Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says once we vaccinate at least 80% of adults in Fiji, we will be in an excellent position to open quarantine-free travel with other countries that have deployed the same Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines we are using in Fiji.
Bainimarama says at this point, that includes Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Korea, Singapore, and parts of the USA.
The Prime Minister says at the rate we are going, we expect to be ready to accept travellers well before our goal of celebrating Christmas in Fiji with our friends from around the world.
He says in fact, they are looking at reopening as soon as this November.
Bainimarama says while much of that depends on the next several weeks and what the science informs us is safest, he wants the Fijians who depend on tourism to know they are doing everything possible to get you back to work and bring this industry back from the brink.
He says they will be establishing mutually recognised vaccine protocol agreements with the governments, which essentially shows that we are comfortable with their levels of vaccine coverage and that we can rely on the vaccine status of their travellers and, vice versa, that Fijians can prove their vaccine status when travelling abroad.
Bainimarama says for Fiji’s part, Fiji Airways has achieved the highest possible SKYTRAX 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating and the Diamond certification by the Airline Passenger Experience Association and SimpliFlying, and nearly every hotel and tour operator in Fiji is Care Fiji Commitment certified.
The Prime Minister also confirms that their plan is not to open quarantine-free travel with the entire world in one go.
He says it will be gradual, starting with travellers from exclusive green list areas with similarly high rates of vaccination to ours and low test positivity rates.
Travellers from these potential green list areas must be fully vaccinated and receive pre-departure approval, which will be easily obtained online.
Though they are fully vaccinated, these travellers must also register a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of boarding their flight to Fiji.
Once they arrive, these travellers can vacation in designated travel safe areas where they can enjoy the best of Fiji knowing that everyone they interact with will be fully vaccinated, from their fellow guests to the hotel staff, to the tour operators.
Bainimarama says they are drawing up the boundaries of these travel safe areas in close cooperation with the tourism industry.
He says they will have regular in-country testing and clear protocols in the event of breakthrough infections.
The Prime Minister says the well-established protocols for quarantine centres will remain in effect for people who are not vaccinated or who are not travelling to Fiji from a green list country and they are also accommodating for the long-awaited reunions between friends and family throughout the Fijian diaspora.
Fully vaccinated travellers from green list countries can travel throughout Fiji after spending five days within a travel safe area and clearing another negative COVID-19 test result.
READ FULL COVID-19 UPDATES.
Stay tuned for the latest news on our radio stations