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162 Fijian soldiers to be put into quarantine amidst COVID-19 scare

June 25, 2020 4:45 pm
Ariel view of Egypt. [Source: AFKTravel]

162 Fijian soldiers returning from peacekeeping duties from Sinai, Egypt will be put through stringent quarantine after some local civilians in their camp were tested positive for COVID-19.

Military Commander Rear Admiral Viliame Naupoto says even though no Fijian soldier has tested positive for the virus – it’s clear they could have been exposed to those infected.

Egypt has so far recorded over 59,000 cases of COVID-19 and 2, 450 deaths.

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Naupoto says the soldiers will arrive on Saturday after serving in Sinai for over a year.

“We’ve alerted the Ministry of Health that our soldiers even though none of them has tested positive because there is no PCR test on the other side in Sinai. But we’ve alerted the Ministry of Health that they’re coming back from that environment where the civilians who are working at the South Camp where they’re based have tested positive for COVID-19. So I get that will trigger a reaction from the Health Ministry which they’re discussing with us also on the steps they’re going to take to make sure we remain COVID contained.”

The Commander says the civilians who tested positive for COVID-19 had worked closely with the Fijian troops.

“These are Egyptians, locals so we’re not surprised they contracted the disease because they go back home after work. They work in areas like the kitchen, they clean up etc. They just provide support to the soldiers.”

Naupoto says there were several attempts to rotate the soldiers and get them home to their families.

“So they will come in and we’ve already had discussions with the Health Ministry. The Ministry has its own protocols that we will have to strictly follow through their quarantine and their testing that they will have to go through. We are providing all the necessary support that they require from us. My understanding is that they will be billeted separately from everybody else who is currently in quarantine.”

The Head of Military says he’s been in close consultations with Multinational Force and Observers Commander Major General Evan Williams of the New Zealand Defence Force on the status of the Fijian soldiers

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