Border Health Protection Unit established
September 20, 2021 4:31 am
The Ministry of Health is currently reviewing quarantine protocols to define green list countries and areas and revise the pre-departure and in-country quarantine and testing protocols for fully vaccinated travelers.
Permanent Secretary, Doctor James Fong says a Border Health Protection Unit has been established to oversee and facilitate the health protection activities and programs conducted at the border and ports of entry.
He says this is to ensure protection against trans-border infectious disease spread.
Dr Fong says the unit will work together with the relevant military, police, and border control units providing the leadership and support needed to strengthen quarantine operations.
He says in keeping with the science, it is anticipated that pre-departure, quarantine, and in-country testing conditions for fully vaccinated persons from “green” listed countries will be less stringent than then-current conditions.
The BHPU Facility has been established in the CAAF compound in Namaka, Nadi, and this facility will be responsible for coordinating and overseeing quarantine operations.
Dr Fong says their function will be supplemented by a container laboratory that has arrived and is situated close to the border health protection facility.
He says as a result of an ongoing collaborative effort between WHO, DFAT, ADB, Fiji Airways, and the Government, the laboratory will have the capacity to process around 500 tests per day.
In addition, the Unit will also establish a Slot Management System with the support of Fiji Airways to manage quarantine capacity at designated quarantine facilities.
They will also enforce the restriction on inbound international travelers to only fully vaccinated individuals except in some emergencies.
The Unit will enforce the requirement for all quarantine personnel engaged in quarantine operations to be fully vaccinated and engage advanced technologies and CCTV support to facilitate improved border health surveillance and oversight.
Dr Fong says the Unit will also establish and inculcate a no-blame work culture and environment that allow quarantine officers to freely report on breaches of COVID safe protocols or symptoms of disease identified in any individual at the border.