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Stringent measures enforced to reduce risk of new COVID-19 variant

December 30, 2020 7:16 am

The new COVID-19 variant discovered in the United Kingdom and which has spread to Australia, is likely to transmit to Fiji and the Pacific.

Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete says this has prompted them to re-position Fiji’s border quarantine protocols and processes with the recommencement of inbound passenger flights yesterday.

He adds Fiji’s COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Taskforce is working around the clock to ensure we remain amongst the COVID contained countries.

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“Number one we need to have a very good surveillance, so our surveillance is actually making sure that even though those people coming back into Fiji they have to have the test, once they come into Fiji after 48 hours they going to have another test and before they go home on the 14th day, they will have another test and all have to be negative.”

Dr Waqainabete says this stringent border surveillance and quarantine protocol is critical as inbound travelers can contract the virus while transiting or during the flight.

“The question is how come they are positive there and they are negative here. Now were negatives 72 hours before in transiting travel they will come through the airport they could have picked it up there, they could have picked it up on a flight, they could have picked it up in transit again. So for example traveling from the United Kingdom have to come through Hong Kong so those are the places they could have contracted the virus.”

The Minister is urging Fijians to continue practicing good hygiene, particularly during this festive season.

“This UK variant is more transmissible so have to continue to remember our personal hygiene, our health hygiene now that begins to wane off, we need to encourage to wash hands, for those who can afford have their hand sanitizers, encourage children at home to wash hands with soap.”

Dr Waqainabete also confirmed that the two active COVID-19 cases in Fiji remain in isolation and both are recovering well.

 

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