for 14 days means you must stay in your home. During that time, you should avoid contact with other members of your household as much as humanly possible.


Stand 2 metres apart in public lines

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 24/03/2020

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says people standing closely in the lines will stop from today and everyone has to keep a distance of 2 metres while standing in public lines.

Bainimarama says he has seen images going around of people standing in line and congregating in Suva and other urban areas.

He says if you need to get in line, space yourself out properly and keep 2 metres between you and everyone else.

Bainimarama says if you do not follow this, police officers will be enforcing these measures everywhere in the country.

He says their officers cannot be at all places all the time.

The Prime Minister also says that if you run a business in an industry where remote work is possible, tell your workers to start working from home.

He says we are food secure, there is no need to spend your savings in one frantic go at the supermarkets.

Bainimarama says the government has been informed that some people who ran to the stores to buy up goods in a panic are now wanting to return their groceries to the supermarkets and shops.

He also says the ban on gatherings of 20 people or more remains in full effect.

The Prime Minister says weddings, funerals, concerts and sporting events should all be cancelled.

He says when it comes to people’s health, no event is more important than people’s lives.




4th case of COVID-19 confirmed in Fiji

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 24/03/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

The fourth case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Fiji - and this case is from Suva.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says early this morning, they confirmed the fourth case of COVID-19.

This patient is not related to our first three cases.

He is a 28-year-old Fijian man who arrived back into the country on Saturday from Australia.

Bainimarama says when the man left that Fiji Airways flight FJ916 on March 21st, he was not showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

He says he was advised by health officials at the airport to go straight home and self-quarantine for 14 days.

The Prime Minister says it appears the man did everything right.

He says the man went from the airport straight to his flat in Suva, where he immediately self-quarantined.

On Sunday night, while he was still self-quarantined, the 28-year-old man developed mild symptoms – a sore throat, and then a cough.

The man then contacted the Health Ministry and a rapid response team was immediately dispatched to his home, where he was examined and tested.

The patient then remained in self-quarantine until the test for COVID-19 returned positive.




Measures for those who travelled on Fiji Airways FJ1916

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 24/03/2020
[Photo: Tourism Fiji]

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says from tomorrow, there will be no more scheduled passenger Fiji Airways travel into or out of Fiji until further notice.

Bainimarama also says there were 26 people on Fiji Airways flight FJ916 from Sydney to Nadi on Saturday, March 21st, apart from the Suva man who has now tested positive for COVID-19.

Bainimarama says Fiji Airways was practicing safe distancing on the plane, spacing out passengers through their strictly-enforced assigned seating.

He says because of those safety measures, only a handful of others, two other passengers and the three cabin crew who serviced his cabin, risked exposure.

Bainimarama says regardless, all other passengers remain in self-quarantine for a 14-day period.

The Prime Minister says while the risk of transmission from this case is low, the contact tracing teams are currently identifying every single person in Fiji who may have had direct contact with the patient, down to the taxi driver who drove him from Nadi Airport to Suva.

Fiji Airways has already announced they are cutting their international flights by 95%.

This passenger was on one of the final flights from Sydney to get Fijians back home.





Stand 2 metres apart in public lines

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 24/03/2020

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says people standing closely in the lines will stop from today and everyone has to keep a distance of 2 metres while standing in public lines.

Bainimarama says he has seen images going around of people standing in line and congregating in Suva and other urban areas.

He says if you need to get in line, space yourself out properly and keep 2 metres between you and everyone else.

Bainimarama says if you do not follow this, police officers will be enforcing these measures everywhere in the country.

He says their officers cannot be at all places all the time.

The Prime Minister also says that if you run a business in an industry where remote work is possible, tell your workers to start working from home.

He says we are food secure, there is no need to spend your savings in one frantic go at the supermarkets.

Bainimarama says the government has been informed that some people who ran to the stores to buy up goods in a panic are now wanting to return their groceries to the supermarkets and shops.

He also says the ban on gatherings of 20 people or more remains in full effect.

The Prime Minister says weddings, funerals, concerts and sporting events should all be cancelled.

He says when it comes to people’s health, no event is more important than people’s lives.



4th case of COVID-19 confirmed in Fiji

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 24/03/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

The fourth case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Fiji - and this case is from Suva.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says early this morning, they confirmed the fourth case of COVID-19.

This patient is not related to our first three cases.

He is a 28-year-old Fijian man who arrived back into the country on Saturday from Australia.

Bainimarama says when the man left that Fiji Airways flight FJ916 on March 21st, he was not showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

He says he was advised by health officials at the airport to go straight home and self-quarantine for 14 days.

The Prime Minister says it appears the man did everything right.

He says the man went from the airport straight to his flat in Suva, where he immediately self-quarantined.

On Sunday night, while he was still self-quarantined, the 28-year-old man developed mild symptoms – a sore throat, and then a cough.

The man then contacted the Health Ministry and a rapid response team was immediately dispatched to his home, where he was examined and tested.

The patient then remained in self-quarantine until the test for COVID-19 returned positive.



Measures for those who travelled on Fiji Airways FJ1916

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 24/03/2020
[Photo: Tourism Fiji]

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says from tomorrow, there will be no more scheduled passenger Fiji Airways travel into or out of Fiji until further notice.

Bainimarama also says there were 26 people on Fiji Airways flight FJ916 from Sydney to Nadi on Saturday, March 21st, apart from the Suva man who has now tested positive for COVID-19.

Bainimarama says Fiji Airways was practicing safe distancing on the plane, spacing out passengers through their strictly-enforced assigned seating.

He says because of those safety measures, only a handful of others, two other passengers and the three cabin crew who serviced his cabin, risked exposure.

Bainimarama says regardless, all other passengers remain in self-quarantine for a 14-day period.

The Prime Minister says while the risk of transmission from this case is low, the contact tracing teams are currently identifying every single person in Fiji who may have had direct contact with the patient, down to the taxi driver who drove him from Nadi Airport to Suva.

Fiji Airways has already announced they are cutting their international flights by 95%.

This passenger was on one of the final flights from Sydney to get Fijians back home.






Police await findings from investigators to determine charges that will be laid on flight attendants

By Iva Danford
Wednesday 25/03/2020
Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho

Police are waiting for findings from their investigators to determine the charges that will be laid on the flight attendants who are self-quarantined at a Nadi hotel and were allegedly having grog sessions with people from outside almost every night and other people are also bringing over food, clothes and snacks to them.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says if they find that some of them disobeyed the directive that has been given by the Ministry of Health, they will be charged.

Qiliho says these people are totally being irresponsible and selfish in their actions when the majority of the Fijian citizens are diligently adhering to the directives of the government.




By
Thursday //



Nadi Airport to close from tomorrow while passenger travel to the outer islands will cease from Sunday March 29th

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 25/03/2020
Nadi Airport

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says they are working overtime to avoid the nightmare scenario in countries like Italy.

Bainimarama says the government is quickly acquiring new Intensive Care beds and ventilators, and taking other measures that will be announced by Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in tomorrow’s supplementary budget address at 7.30pm.

He says the fact is, if what happened in Italy happens in Fiji, our healthcare system would buckle.

Bainimarama says the grim reality is that in Fiji, the number of deaths for this many cases would likely be much, much higher. He says Fiji is at war with the coronavirus.

Bainimarama says we cannot see our enemy but we must act as if the enemy is in our midst at all times.

He says you can join the fight by washing your hands with soap and water, practicing physical distancing, two metres distance is safest and following any and every directive given to you by authorities.

The Prime Minister says Fiji now has two cases imported from overseas.

From tomorrow, Nadi Airport will be officially shut down to all scheduled passenger travel. There are currently three flights inbound to Fiji carrying Fijians returning home from overseas, these passengers will all be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

Bainimarama says they are seriously concerned about the virus ever reaching any of our outer island communities.

From this Sunday, the 29th of March, all passenger travel to the outer islands will cease. Shipping lines for freight will continue with increased bulk but decreased frequency to ensure food and other essential goods are supplied across the islands.

The ban on gatherings of 20 or more people remains in effect. If you have a death in the family, you can proceed with a burial, so long as you limit any gatherings to fewer than 20 people.




Further contact tracing was needed as the 27 year old Lautoka man did not give full story – PM

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 25/03/2020

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama confirms that they had to do further contact tracing in relation to the first confirmed COVID-19 case as their investigations revealed that unfortunately, they were not given the full story.

Bainimarama says witnesses have told the Ministry of Health that the flight attendant had been showing symptoms, including coughing, days prior and that he failed to place himself in self-quarantine.

He says their contact tracing had to be extended further back to identify even more people he may have contacted and get them into quarantine as well. The Prime Minister says this is water under the bridge; none of us should waste time targeting or vilifying the first patient as we all have much more important work to focus on.

He confirms that most of the individuals they have had to contact have been placed in compulsory self-quarantine.

However, there are still six individuals, all in the Western Division, who have yet to come forward.




COVID-19: 5th case in Fiji confirmed by PM

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 25/03/2020
Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama. [Image: Fijian Government]

A 31-year-old woman from Lautoka is the 5th confirmed COVID-19 case in Fiji.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says their contact tracing team confirms that the woman attended a Zumba class with the 27-year-old flight attandant who was the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Fiji and while he was already displaying the symptoms.

Bainimarama says all members of that Zumba class were directed to self-quarantine the same day the first patient was diagnosed, the 19th of March. They were each instructed to immediately alert the Health Ministry medical teams if they began developing symptoms. Yesterday, four days into compulsory self-quarantine, the 31-year-old woman, began displaying symptoms.

During their Zumba class, she worked out in close proximity with the first patient and shared a hug. When she later recognised her symptoms, she notified the ministry’s rapid response medical teams, who securely and hygienically transported her via ambulance to the isolation ward at Lautoka Hospital. She was tested.

Bainimarama says the woman shares a household with nine others –– two of whom were also showing symptoms and have been isolated in Lautoka Hospital.

The other seven remain under strict quarantine in the home, which is under constant police surveillance.

Further contact tracing was needed as the 27-year-old Lautoka man did not give full story – PM

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama confirms that they had to do further contact tracing in relation to the first confirmed COVID-19 case as their investigations revealed that unfortunately, they were not given the full story.

Bainimarama says witnesses have told the Ministry of Health that the flight attendant had been showing symptoms, including coughing, days prior and that he failed to place himself in self-quarantine.

He says their contact tracing had to be extended further back to identify even more people he may have contacted and get them into quarantine as well. The Prime Minister says this is water under the bridge; none of us should waste time targeting or vilifying the first patient as we all have much more important work to focus on.

He confirms that most of the individuals they have had to contact have been placed in compulsory self-quarantine.

However, there are still six individuals, all in the Western Division, who have yet to come forward.

If you’re told to quarantine, do it. Do it, or we’ll make you do it – Bainimarama

The Prime Minister says if the government tells you to self-quarantine, do it or the government will make you do it.

Voreqe Bainimarama says if you have been directed to self-quarantine and you’re hearing this message, ask yourself: Where would you rather be? Quarantined in the comfort of your home for 14 days, or in prison for violating the law?

He says police are actively investigating reports that 36 Fiji Airways flight attendants have blatantly violated their self-quarantine, sharing grog and interacting with their friends and caregivers from outside the quarantine area.

Bainimarama has a message to those people “To those not following our instructions, I have to ask: Is this a joke to you? What in God’s name are you thinking? While Fijians in Lautoka are living under lockdown, while our health workers work day and night to test and treat patients, and while the elderly are restricted to their homes, these Fijians are spitting on all of the sacrifices their fellow Fijians are making to keep our country safe.”

Bainimarama stresses that self-quarantine isn’t a voluntary measure.

He says it is not simply a “nice thing to do”.

The Prime Minister says it is a compulsory, legally-mandated order, and these Fijians will be investigated.

Bainimarama has also made it clear that if necessary, they will be arrested, charged and punished accordingly.

The Prime Minister says in Fiji, being a flight attendant is a highly-competitive job, hundreds, if not thousands, of Fijians, strive for each position filled.

He says it should be a position you hold with pride and one you don’t take for granted.

He says if irresponsible behaviour like this continues, Fiji Airways should not hesitate to clean house and replace these people with people who take their duty of care seriously.

Bainimarama says their behaviour in-flight and the protective measures that they take to ensure the safety of their cabin should be no different than they are on the ground when they are caring for their own community.

Nadi Airport to close from tomorrow while passenger travel to the outer islands will cease from Sunday March 29th

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says they are working overtime to avoid the nightmare scenario in countries like Italy.

Bainimarama says the government is quickly acquiring new Intensive Care beds and ventilators, and taking other measures that will be announced by Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in tomorrow’s supplementary budget address at 7.30pm.

He says the fact is, if what happened in Italy happens in Fiji, our healthcare system would buckle.

Bainimarama says the grim reality is that in Fiji, the number of deaths for this many cases would likely be much, much higher.

He says Fiji is at war with the coronavirus.

Bainimarama says we cannot see our enemy but we must act as if the enemy is in our midst at all times.

He says you can join the fight by washing your hands with soap and water, practicing physical distancing, two metres distance is safest and following any and every directive given to you by authorities.

The Prime Minister says Fiji now has two cases imported from overseas.

From tomorrow, Nadi Airport will be officially shut down to all scheduled passenger travel.

There are currently three flights inbound to Fiji carrying Fijians returning home from overseas, these passengers will all be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon the arrival.

Bainimarama says they are seriously concerned about the virus ever reaching any of our outer island communities.

From this Sunday, the 29th of March, all passenger travel to the outer islands will cease.

Shipping lines for freight will continue with increased bulk but decreased frequency to ensure food and other essential goods are supplied across the islands.

The ban on gatherings of 20 or more people remains in effect.

If you have a death in the family, you can proceed with a burial, so long as you limit any gatherings to fewer than 20 people.

Source: World Health Organization




8 fever clinics operating around Fiji as part of COVID-19 response plan

By Rashika Kumar
Wednesday 25/03/2020
[Photo:Ministry of Health]

The Ministry of Health has confirmed there are now eight fever clinics operating around the country as part of the COVID-19 response plan.

It says six clinics are now operational in Nasinu, Labasa, Savusavu and Nabouwalu while two others have been operational in Lautoka since last week.

The clinics are open from 8am to 4.30pm while the Lautoka clinics are open from 8am to 10pm in the weekdays and 8am to 4pm in the weekends.

These clinics include Valelevu Multipurpose Court in Saqa Street, Valelevu, Punjas Health Centre Carpark IN Cakau Street Lautoka, Kamikamica Health Centre Carpark, Nasea Health Centre and Empower Pacific Building (next to Ro Qomate Building) in Labasa, Old Public Health Building (next to hospital) in Savusavu, Taveuni Health Centre (Outside GOPD), Nabouwalu Fever Clinic and a dedicated tent outside Nabouwalu Hospital.

Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete has confirmed there will be one in the Suva area and they have identified which is currently being scoped.

He adds that Fever Clinics are also preventing and protecting the front line health workers at institutions like the CWM Hospital to ensure that patients who need other forms of care can get through to them.




Village Headman and fellow villager charged with disobedience of lawful order granted bail

By Naveel Krishant
Wednesday 25/03/2020
Mamanavesi and Saqanaivalu granted bail. [image: Fiji Police]

The Village Headman of Namena Village in Tailevu, 59-year-old Jese Mamanavesi and fellow villager Koroi Saqanaivalu who are charged with disobedience of lawful order have been granted bail.

The two allegedly allowed the gathering of more than 20 people at Saqanaivalu's residence on Monday night.

Their case will be called again on the 9th of April




Passengers in 3 flights which the first COVID-19 patient was in, are in the incubation period - Dr Waqainabete

By Rashika Kumar
Wednesday 25/03/2020
Minister for Health Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete

Minister for Health Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says passengers that were in the three flights which the first COVID-19 patient was in, are in the incubation period and it is important to make sure they are isolated.

He says the Ministry is looking at them with purpose for the 14 day period.

Doctor Waqainabete says their teams visit the people that were on those flights at least once a day and are in contact with them through phone calls and they will also make sure with Police that these people are not up and about in the community.

He adds that it’s also very helpful for the family members to encourage them to follow the rules of isolation and self quarantine that the Ministry has in place.

The Minister says the Incident Management Team which is being managed by Doctor James Fong has made sure they have isolation facilities.

He adds that we cannot have community transmission in a chaotic and uncontrolled scale that some other high income countries have.




Fijians reaching out to one another during unprecedented times due to COVID-19 pandemic

By Semi Turaga
Wednesday 25/03/2020
Lautoka Ratepayers and Residents Association distributing groceries yesterday

During these unprecedented times due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Fijians are reaching out to one another through acts of kindness.

While many may be isolated in Lautoka due to the lockdown – inspiring Fijians and organisations are making sure they are not alone.

The Lautoka Ratepayers and Residents Association in partnership with the Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development (Friend Fiji) are reaching out to those in Lautoka who are finding it hard to get by daily.

They have already distributed 50 hampers to those in need.

These hampers include items like rice, flour, dhal, cooking oil, canned tuna, biscuits, antibacterial soap and washing powder.

Lautoka businessman, Narayan Reddy who lives in Drasa Vitogo has been helping with the distribution.

Reddy says they are assisting people who are in real need.

He says they are getting about 40 calls from people everyday.

Reddy says they are also working with Empower Pacific to provide counselling as this is a stressful time for people who have lost their jobs.




COVID-19: Security of women and girls is top priority - Vuniwaqa

By Shanil Singh
Wednesday 25/03/2020
Minister for Women, Mereseini Vuniwaqa. [image: file]

With four cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Fiji, Minister for Women, Mereseini Vuniwaqa says the safety and security of women and girls, including those with disabilities and marginalised groups is top priority.

Vuniwaqa says the Ministry is working closely with the signatories to the National Service Delivery Protocol to ensure that women and girls are protected, and perpetrators do not use this situation as an opportunity to commit violence.

This includes the Police, key government ministries, frontline service providers such as the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, Medical Services Pacific, Empower Pacific and the Salvation Army.

Vuniwaqa says this is because they have seen the rise in domestic violence cases happen before during political crisis’ and natural disasters.

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre Coordinator Shamima Ali says the Centre is ready to support women and girls.

Ali says while they support recommended public health measures such as social distancing but acknowledge that it may be used as a mechanism by perpetrators to further isolate women from family and social networks, creating a potentially dangerous environment for physical, sexual, and emotional violence.




Central Eastern Mini Buses Association calls for Suva-Nausori route to be shut down due to drop in operations

By Naveel Krishant
Wednesday 25/03/2020
[Photo:File]

The Central Eastern Mini Buses Association is calling on the government to shut down the operations between the Suva and Nausori corridor as they are seeing operations drop by at least 60%.

General Secretary of the Association, Yashwardhan Ram says they are finding difficulties in their operations such as purchasing diesel, paying the drivers wages, payment for the mini-buses and the time frame they operate.

Ram says it is difficult for them to operate with only 6 passengers in a 15 seater mini-bus.

He adds that commuters are also requesting the 2-metres distance.

There are 40 operators Central Eastern Mini Buses Association.

We have sent questions to LTA and the Minister for Transportation.




Lautoka border monitoring maximised for Police with CCTV installation

By Iva Danford
Wednesday 25/03/2020
Inspector Tuirewa of the Police Command and Control Center in Suva, monitors the situation in the Western Division's restricted border zones. [image: Fiji police]

CCTV cameras have been mounted in strategic locations along the Lautoka border maximising the ability of Police to monitor the confined area.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says a live feed has been linked to the Police Command and Control Centre in Suva where Operations Command can monitor the activities and movement of people.

Qiliho says senior officers are also able to access the live feed on their mobile phones whereby quick decisions can be made to assist officers on the frontline manning the roadblocks.




COVID-19: Two charged for their alleged involvement in the gathering of more than 20 people

By Semi Turaga
Wednesday 25/03/2020

Two more people have been charged for their alleged involvement in the gathering of more than 20 people.

Police say the Village Headman of Namena Village in Tailevu and a fellow villager have both been charged with one count of Disobedience of Lawful Order.

They allegedly allowed a group of more than 20 people to gather at the second accused's home on Monday night.

Police say the two men will appear in the Nausori Magistrates Court today.

Police confirm they are also investigating another incident where a man was assisted by villagers in the Western Division to cross the Sabeto border and into the Lautoka restricted areas yesterday.




By
Thursday //



The 36 flight attendants who are on self-quarantine are alleged to be still interacting with outsiders

By Vijay Narayan
Wednesday 25/03/2020
Police strictly guarding the check point in Lautoka [image: Fiji Police]

The 36 flight attendants who are on self-quarantine at a Nadi hotel are allegedly having grog sessions with people from outside almost every night and other people are also bringing over food, clothes and snacks to them.

We have received reports that these people from outside are also spending time with the self isolated flight attendants.

All this is happening despite repeated calls by the Prime Minister and the Health Ministry for people to self quarantine and not to have physical interaction with anyone.

The reports have come from nearby Nadi residents.

Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho has confirmed to Fijivillage that they working with the hotel on the CCTV footage and the people were warned by a senior Police Officer last night.

Qiliho says investigations are well underway and those who have disobeyed the Ministry of Health directives will be produced in court in the next few days.

Commissioner Qiliho says these people are totally being irresponsible and selfish in their actions when majority of the Fijian citizens are diligently adhering to the directives of the government.


Avoid all non-essential travel from today - PM

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 24/03/2020

All Fijians anywhere in the country are to avoid all non-essential travel from today after the 4th confirmed COVID-19 case in Fiji – which is from Suva.

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has made it clear in his statement to the nation today that no Fijian should travel from their home unless absolutely necessary.

He says people certainly should not be travelling around the country, across divisions or to different islands.

Bainimarama says children should stay at home at all times. He stresses that the elderly should stay at home at all times.

The Prime Minister says breadwinners who can go to work should go home straight after.

For everyone else, every move you make should be for your own health or the health of others.

Bainimarama says you can go out to get food, get medicine, take out money or access another essential service, it is also fine to exercise safely outdoors, so long as you maintain a safe distance from others.

But do not visit friends or family unless absolutely necessary.

The Prime Minister tells people do not host parties, do not needlessly linger and do not mingle with strangers.

Bainimarama says not in 100 years has the world seen a health crisis this severe. He says these are not normal times, and we cannot go about our day-to-day lives as if everything is normal.

He says that ignorance of the reality on the ground and the severity of this disease will get people killed.

The Prime Minister says if one person is exposed to this virus, and ignores the government’s restrictions, they could run around infecting everyone they come into contact with.

Bainimarama says if all those newly-infected people do the same, suddenly, we have a massive outbreak on our hands.

If the Ministry of Health has directed you to self-quarantine, do it.

They will be calling you and checking in on you in-person to make sure you are staying away from the public.

Self-quarantine for 14 days means you must stay in your home. During that time, you should avoid contact with other members of your household as much as humanly possible.


Stand 2 metres apart in public lines

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 24/03/2020

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says people standing closely in the lines will stop from today and everyone has to keep a distance of 2 metres while standing in public lines.

Bainimarama says he has seen images going around of people standing in line and congregating in Suva and other urban areas.

He says if you need to get in line, space yourself out properly and keep 2 metres between you and everyone else.

Bainimarama says if you do not follow this, police officers will be enforcing these measures everywhere in the country.

He says their officers cannot be at all places all the time.

The Prime Minister also says that if you run a business in an industry where remote work is possible, tell your workers to start working from home.

He says we are food secure, there is no need to spend your savings in one frantic go at the supermarkets.

Bainimarama says the government has been informed that some people who ran to the stores to buy up goods in a panic are now wanting to return their groceries to the supermarkets and shops.

He also says the ban on gatherings of 20 people or more remains in full effect.

The Prime Minister says weddings, funerals, concerts and sporting events should all be cancelled.

He says when it comes to people’s health, no event is more important than people’s lives.




4th case of COVID-19 confirmed in Fiji

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 24/03/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

The fourth case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Fiji - and this case is from Suva.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says early this morning, they confirmed the fourth case of COVID-19.

This patient is not related to our first three cases.

He is a 28-year-old Fijian man who arrived back into the country on Saturday from Australia.

Bainimarama says when the man left that Fiji Airways flight FJ916 on March 21st, he was not showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

He says he was advised by health officials at the airport to go straight home and self-quarantine for 14 days.

The Prime Minister says it appears the man did everything right.

He says the man went from the airport straight to his flat in Suva, where he immediately self-quarantined.

On Sunday night, while he was still self-quarantined, the 28-year-old man developed mild symptoms – a sore throat, and then a cough.

The man then contacted the Health Ministry and a rapid response team was immediately dispatched to his home, where he was examined and tested.

The patient then remained in self-quarantine until the test for COVID-19 returned positive.




Measures for those who travelled on Fiji Airways FJ1916

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 24/03/2020
[Photo: Tourism Fiji]

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says from tomorrow, there will be no more scheduled passenger Fiji Airways travel into or out of Fiji until further notice.

Bainimarama also says there were 26 people on Fiji Airways flight FJ916 from Sydney to Nadi on Saturday, March 21st, apart from the Suva man who has now tested positive for COVID-19.

Bainimarama says Fiji Airways was practicing safe distancing on the plane, spacing out passengers through their strictly-enforced assigned seating.

He says because of those safety measures, only a handful of others, two other passengers and the three cabin crew who serviced his cabin, risked exposure.

Bainimarama says regardless, all other passengers remain in self-quarantine for a 14-day period.

The Prime Minister says while the risk of transmission from this case is low, the contact tracing teams are currently identifying every single person in Fiji who may have had direct contact with the patient, down to the taxi driver who drove him from Nadi Airport to Suva.

Fiji Airways has already announced they are cutting their international flights by 95%.

This passenger was on one of the final flights from Sydney to get Fijians back home.





Stand 2 metres apart in public lines

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 24/03/2020

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says people standing closely in the lines will stop from today and everyone has to keep a distance of 2 metres while standing in public lines.

Bainimarama says he has seen images going around of people standing in line and congregating in Suva and other urban areas.

He says if you need to get in line, space yourself out properly and keep 2 metres between you and everyone else.

Bainimarama says if you do not follow this, police officers will be enforcing these measures everywhere in the country.

He says their officers cannot be at all places all the time.

The Prime Minister also says that if you run a business in an industry where remote work is possible, tell your workers to start working from home.

He says we are food secure, there is no need to spend your savings in one frantic go at the supermarkets.

Bainimarama says the government has been informed that some people who ran to the stores to buy up goods in a panic are now wanting to return their groceries to the supermarkets and shops.

He also says the ban on gatherings of 20 people or more remains in full effect.

The Prime Minister says weddings, funerals, concerts and sporting events should all be cancelled.

He says when it comes to people’s health, no event is more important than people’s lives.



4th case of COVID-19 confirmed in Fiji

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 24/03/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

The fourth case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Fiji - and this case is from Suva.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says early this morning, they confirmed the fourth case of COVID-19.

This patient is not related to our first three cases.

He is a 28-year-old Fijian man who arrived back into the country on Saturday from Australia.

Bainimarama says when the man left that Fiji Airways flight FJ916 on March 21st, he was not showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

He says he was advised by health officials at the airport to go straight home and self-quarantine for 14 days.

The Prime Minister says it appears the man did everything right.

He says the man went from the airport straight to his flat in Suva, where he immediately self-quarantined.

On Sunday night, while he was still self-quarantined, the 28-year-old man developed mild symptoms – a sore throat, and then a cough.

The man then contacted the Health Ministry and a rapid response team was immediately dispatched to his home, where he was examined and tested.

The patient then remained in self-quarantine until the test for COVID-19 returned positive.



Measures for those who travelled on Fiji Airways FJ1916

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 24/03/2020
[Photo: Tourism Fiji]

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says from tomorrow, there will be no more scheduled passenger Fiji Airways travel into or out of Fiji until further notice.

Bainimarama also says there were 26 people on Fiji Airways flight FJ916 from Sydney to Nadi on Saturday, March 21st, apart from the Suva man who has now tested positive for COVID-19.

Bainimarama says Fiji Airways was practicing safe distancing on the plane, spacing out passengers through their strictly-enforced assigned seating.

He says because of those safety measures, only a handful of others, two other passengers and the three cabin crew who serviced his cabin, risked exposure.

Bainimarama says regardless, all other passengers remain in self-quarantine for a 14-day period.

The Prime Minister says while the risk of transmission from this case is low, the contact tracing teams are currently identifying every single person in Fiji who may have had direct contact with the patient, down to the taxi driver who drove him from Nadi Airport to Suva.

Fiji Airways has already announced they are cutting their international flights by 95%.

This passenger was on one of the final flights from Sydney to get Fijians back home.






LTA CEO says people should not board public transportation if other passengers can't maintain 2-metre separation

By Semi Turaga, Iva Danford
Tuesday 24/03/2020
Land Transport Authority CEO Samuel Simpson

The Land Transport Authority CEO Samuel Simpson says if people can’t maintain a 2-metre separation between them and other passengers then they should not board the bus, minibus or taxi.

In line with the recommendations from the Ministry of Health that all non-essential travel should be suspended until the current situation has improved, Simpson says if people have to travel for essential reasons in a bus, taxi or minibus they must ensure that they maintain a clear space of at least 2 metres between them and the next nearest person.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the decision to limit or monitor people travelling in public transportation like buses will be made at the right time.

He says that this decision will be made after cabinet sits with the Ministry of Health. Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says as the situation evolves they will be making further announcements on measures for public transportation.

He was responding to a question on when the government would announce measures for buses as there is now a ban on gatherings of 20 people or more.

During peak traffic time, there can be 60 people in a bus.




28 year old man now confirmed to have COVID-19 virus after testing positive today - Dr. Sahukhan

By Semi Turaga
Tuesday 24/03/2020
Head of Health Protection Doctor Aalisha Sahukhan

32 people were tested for COVID-19 at the Fiji Centres for Disease Control this morning and the sample of the 28-year-old man who is now confirmed to have the virus was the only one that came back positive.

Head of Health Protection Doctor Aalisha Sahukhan says 179 people have been tested for COVID-19 since the end of January at the Fiji Centres for Disease Control.




If you have nothing to do at the checkpoint don’t come there - Qiliho

By Iva Danford
Tuesday 24/03/2020

If you have nothing to do at the checkpoint, don’t come there.

This is the stern warning that has come from the Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho as people have been arrested for trying to get through the Lautoka checkpoint.

Twelve people have already been produced in court for allegedly breaching the COVID-19 restrictions in the Lautoka lockdown area.

They are charged with Disobedience of Lawful Order.

Uni Fiji Vice-Chancellor Update

The taxi driver that transported the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fiji who illegally violated the Lautoka confined area and caught a flight to Sydney has been charged.

The driver from Tuvu, Lautoka was arrested yesterday for alleged disobedience of lawful order.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the man allegedly used his taxi to transport the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fiji based in Lautoka to the Nadi Airport last Saturday through Kings Highway.

Qiliho says they are looking at other people that helped her go past the border.




Measures for those who travelled on Fiji Airways FJ1916

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 24/03/2020
[Photo: Tourism Fiji]

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says from tomorrow, there will be no more scheduled passenger Fiji Airways travel into or out of Fiji until further notice.

Bainimarama also says there were 26 people on Fiji Airways flight FJ916 from Sydney to Nadi on Saturday, March 21st, apart from the Suva man who has now tested positive for COVID-19.

Bainimarama says Fiji Airways was practicing safe distancing on the plane, spacing out passengers through their strictly-enforced assigned seating.

He says because of those safety measures, only a handful of others, two other passengers and the three cabin crew who serviced his cabin, risked exposure.

Bainimarama says regardless, all other passengers remain in self-quarantine for a 14-day period.

The Prime Minister says while the risk of transmission from this case is low, the contact tracing teams are currently identifying every single person in Fiji who may have had direct contact with the patient, down to the taxi driver who drove him from Nadi Airport to Suva.

Fiji Airways has already announced they are cutting their international flights by 95%.

This passenger was on one of the final flights from Sydney to get Fijians back home.




4th case of COVID-19 confirmed in Fiji

By Vijay Narayan
Tuesday 24/03/2020
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

The fourth case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Fiji - and this case is from Suva.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says early this morning, they confirmed the fourth case of COVID-19.

This patient is not related to our first three cases.

He is a 28-year-old Fijian man who arrived back into the country on Saturday from Australia.

Bainimarama says when the man left that Fiji Airways flight FJ916 on March 21st, he was not showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

He says he was advised by health officials at the airport to go straight home and self-quarantine for 14 days.

The Prime Minister says it appears the man did everything right.

He says the man went from the airport straight to his flat in Suva, where he immediately self-quarantined.

On Sunday night, while he was still self-quarantined, the 28-year-old man developed mild symptoms – a sore throat, and then a cough.

The man then contacted the Health Ministry and a rapid response team was immediately dispatched to his home, where he was examined and tested.

The patient then remained in self-quarantine until the test for COVID-19 returned positive.




LTA to revoke PSV permit of any taxi, minibus or bus that violate Lautoka lockdown area

By Semi Turaga
Tuesday 24/03/2020

The Land Transport Authority says it will revoke the Public Service Vehicle Permit of any taxi, minibus, bus operator who conspires to assist a person to break or frustrate the Lautoka lockdown area.

CEO Samuel Simpson says if any PSV operator is approached by any individual who seeks to attempt to breach the cordon then this matter must be reported immediately to the Fiji Police Force who will take appropriate action.

This statement by the LTA comes after a taxi driver allegedly violated the Lautoka confined area.

Police say the taxi driver from Tuvu in Lautoka allegedly used his taxi to transport the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fiji based in Lautoka to the Nadi Airport last Saturday through Kings Highway.

Investigations by Police are continuing concerning this latest incident as a fixer allegedly arranged this and a Personal Assistant was allegedly involved.




Father Dakai appears in court for allegedly conducting a church service in Ovalau on Sunday

By Dhanjay Deo
Tuesday 24/03/2020
Catholic priest Fabiano Naduva Dakai

58-year-old Catholic priest, Fabiano Naduva Dakai appeared in the Nausori Magistrates Court today for allegedly conducting a church service/mass in Ovalau on Sunday which resulted in the gathering of more than 20 people.

Father Dakai is charged with one count of disobedience of lawful order.

He was released on bail and ordered not to re-offend.

The matter will be called again on the 9th of next month for plea.

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has already made it clear that there is a ban on gatherings of 20 or more people.




COVID-19 Budget : Govt identifies two categories of people that can be assisted

By Semi Turaga
Tuesday 24/03/2020
Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says they have to be able cater for  different type of scenarios in the COVID-19 Response Budget and the most obvious one is to be able to work with FNPF on how they can provide a form of relief by way of access to finances for those people who are no longer employed or will no longer be employed for at least a period of time.

Sayed-Khaiyum says there are two categories of people that they see.

He says one, of course, are those people who are employed in the Lautoka confined area and the other category of people are those in the tourism sector which is not just hotels but also tour operators.

Sayed-Khaiyum says they also need to look at people in the informal sector as some people may not be members of FNPF but are making a healthy living selling dalo and cassava by the side of the road.

He says some of these people will also need to be assisted if they all of a sudden are unable to sell their products.




37 passengers remaining after 45 people came forward from flights first COVID-19 patient was in

By Semi Turaga
Tuesday 24/03/2020
File Photo

45 people have come forward overnight after the Health Ministry published the names of 82 passengers from flights that the first COVID-19 patient also flew in.

There are 37 passengers remaining.

If you know one of these individuals, tell them to call 2219906 immediately.

The Health Ministry says these passengers need to be self-quarantined.

It says these passengers are not patients but persons of interest and those who require observation to ensure that there is no spread of potential COVID-19 in the community.

The Health Ministry says this contact tracing is a vital part of containment measures.

There are currently three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Fiji.

No

Name

Last Known Address

Division

1

Chand Charan Vishneel

Navua

Central

2

Manjula Devi

Vuci Rd, Nausori

Central

3

Vilisielesi Tavui