Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong says we have to at least begin the process of putting forward COVID-safe business plans that manage the risks of resuming operations responsibly.
Doctor Fong says as the COVID test data informs their next steps, the Ministry of Commerce, Trade, Tourism and Transport has announced a system of passes to allow businesses with COVID-safe operations plans to re-open.
He says a digital portal for obtaining passes is in development, the Ministry will announce details within the next two days on how business and employers can apply through that process to operate with the appropriate safeguards in place.
Doctor Fong says they expect to see employers and businesses to put careful thought into COVID-safe operations plans.
He says they want you to re-open, they want you to employ people, because they need your full might behind alleviating the socioeconomic burden of this pandemic but that has to be done in extremely well-managed ways.
He urges businesses not to begin this process with a temporary timeline in mind.
Doctor Fong says “normal” has a new definition.
The Permanent Secretary says the world has adapted to cater for the risks of the coronavirus, so must we.
He cannot promise that the results of the testing will make reopening feasible for everyone in the near-term.
Doctor Fong says we are heading into a new phase, a new normal that the rest of the world has embraced but that we are yet to fully adopt.
He says we have to take careful steps, we have to maintain a constant state of vigilance, we must sustain our commitment to the measures we know can keep us safe and we have to take the onus of containment as a society.
Doctor Fong says this is not from top down, but from the grassroots, where everyday decisions by ordinary Fijians, taken together, can set us down a safer, more sustainable path.
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