Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has announced a number of measures to try to isolate and contain COVID-19 after the first case of coronavirus in Lautoka.
Border Restrictions and Self Quarantine
By: Vijay Narayan
From midnight tonight our border restrictions on Mainland China, Italy, Iran, Spain and South Korea will be extended to foreign nationals who have been present in the USA and all of Europe including the United Kingdom within 14 days of their intended travel.
Also from midnight tonight, anyone who enters our country from any overseas destination will be required to self quarantine for 14 days meaning they must stay in one place and avoid contact with others or going out in public.
The most stringent travel restrictions have been announced for Lautoka
By: Vijay Narayan
The Prime Minister says starting at midnight tonight, all schools and non-essential businesses within the Greater Lautoka Area will be closed until further notice.
The government is defining the Greater Lautoka Area as the area spanning from King’s Road at Nacilau Junction past Matawalu Village, to the feeder road at Vakabuli Junction, to the Queen’s Road at Natalau Junction.
Banks, supermarkets and pharmacies, and other essential businesses in the Greater Lautoka Area will remain open.
Essential businesses include 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 and water and sewage services.
Fijians who work but do not live in this area should report to the nearest office outside of the monitored area, regardless of whether their industry falls under the essential businesses list.
If there is no branch of your company outside of the Greater Lautoka area, please contact your employer and the Prime Minister says government will, in the next few days, announce how your absence from work will be treated during this situation.
Bainimarama says they advise all employers to accommodate the needs of your employees and not make any employees redundant.
He says basically, if you are living in the Greater Lautoka Area, you will now stay in the Greater Lautoka Area. If you do not live in the Greater Lautoka Area, you cannot travel there, even if you work there.
By continuing the essential services, Bainimarama says the government will ensure the supply of food will continue to be available.
In order to maintain food security, the Agriculture Marketing Authority will be buying fruits, vegetables and root crops at the border of the Greater Lautoka Area from the farmers and middle-men to be sold to the vendors for sale at local markets in the Greater Lautoka Area.
The Minister for Agriculture will provide the specifics of this programme this afternoon.
Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has announced that gatherings of 20 or more people are now banned in Fiji after the confirmation of the first COVID-19 case.
Gatherings are defined as any assembly of individuals in a single location, including meetings, religious gatherings, such as church, mosque and temple services, and sports events.
At this stage, workplaces, businesses and inter-island shipping services outside of Lautoka may remain open, buses and Fiji Link services can continue and schools, outside of Lautoka, will remain open.
However Bainimarama says all Fijians should avoid all non-essential travel.
The Prime Minister says nightclubs, gyms, cinemas, swimming pools, fitness centres and even recreational contact sporting engagements, which, by their nature, make personal space nearly impossible should also be closed and ceased everywhere in Fiji, effective immediately.
For the time being, the judiciary will continue to function, but there will be no movement of people in remand centres into or out of the Greater Lautoka Area.
The government will also be establishing fever clinics in each Division, similar to what other countries have done to contain the virus at the local level.
Bainimarama says these clinics will be designed to keep people with fevers away from vulnerable people who visit Health Centres and into separate, dedicated spaces specially designed to effectively identify possible COVID-19 cases.
Bainimarama says this is an aggressive, proportionate and most importantly scalable response.
All of these measures will be reviewed in 14 days time.
The Prime Minister also confirms that before then, measures may escalate if necessary as they monitor the situation, particularly the outcomes of their contact tracing.
Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainiamarama says essential goods will be available in the country and there is no need for people to rush and buy in large stocks.
Bainimarama says no one should act in fear or with panic.
He says we are in this together, we will endure this together and we will overcome this together as well.
Fiji’s health relies on your help in the government’s containment efforts. If you are feeling unwell, or know someone who is feeling unwell, immediately contact the Health Ministry on one of these 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.
The Head of Health Protection at the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Dr. Alisha Sahukhan says the COVID-19 patient is a 27-year-old flight attendant of Fiji Airways who had a recent travel history to the USA and New Zealand.
Dr. Sahukhan says the flight attendant presented at Lautoka Hospital on Tuesday evening displaying respiratory symptoms at which point he was immediately isolated by the staff into a dedicated isolation ward.
Dr. Sahukhan says the patient remains isolated and is in a stable condition.
She says they received the test results this morning.
Dr. Sahukhan it is important to note that this is an imported case of the virus and is not a locally transmitted case.
She says based on the patients travel history and when his symptoms started, they believe that he got COVID-19 in the USA.
Dr. Sahukhan says they are focused on the patient’s movement since Monday as that is when the period started when he could spread the disease to others.
She says based on this information, they are now contacting passengers and crew who may have been exposed on Fiji Airways flights that he was working on.
These flights are FJ871 from San Francisco to Nadi which arrived in Nadi on Monday, FJ411 from Nadi to Auckland and the return flight FJ410 from Auckland to Nadi, both on Tuesday.
She says they are working closely with Fiji Airways to contact the passengers and crew.
If you had travelled on these flights then please contact:
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.
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