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COVID-19

Stop lying and taking it as joke says PM

March 25, 2020 4:35 pm
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama [Source: PM's Office]

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has lashed out at those who continue to disregard the severity of the COVID-19 virus.

This comes as he revealed that Fiji’s first patient, who was a flight attendant had in his first statement that, he only began showing symptoms a day before he was admitted to hospital.

“Our subsequent investigations revealed that unfortunately, we weren’t given the full story. Witnesses tell us he had been showing symptoms, including coughing, days prior and that he failed to place himself in self-quarantine. So, our contact tracing had to be extended further back to identify even more people he may have contacted and get them into quarantine as well.”

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Bainimarama says this now water under the bridge and no one should waste time targeting or vilifying the first patient, as there is much more important work to focus on.

“Most of the individuals we’ve had to contact have been placed in compulsory self-quarantine. However, there are still six individuals, all in the Western Division, who have yet to come forward. The updated list of these names is again posted on the Ministry of Health’s Facebook page.”

He has told media that measures restricting travel in and out of the Lautoka confined area remain vital and these measures will be in effect for at least the next eight days depending on the outcomes of contact tracing and if the need arise these restrictions will be extended.

Bainimarama has also warned people not following the law, that they will be taken to task.

This as he says police are actively investigating reports that 36 Fiji Airways flight attendants have blatantly violated their self-quarantine, sharing grog and interacting with their friends and caregivers from outside the quarantine area.

“To those not following our instructions, I have to ask: Is this a joke to you? What in God’s name are you thinking? While Fijians in Lautoka are living under lockdown, while our health workers work day and night to test and treat patients, and while the elderly are restricted to their homes, these Fijians are spitting on all of the sacrifices their fellow Fijians are making to keep our country safe.”

He had this warning for the flight attendants.

“In Fiji, being a flight attendant is a highly-competitive job – hundreds, if not thousands, of Fijians strive for each position filled. It should be a position you hold with pride and one you don’t take for granted. Because I can say that if irresponsible behaviour like this continues, Fiji Airways should not hesitate to clean house and replace you with people who take their duty of care seriously. Your behaviour in-flight, and the protective measures that you take to ensure the safety of your cabin, should be no different than they are on the ground when you’re caring for your own community.”

He says that if the government was not alerted of this breach, and even one of these flight attendants had COVID-19 – who then shared a bilo with 35 others, who were then in contact with others still from outside of quarantine – the situation could quickly spiral out of control.

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