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PM announces new COVID-19 measures, including ban on cruise ships

March 16, 2020 10:15 am

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has announced new measures, including a ban on cruise ships, in keeping Fiji safe from COVID-19.

With no cases reported so far in the country, Bainimarama says it is of the utmost importance that Fiji’s borders continue to be protected.

From today, cruise ships will be banned from berthing anywhere in Fiji and also all international events will not be allowed in Fiji and local events will be closed to all guests coming in from overseas.

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“Ministers, civil servants, Permanent Secretaries and staff of statutory bodies will be restricted from traveling overseas barring exceptionally critical circumstances.”

He is also discouraging all Fijians from traveling overseas, adding that if they choose to travel anywhere outside of Fiji, they may be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to Fiji, even if they are not displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

“If you do choose to travel anywhere outside of Fiji, you may be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon your return to Fiji, even if you are not displaying symptoms of COVID-19. This, of course, is already mandated for Fijians arriving home from nations on our restricted travel list.” 

He says these measures will all be subject to review as the global situation evolves.

“We already have secure isolation facilities up and running throughout Fiji, with the Central Division being served by Navua Hospital, the Western Division served by the Nadi Hospital, and Labasa Hospital serving the Northern Division. As we monitor the situation, more isolation units will be established as the need arises in accordance with our expansion plan.”

The Prime Minister also revealed that secure isolation facilities are up and running throughout Fiji, with the Central Division being served by Navua Hospital, the Western Division served by the Nadi Hospital, and Labasa Hospital serving the Northern Division.

He says as they monitor the situation, more isolation units will be established as the need arises in accordance with their expansion plan.

Bainimarama says if and when Fiji sees our first case, far more stringent measures will immediately come into effect to aggressively prevent the spread of the disease, as other nations have done, such as bans on local gatherings.

The Prime Minister says as the Government works hand-in-hand with tourism operators and other business leaders, this is not a time for panic, but a time for prudence.

“As we work hand-in-hand with our tourism operators and other business leaders to combat the coronavirus, we hear their very serious worries about the impact the situation will have on their business. As the outbreak worsens and travel restrictions heighten, people are traveling less. Supply chains as well are seeing major disruptions. As a result, many nations of all sizes will likely see their economies contract.”

He says they have already made a number of critical unbudgeted expenditures to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, adding the COVID-19 Response Budget on the 26th of March – will lay out government’s financial game plan for protecting our people and supporting Fijian businesses and livelihoods through what will undoubtedly be a difficult period.

Bainimarama says ahead of that response budget, the Minister tor Economy will be sitting down with the FNPF and banks to discuss ways to mitigate the impact the COVID-19 global economic slowdown is having – and will continue to have – on individual Fijian workers and their families.

The Prime Minister rounding off by reminding all not to politicize this pandemic, not stigmatize or discriminate against any fellow citizens,  not sensationalize information and  not spread fake news at the expense of public health, the economy and the jobs and livelihoods of our people.

 

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