No MoH recommendation for extended lockdown
June 25, 2021 6:07 am
A lack of public compliance is the main reason that a 24-hour lockdown over a 28-day period would not work for Fiji.
Permanent Secretary for Health, Doctor James Fong, says the only reason that similar lockdowns in other parts of the world have been successful in curbing infections is because people have complied with government directives.
“The reason we have not recommended four full weeks of a 24-hour curfew is that given the track record of poor public compliance, we cannot guarantee that we’d see compliance everywhere in the country and therefore we simply do not have the capacity to enforce such a strict lockdown everywhere on Viti Levu”.
Even under such a strict lockdown, Dr Fong believes the virus would continue to circulate within communities, people would try to leave, and some would succeed.
Doctor Fong in rejecting social media speculation says health experts have not advised the government to implement any extended curfew.
“If I believed there was a medical case to be made for a 24-hour curfew for 28 days for all of Viti Levu, I’d advise the Prime Minister directly. I have his number. He sits across from me in our briefings. I have not done that because, medically, we do not believe a 24-hour curfew for 28 straight days would work.”
The Permanent Secretary adds that any such move would threaten the survival of thousands of Fijians.
“The tragic reality is that Fijians living in communities most vulnerable to the virus including those in informal settlements are also those most vulnerable to the socioeconomic catastrophe that a 24-hour lockdown for 28 days would bring about. Even under such a strict lockdown, we believe the virus would continue to circulate within many of these communities.”
According to the PS, in the Fijian context, the extended lockdown means a 24-hour curfew with no movement except for medical emergencies.
No shopping. No going out to get food. No going for a walk. No nothing –– it means total lockdown. Other countries have not done that. Australia and New Zealand have never done that. So to say that many other countries have done a strict lockdown is not correct. Few, if any countries, have locked down in the same manner that Fiji has locked down.
The head of Fiji’s COVID response team has also hit out at social media critics saying those who have time to tweet or post on Facebook, should not dedicate their platform to disinformation.
[Source: Fijian Government]