Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says given the rapid increase in global cases of the Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19, the government is announcing a new range of measures at our borders to reduce the risk of an outbreak in Fiji.
Bainimarama says following the closure of Fijian borders to all visitors from Mainland China, from 28th February, Fiji will also be denying access to any foreign nationals who have been present in the nations of Italy and Iran or in Cheongdo county and Daegu city in South Korea within 14 days of their intended travel to Fiji.
The UAE and Singapore have just announced similar measures.
The Prime Minister says in cooperation with Fiji Airways and other carriers, the previously announced stringent border screening measures will remain in place for all inbound passengers to Fiji.
From next Monday, Fiji will also screen all international air passengers with handheld temperature scanners and in two to three weeks time we will have thermal scanners installed at our international airports.
At sea, from 28th February, all cruise ships entering Fijian waters will be required to make first berth at ports in Suva or Lautoka, where all passengers on board will undergo the earlier-announced medical and travel history checks.
Bainimarama says the global economy is taking a big hit from the spread of the coronavirus, and Fiji will feel the impacts as well.
But the Prime Minister stresses that they are introducing these new security measures because they believe the health of our people must always come first.
In the United States, health officials revealed that an eventual, larger-scale outbreak of coronavirus in the country was all but inevitable.
Bainimarama says this is a reality all countries must face but our decision-making must be guided by facts, not by fear.
He says that’s why the Ministry of Health will diligently prepare for the disease, even though Fiji continues to be free of coronavirus.
Bainimarama says in the meantime, health officials are equipped and prepared to isolate and treat any case of the virus if it arrives in the country.
He says we will soon have the capacity to quickly and accurately test for the virus here in Fiji, rather than send samples overseas.
The Prime Minister says Fiji continues to keep a close watch on the global spread of the coronavirus – now known as COVID-19.
The virus has now infected more than 80,000 people in over 30 countries.
As of today, there are no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Fiji.
He says every Fijian can aid our nationwide response, firstly, by practicing good hygiene.
Wash your hands, cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze.
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