Fiji on alert as first case of coronavirus reaches its shores

Fiji on alert as first case of coronavirus reaches its shores

Venkat Raman
Auckland, March 19, 2020

Fiji’s Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama addressing the Nation today (Facebook)

The Fijian government placed the country on high alert after announcing the first case of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) within its borders today- Thursday, March 19, 2020.

“We had expected this for sometime now and have prepared accordingly,” Prime Minister Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama said in a statement from Suva.

He announced that effective midnight, border restrictions were in place for foreign nationals from mainland China, Italy, Iran, Spain and South Korea and foreigners who have been present in the United States of America and all of Europe, including the United Kingdom.

These restrictions will be in force for 14 days of their intended travel to Fiji.

In addition, anyone entering Fiji from any overseas destination will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

The first Covid-19 patient was tested at Lautoka hospital and remains in close supervision, he said.

“Nearly every country has already reported cases of the virus, including multiple Pacific Island nations. Our constant monitoring of the global spread of the pandemic has given us a clear idea of what is necessary now to prevent a large-scale outbreak in Fiji,” he said.

Mr Bainimarama said that effective tonight, all schools and non-essential businesses within the Greater Lautoka Area will be closed until further notice.

He also advised all Fijians to practice social distancing.

“We know this virus strikes hardest at those most vulnerable. We need to learn from the hard lessons of other nations who failed to practice social distancing until it was too late. So, while young people often do not show symptoms or suffer serious cases, they can infect elderly members of society, including their grandparents, and those with underlying health conditions, such as NCDs,” Mr Bainimarama said.

He said that Fiji had ample stock of food and that abundant supply of cleaning and hygiene products since they are locally produced.

Helpline numbers: Central Division 2219905; Eastern Division 2219906; Western Division 2219907; Northern Division 2219908.

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