Éclosion de COVID-19 (coronavirus)

Une lecture approfondie de l’épidémie de COVID-19 (coronavirus) et de l’état de préparation des Fidji face au virus qui atteint nos côtes.


Lynda Tabuya inculpée pour une publication sur les réseaux sociauxPar Iva DanfordSamedi 28/03/2020

Lynda Tabuya, députée de la SODELPA

Lynda Tabuya, députée de la SODELPA, interpellée par la police pour son message sur les réseaux sociaux en rapport avec COVID-19, a été inculpée.

Tabuya est inculpé d’un chef d’accusation d’acte malveillant et sera présenté lundi au tribunal d’instance de Suva.

Elle a été emmenée par la police mercredi.

Pendant ce temps, le docteur Isireli Biumaitotoya, basé à Nadi, également connu sous le nom de Leli Darling, a été libéré.

Le Dr Biumaitotoya a également été interrogé pour la même infraction.




Le premier cas confirmé de COVID-19 serait sorti pour faire la fête à San Francisco – WaqainabetePar Vijay NarayanVendredi 27/03/2020

Ministre de la Santé, Docteur Ifereimi Waqainabete

Le ministre de la Santé, le docteur Ifereimi Waqainabete, a révélé que l’hôtesse de l’air de 27 ans, premier cas confirmé de COVID-19, serait allé faire la fête à San Francisco, y serait resté avec sa famille, aurait également fait le tour de San Francisco et toussait en portant un masque et en servant des passagers sur le vol néo-zélandais au départ de Nadi.

Le docteur Waqainabete a fait ces commentaires tout en répondant au chef de l’opposition, Sitiveni Rabuka et à d’autres qui disent que le gouvernement a amené COVID-19 aux Fidji.

Il dit que l’agent de bord n’a pas suivi les politiques de Fiji Airways et a défié les instructions.

Le docteur Waqainabete dit que le ministère de la Santé a également les cartes de déclaration de santé à l’aéroport et qu’il doit déclarer s’il a de la fièvre, de la toux ou s’il a des difficultés à respirer.

Le budget est de 40 millions de dollars pour 4 mois. Ceci est destiné à l’équipe de gestion du contrôle des incidents, aux médias et aux communications, au contrôle des infections, à acheter 50 autres ventilateurs à ajouter aux 58 ventilateurs actuels, aux installations de soins intensifs, aux salles d’isolement, aux thermomètres infrarouges, aux scanners, à la recherche des contacts, à l’alimentation et aux rations alimentaires, d’autres besoins en médicaments et les centres des Fidji pour le contrôle des maladies, pour n’en citer que quelques-uns.




Couvre-feu national de 22 h à 5 h du lundi au soirPar Iva Danford, Vijay NarayanVendredi 27/03/2020

Premier ministre Voreqe Bainimarama

Le Premier ministre, Voreqe Bainimarama a annoncé un couvre-feu national de 22h à 5h du matin tous les soirs du lundi 30 mars.

Bainimarama dit que trop de Fidjiens semblent penser que lorsque le soleil se couche, la règle sur les voyages non essentiels et d’autres mesures cesse.

Il dit que c’est pour partout aux Fidji et que d’autres annonces seront bientôt faites.

Bainimarama souligne qu’il y a beaucoup trop de risques de socialisation et de déplacements inutiles entre 22h et 5h.

Il dit que si vous êtes absent pendant ces heures à moins que ce ne soit pour le travail ou pour toute autre raison de survie, la police vous dirigera directement à la maison.

Le gouvernement annoncera bientôt tous les détails de ce couvre-feu.

Restez avec nous pour plus de détails.

Pendant ce temps, Bainimarama dit que la zone confinée de Lautoka est totalement verrouillée, les navires de croisière sont interdits, les rassemblements de 20 personnes ou plus sont interdits et les personnes âgées et les enfants devraient rester à la maison.

Bainimarama dit que tandis que la plupart des Fidjiens dorment rapidement, l’équipe COVID-19 du ministère de la Santé commence sa journée de travail pour diriger les efforts de réponse et de confinement.




Le gouvernement paiera 21 jours de congé de maladie pour les personnes gagnant moins de 30 000 $ si leur test de COVID-19 est positif Par Vijay Narayan, Naveel KrishantJeudi 26/03/2020

Ministre de l’économie Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum




Aide aux travailleurs touchés par la FNPF ou le gouvernementPar Vijay Narayan, Naveel KrishantJeudi 26/03/2020

Le procureur général Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum dit qu’à partir d’aujourd’hui, une fois le budget adopté, les travailleurs fidjiens du secteur de l’hôtellerie qui ont perdu leur emploi ou ont réduit leurs heures depuis le 1er février 2020 peuvent, pour l’instant, accéder à un premier 1000 $ de la FNPF s’ils avoir les fonds dans leur compte.

Sayed-Khaiyum dit que s’ils n’ont pas ce montant, le gouvernement subventionnera la différence.

Tous les employés touchés par les exigences de distance physique à l’échelle nationale, ainsi que les employés de la zone confinée de Lautoka qui ont été mis en congé sans salaire ou dont les heures ont été réduites, auront accès à un premier 500 $ de FNPF.

S’ils n’ont pas suffisamment de fonds, le gouvernement subventionnera le montant.

Les Fidjiens du secteur informel qui ont confirmé avoir contracté COVID-19 recevront une somme unique de 1 000 $.

De plus, pour ceux qui sont touchés par le secteur informel dans les zones de verrouillage, le gouvernement accordera également une indemnité unique de 150 $ à tous ceux qui ont un permis de commerçant de rue ou de colporteur.

Le ministre affirme que toutes les cotisations des employés de la FNPF passeront de 8% à 5%.

Ce sera du 1er avril au 31 décembre 2020.

Cela devrait mettre 80 millions de dollars dans les poches des employés.

Les cotisations patronales au FNPF passeront de 10% à 5% du 1er avril au 31 décembre.

Sayed-Khaiyum dit qu’au cours des neuf prochains mois, cela gardera 130 millions de dollars dans leurs comptes.

ESTIMATION DU BUDGET DE RÉPONSE COVID-19 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

SUPPLÉMENT DE MISE À JOUR ÉCONOMIQUE ET FISCALE À L’ADRESSE DU BUDGET DE RÉPONSE COVID-19
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf




Près de 25 000 personnes ont perdu leur emploi dans le secteur du tourisme et ont besoin d’une aide urgente – AGPar Vijay Narayan, Naveel KrishantJeudi 26/03/2020

Ministre de l’économie Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Le ministre de l’Économie, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, a révélé au Parlement que près de 25 000 personnes ont perdu leur emploi dans le secteur du tourisme et qu’elles doivent être assistées d’urgence par le gouvernement et accéder aux fonds de leur FNPF si elles ont suffisamment de fonds.

Sayed-Khaiyum dit que le gouvernement utilise la loi pour aider de toute urgence les personnes qui ont perdu leur emploi.

Il dit que la réalité de l’affaire est que nous avons une situation désastreuse entre nos mains.

Sayed-Khaiyum ajoute qu’ils ne veulent pas de la stupidité comme le fait l’opposition.

Il a révélé que le gouvernement mettra 60 millions de dollars à la disposition des personnes qui ont déjà perdu leur emploi.

Sayed-Khaiyum dit que nous devons agir maintenant.

Il ajoute que le Budget Book est disponible et qu’ils devraient en débattre aujourd’hui.

Le ministre de l’Économie dit que si l’opposition estime que 3 heures ne suffisent pas, elle peut en débattre pendant 7 heures.

Il dit qu’ils sont là pour faire un travail et que le Parlement est un lieu de travail.

Le député du NFP Pio Tikoduadua s’était également opposé à la motion pour un débat d’une journée aujourd’hui, affirmant que son chef, le professeur Biman Prasad, avait déclaré que l’économie était en train de s’arrêter. Il a demandé où est le boom.

Tikoduadua dit que 3 heures de débat sur le budget supplémentaire ne suffisent pas.

Le leader du gouvernement à la Chambre, Inia Seruiratu, affirme que le Parlement peut débattre toute la semaine prochaine, mais que chaque jour compte.

Seruiratu dit que l’Italie avait 5 cas de COVID-19 le 23 février.

Il dit qu’un mois plus tard, ils ont 60 000 cas.

Seruiratu dit que nous devons prendre des mesures immédiates.

ESTIMATION DU BUDGET DE RÉPONSE COVID-19 2019-2020
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ESTIMATE-2019-2020.pdf

SUPPLÉMENT DE MISE À JOUR ÉCONOMIQUE ET FISCALE À L’ADRESSE DU BUDGET DE RÉPONSE COVID-19
http://www.parliament.gov.fj/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/SUPPLEMENT-TO-THE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-BUDGET-ADDRESS.pdf




Un officier supérieur de police accusé d’avoir enfreint les restrictions de verrouillage de LautokaPar Dhanjay DeoJeudi 26/03/2020

Un officier supérieur de la police a été accusé d’avoir enfreint les restrictions de verrouillage de Lautoka.

Le commissaire de police, Sitiveni Qiliho, a déclaré que l’officier supérieur aurait quitté Lautoka et serait retourné à Sigatoka au cours du week-end.

Il a été inculpé d’un chef de désobéissance à l’ordre légal et comparaîtra demain devant le tribunal de première instance de Sigatoka.

Qiliho dit que les actions égoïstes présumées de l’officier supérieur sont profondément préoccupantes et il a ordonné que l’officier supérieur soit renvoyé sous interdiction / suspension et inculpé.

Qiliho dit qu’ils ne peuvent pas avoir de policiers qui sont déterminés à répondre à leurs propres besoins tout en négligeant de manière flagrante le bien-être, la sûreté et la sécurité des personnes qu’ils servent, en particulier à une époque où la police est fortement sollicitée pour assurer la sécurité de tous.

Le commissaire de police a déclaré que les actions présumées de cet officier ne reflétaient en rien le travail inlassable accompli par des centaines d’autres officiers aux postes de contrôle et ceux qui servaient actuellement dans les zones réglementées de Lautoka ces derniers jours.

Qiliho dit que les policiers qui enfreignent les restrictions sont tenus de faire face aux conséquences de leurs actes devant un tribunal comme tout le monde.




RBF met 60 millions de dollars à disposition pour une facilité de prêt pour les entreprises affectées par COVID-19Par Vijay NarayanJeudi 26/03/2020

Banque de réserve des Fidji

Le gouverneur et président du conseil d’administration de la Banque de réserve des Fidji, Ariff Ali, a déclaré que le FBR élargira son installation de réhabilitation et de catastrophe naturelle et l’augmentera à 60 millions de dollars pour inclure les entreprises touchées par des épidémies ou des pandémies et sera rebaptisé installation de réhabilitation et de confinement en cas de catastrophe.

Ali dit que les entreprises touchées par la pandémie de COVID-19 peuvent accéder à des fonds dans le cadre de cette facilité via leurs banques commerciales respectives, leurs établissements de crédit agréés ou la Banque de développement des Fidji à un taux d’intérêt pouvant aller jusqu’à un maximum de 5,0%.

Ali dit que l’ampleur de la contraction économique intérieure dépendra de la durée et de la propagation de la pandémie, qui continue de se dérouler.

Il dit que les conditions financières restent accommodantes avec une liquidité suffisante, des taux d’intérêt stables et une croissance modeste du crédit.

Le gouverneur affirme que la réduction des taux d’intérêt et diverses autres mesures de sursis annoncées par les banques commerciales pour aider les clients devraient soutenir les entreprises pendant cette récession.

Le gouverneur déclare également que les risques à la baisse émanant des fronts extérieur et intérieur ont augmenté ces dernières semaines et restent élevés. Le FBR suit de près ces évolutions économiques et financières et alignera la politique monétaire et les autres mesures en conséquence.

Ali dit que l’économie fidjienne est actuellement dans des eaux inexploitées et se dirige vers une récession cette année.

Il dit que la pandémie de COVID-19 a conduit à la cessation de l’activité touristique et transmis d’importantes répercussions négatives à l’ensemble de l’économie.

Le RBF affirme que si les mesures de précaution et de confinement adoptées par les autorités et la population en général affecteront considérablement les dépenses de consommation et les recettes publiques, elles sont appropriées et cruciales pour éviter des dommages sociaux et économiques à plus long terme.

Sur le plan des recettes, le plan de relance qui devrait être annoncé par le ministre de l’économie, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum dans le budget supplémentaire, devrait contribuer à la relance de l’économie.

Il dit que pour le moment, le système financier est sain et que les objectifs de double politique monétaire du FBR, à savoir une faible inflation et des réserves de change adéquates, restent intacts.

L’inflation annuelle a été enregistrée à un creux historique de -3,0% en février, tandis que les réserves de change s’élevaient à environ 2,228 milliards de dollars à ce jour, suffisantes pour couvrir 5,7 mois d’importations de biens et services.




Aucun nouveau cas de COVID-19 – WaqainabetePar Rashika KumarJeudi 26/03/2020

Ministre de la Santé Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete

Le ministre de la Santé, le docteur Ifereimi Waqainabete, a confirmé qu’il n’y avait pas de nouveaux cas de COVID-19.

Il dit qu’il y a 5 cas confirmés.

Le ministre a également confirmé que tous les tests effectués hier étaient négatifs.




3 femmes qui ont été accusées d’un chef d’accusation pour acte malveillant chacune comparaissent devant le tribunal aujourd’huiPar Naveel KrishantJeudi 26/03/2020

[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

Trois femmes qui ont été inculpées d’un chef d’accusation pour acte malveillant chacune ont comparu aujourd’hui devant le tribunal d’instance de Suva.

Titilia Camaibau, 36 ans, Marica Bole, 53 ans et Sharoon Devi Kumar, 32 ans, auraient posté de fausses informations sur les réseaux sociaux concernant la situation COVID-19, ce qui a semé la panique et la peur dans le grand public.

Le tribunal a ordonné à Camaibau de subir une évaluation psychiatrique à l’hôpital St Giles et son cas sera rappelé le 2 avril.

Devi a été placée en détention provisoire pour les 7 prochains jours et son dossier sera rappelé le 2 avril.

Bole a été libérée sous caution et sommée de se présenter au poste de police de Nasinu tous les premiers jours du mois et son dossier sera rappelé le 15 juin.




Lynda Tabuya interpellée pour un interrogatoire concernant une publication sur les réseaux sociauxPar Rashika KumarJeudi 26/03/2020

Lynda Tabuya, députée de la SODELPA, est actuellement interrogée par la police.

Il s’agit d’un article en ligne sur COVID-19.

Cela a été confirmé par le commissaire de police Sitiveni Qiliho.

Restez avec nous pour les développements.




COVID-19: Akbar plaide pour que tous les enseignants agissent en tant que gardiens de leurs communautésPar Vijay NarayanJeudi 26/03/2020

La ministre de l’Éducation, Rosy Akbar

La ministre de l’Éducation, Rosy Akbar, demande instamment à tous les enseignants d’agir en tant que gardiens de leurs communautés et d’aider à partager des informations sur les actions préventives que nos enfants et les membres de la communauté peuvent entreprendre à ce stade.

Akbar a dit aux enseignants de ne pas limiter leurs enseignements aux salles de classe, il est temps pour eux d’aller au-delà des frontières traditionnelles et de veiller à ce que nos maisons, notre société et notre pays soient bien conscients des implications de COVID-19.

Le ministre de l’Éducation affirme qu’il ne peut pas mener de programmes de sensibilisation en face à face, strictement pas de rassemblements et peut utiliser à la place d’autres moyens tels que des plateformes électroniques pour diffuser des informations qui peuvent aider à sauver une vie.

Le ministère a envoyé par courrier électronique une trousse d’information intitulée «COVID-19 Information for Communities – Protecting Yourself and Your Family» aux adresses de courriel des enseignants afin de les sensibiliser davantage sans compromettre leur santé et leur sécurité.

Les enseignants qui ont des groupes viber, des groupes de discussion de réseautage social avec les parents, sont encouragés à l’utiliser pour sensibiliser et aider à transmettre rigoureusement le message.

Elle dit que nous devons tous assumer nos responsabilités et veiller à ce que notre nation reste en sécurité.

Akbar appelle tous les enseignants, leur rappelant leur devoir civique.

Elle dit que la nation compte sur les enseignants pour jouer un rôle de premier plan en diffusant des informations préventives sur COVID-19.

Les parents doivent garder vos enfants engagés dans des activités et restreindre les mouvements extérieurs.




COVID-19: Les chauffeurs de taxi demandent aux propriétaires de réduire la demande de revenus contractuels Par Shanil SinghJeudi 26/03/2020

Des taxis sont alignés et attendent des passagers devant un supermarché à Suva

Un certain nombre de chauffeurs de taxi demandent à leurs propriétaires de taxis de réduire leur demande de revenus contractuels en raison d’une réduction de leurs revenus de taxi après la confirmation du premier cas de COVID-19 aux Fidji la semaine dernière.

Un chauffeur de taxi de la ville de Suva a déclaré à Fijivillage qu’il devait donner 350 $ au propriétaire du taxi chaque semaine, soit environ 60 $ par jour.

Il dit que cela lui est difficile en ces temps difficiles, car le seul carburant coûte environ 40 $ par jour.

Le chauffeur de taxi dit qu’il a eu des discussions avec son propriétaire de taxi mais qu’il n’a pas pu parvenir à un accord.

Il dit qu’un jour normal, il a pu gagner environ 50 $ de 6 h à 9 h, mais qu’il n’a pu gagner que 8 $ aujourd’hui.

Un autre chauffeur nous a dit qu’il n’aurait d’autre choix que de garer ses taxis s’ils ne parviennent pas à un accord avec leurs propriétaires de taxi.

Pendant ce temps, le secrétaire général de la Fiji Taxi Association, Ashwin Lal, a déclaré que le contrat était entre les opérateurs et les chauffeurs et que les opérateurs devraient envisager la crise en cours.



Un médecin basé à Nadi a été interrogé sur des publications sur les réseaux sociaux liées à COVID-19 Par Rashika KumarJeudi 26/03/2020

Le docteur Isireli Biumaitotoya, basé à Nadi, également connu sous le nom de Leli Darling, a été interrogé en ce qui concerne les publications sur les réseaux sociaux d’informations liées à la situation COVID-19.

Cela a été confirmé par la porte-parole de la police, Ana Naisoro, qui a déclaré que la police ne divulguerait plus d’informations à ce stade.

Restez avec nous pour en savoir plus à ce sujet.



L’AG présentera aujourd’hui à 19h30 le budget supplémentaire de COVID-19 au Parlement Par Naveel Krishant, Semi TuragaJeudi 26/03/2020

Ministre de l’économie et procureur général Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Le procureur général et le ministre de l’économie, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, présenteront un budget supplémentaire COVID-19 au Parlement à 7h30 ce soir.

Sayed-Khaiyum dit qu’ils présentent une réponse budgétaire COVID-19 pour offrir un soulagement aux familles fidjiennes, soutenir les entreprises, protéger les travailleurs et financer les efforts de confinement vitaux.

Il dit qu’ils n’ont pas un instant à perdre.

Sayed-Khaiyum avait déclaré plus tôt que nous ne pouvions pas risquer d’attendre la fin de l’exercice pour réévaluer les priorités de dépenses du gouvernement et faire le point sur les sources de revenus du gouvernement.

Sayed-Khaiyum avait déclaré que des dépenses essentielles devaient être engagées pour assurer la protection et la poursuite du mode de vie fidjien, ce qui inclut la santé de nos populations, leur emploi, leurs entreprises et leur sécurité alimentaire.

Le ministre a ajouté que l’économie demeure sous une gestion prudente et responsable et que le gouvernement n’hésitera pas à prendre des décisions difficiles en vue de perspectives économiques à long terme.

Il avait déclaré, soyez assuré, que le gouvernement mettra à profit tous les canaux de croissance à sa disposition pour maintenir l’économie prospère, garder les Fidjiens occupés et maintenir les entreprises à flot, tout en mettant le bien-être des citoyens au premier plan.

Restez avec nous pour les dernières nouvelles de l’annonce du budget supplémentaire de ce soir sur Fijivillage.



3 hommes arrêtés et inculpés pour un cas de vol qualifié aggravé à NadiPar Iva DanfordJeudi 26/03/2020

Trois hommes ont été arrêtés et inculpés pour un cas de vol aggravé présumé à Naisoso, Nadi plus tôt cette semaine.

La police a déclaré que les trois hommes auraient menacé un caissier d’un magasin et volé de l’argent et des cigarettes d’une valeur de plus de 500 $ lundi.

Les trois ont été arrêtés par une équipe d’officiers de Namaka.

La police affirme qu’ils sont toujours en détention alors que l’enquête0 se poursuit concernant leur implication présumée dans d’autres affaires de cambriolage dans les régions de Namaka et de Nadi.



3 personnes accusées d’avoir diffusé de fausses informations concernant COVID-19 devant être produites au tribunal Par Naveel KrishantJeudi 26/03/2020

Trois personnes seront produites au tribunal de Suva aujourd’hui accusées d’avoir diffusé de fausses informations sur les réseaux sociaux concernant la situation du COVID-19 aux Fidji.

Les accusés sont une femme de Nadali âgée de 36 ans, une femme de Muanikoso âgée de 53 ans et un agent de banque de Suva âgé de 32 ans.

Tous ont été inculpés d’un chef d’accusation d’acte malveillant.

Le commissaire de police Sitiveni Qiliho a déclaré que tous les trois auraient publié de fausses informations sur les réseaux sociaux concernant la situation COVID-19, ce qui a semé la panique et la peur dans le grand public.



Le quartier général de la division ouest de la police est en lock-out après qu’un membre du personnel montre des symptômes de COVID-19Par Semi TuragaJeudi 26/03/2020

Le quartier général de la division ouest de la police est verrouillé après qu’une femme officier de police de haut niveau, revenue de l’étranger, ait montré des symptômes de COVID-19.

La femme avait subi la période d’isolement obligatoire de 14 jours et avait reçu l’autorisation de reprendre le travail.

Plus tard, elle a montré des symptômes de COVID-19 et a été isolée dans un endroit différent.

Le commissaire de police Sitiveni Qiliho dit qu’ils ont été dirigés par les autorités médicales de Lautoka et qu’ils adhèrent comme tout autre Fidjien responsable jusqu’à ce qu’ils soient autorisés à isoler leurs officiers de police et leur personnel civil basés au siège de la division ouest.

Qiliho a assuré qu’ils continueraient à exercer les fonctions du quartier général de la division ouest à l’intérieur des limites du bâtiment.

Parmi ceux qui se trouvaient dans l’isolement se trouve le commandant de la police divisionnaire du SSP Ouest, Surend Sami.




Si on vous dit de mettre en quarantaine, faites-le. Faites-le ou nous vous le ferons faire – BainimaramaPar Vijay NarayanMercredi 25/03/2020

Point de contrôle de la police à l’extérieur de la zone de confinement de Lautoka

Le premier ministre dit que si le gouvernement vous dit de vous mettre en quarantaine, faites-le ou le gouvernement vous le fera faire.

Voreqe Bainimarama dit que si vous avez été dirigé vers l’auto-quarantaine et que vous entendez ce message, demandez-vous: où préférez-vous être? En quarantaine dans le confort de votre domicile pendant 14 jours, ou en prison pour avoir enfreint la loi?

Il dit que la police enquête activement sur les informations selon lesquelles 36 agents de bord de Fiji Airways ont violé de manière flagrante leur auto-quarantaine, partageant du grog et interagissant avec leurs amis et soignants de l’extérieur de la zone de quarantaine.

Bainimarama a un message pour ces personnes: «Pour ceux qui ne suivent pas nos instructions, je dois demander: est-ce une blague pour vous? À quoi pensez-vous au nom de Dieu? Alors que les Fidjiens de Lautoka vivent en détention, tandis que nos agents de santé travaillent jour et nuit pour tester et traiter les patients, et tandis que les personnes âgées sont confinées à leur domicile, ces Fidjiens crachent sur tous les sacrifices que leurs compatriotes fidjiens font pour garder notre pays sûr. « 

Bainimarama souligne que l’auto-quarantaine n’est pas une mesure volontaire.

Il dit que ce n’est pas simplement une «bonne chose à faire».

Le Premier ministre a déclaré qu’il s’agissait d’un ordre obligatoire et légalement mandaté, et ces Fidjiens feront l’objet d’une enquête.

Bainimarama a également précisé que si nécessaire, ils seront arrêtés, inculpés et punis en conséquence.

Le Premier ministre a déclaré qu’à Fidji, être agent de bord est un travail hautement compétitif, des centaines, voire des milliers de Fidjiens s’efforcent pour chaque poste occupé. Il dit que ce devrait être un poste que vous occupez avec fierté et que vous ne tenez pas pour acquis.

Il dit que si un comportement irresponsable comme celui-ci se poursuit, Fiji Airways ne devrait pas hésiter à nettoyer la maison et à remplacer ces personnes par des personnes qui prennent leur devoir de diligence au sérieux.

Bainimarama dit que leur comportement en vol et les mesures de protection qu’ils prennent pour assurer la sécurité de leur cabine ne devraient pas être différents de ce qu’ils sont au sol lorsqu’ils prennent soin de leur propre communauté.

COVID-19: 5e cas aux Fidji confirmé par le Premier ministre

Une femme de 31 ans originaire de Lautoka est le 5e cas confirmé de COVID-19 aux Fidji.

Le Premier ministre Voreqe Bainimarama a déclaré que son équipe de recherche des contacts confirmait que la femme avait suivi un cours de Zumba avec l’agent de bord de 27 ans qui était le premier cas confirmé de COVID-19 aux Fidji et alors qu’il affichait déjà les symptômes.

Bainimarama dit que tous les membres de cette classe de Zumba ont été mis en quarantaine le même jour où le premier patient a été diagnostiqué, le 19 mars.

Ils ont tous été invités à alerter immédiatement les équipes médicales du ministère de la Santé s’ils commençaient à développer des symptômes.

Hier, après quatre jours d’auto-quarantaine obligatoire, la femme de 31 ans a commencé à montrer des symptômes.

Pendant leur cours de Zumba, elle a travaillé à proximité du premier patient et a partagé un câlin.

Lorsqu’elle a par la suite reconnu ses symptômes, elle a informé les équipes médicales d’intervention rapide du ministère, qui l’ont transportée en toute sécurité et de manière hygiénique par ambulance au service d’isolement de l’hôpital de Lautoka.

Elle a été testée.

Bainimarama dit que la femme partage un foyer avec neuf autres personnes – dont deux présentaient également des symptômes et ont été isolées à l’hôpital de Lautoka.

Les sept autres restent sous stricte mise en quarantaine à domicile, qui est sous surveillance policière constante.

Un suivi supplémentaire des contacts était nécessaire car l’homme de 27 ans de Lautoka n’a pas donné son histoire – PM

Le Premier ministre Voreqe Bainimarama confirme qu’ils ont dû effectuer d’autres recherches de contacts en relation avec le premier cas confirmé de COVID-19, car leurs enquêtes ont révélé que malheureusement, on ne leur avait pas donné toute l’histoire.

Bainimarama dit que des témoins ont déclaré au ministère de la Santé que l’hôtesse de l’air montrait des symptômes, y compris de la toux, quelques jours auparavant et qu’il n’avait pas réussi à se mettre en quarantaine.

Il dit que leur recherche de contacts a dû être étendue plus loin pour identifier encore plus de personnes qu’il a pu contacter et les mettre également en quarantaine. Le premier ministre dit que c’est de l’eau sous le pont; aucun de nous ne devrait perdre de temps à cibler ou à diffamer le premier patient, car nous avons tous un travail beaucoup plus important sur lequel nous concentrer.

Il confirme que la plupart des individus qu’ils ont dû contacter ont été placés en auto-quarantaine obligatoire.

Cependant, il y a encore six personnes, toutes dans la division Ouest, qui n’ont pas encore fait de déclaration.

L’aéroport de Nadi fermera ses portes aujourd’hui, tandis que le voyage des passagers vers les îles extérieures cessera à partir du dimanche 29 mars

Le Premier ministre, Voreqe Bainimarama, a déclaré qu’ils faisaient des heures supplémentaires pour éviter le scénario de cauchemar dans des pays comme l’Italie.

Bainimarama dit que le gouvernement acquiert rapidement de nouveaux lits et ventilateurs de soins intensifs et prend d’autres mesures qui seront annoncées par le procureur général et ministre de l’économie, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, dans le discours du budget supplémentaire de ce soir à 19h30.

Il dit que le fait est que si ce qui s’est passé en Italie se produit aux Fidji, notre système de santé se plierait.

Bainimarama dit que la triste réalité est qu’à Fidji, le nombre de décès pour ce nombre de cas serait probablement beaucoup, beaucoup plus élevé.

Il dit que les Fidji sont en guerre contre le coronavirus.

Bainimarama dit que nous ne pouvons pas voir notre ennemi, mais nous devons agir comme si l’ennemi était au milieu de nous en tout temps.

Il dit que vous pouvez rejoindre le combat en vous lavant les mains avec du savon et de l’eau, en pratiquant la distance physique, la distance de deux mètres est la plus sûre et en suivant toutes les directives qui vous sont données par les autorités.

Le Premier ministre a déclaré que les Fidji avaient désormais deux caisses importées d’outre-mer.

À partir de demain, l’aéroport de Nadi sera officiellement fermé à tous les voyages réguliers de passagers.

Il y a actuellement trois vols à destination des Fidji transportant des Fidjiens de retour de l’étranger, ces passagers devront tous s’auto-quarantaine pendant 14 jours à leur arrivée.

Bainimarama dit qu’ils sont très préoccupés par le fait que le virus n’atteigne jamais aucune de nos communautés insulaires extérieures.

À partir de ce dimanche 29 mars, tous les voyages des passagers vers les îles extérieures cesseront.

Les lignes maritimes pour le fret continueront avec un volume accru mais une fréquence réduite pour garantir que la nourriture et d’autres biens essentiels sont fournis à travers les îles.

L’interdiction des rassemblements de 20 personnes ou plus reste en vigueur.

Si vous avez un décès dans la famille, vous pouvez procéder à un enterrement, à condition de limiter les rassemblements à moins de 20 personnes.


Le patron de Fiji Airways affirme que le personnel qui ne respecterait pas les directives d’auto-quarantaine, n’a pas sa place sur National AirlinePar Iva DanfordJeudi 26/03/2020

Directeur général et PDG de Fiji Airways, Andre Viljoen [L]

Le directeur général et chef de la direction de Fiji Airways, Andre Viljoen, a déclaré que s’il était reconnu coupable après une procédure régulière, le personnel de Fiji Airways qui ne respecterait pas les directives d’auto-quarantaine du gouvernement fidjien n’aura pas sa place dans la compagnie aérienne nationale et cela inclut toutes les violations dans au cours des deux dernières semaines et à l’avenir.

Dans un courriel interne adressé à tout le personnel hier soir, Viljoen dit qu’il est déçu au-delà de toute mesure et que la police poursuivra ses enquêtes et leur fournira toute l’aide nécessaire.

Les 36 agents de bord qui se mettent en quarantaine dans un hôtel de Nadi auraient eu des séances de grog avec des gens de l’extérieur presque tous les soirs et d’autres personnes leur apportaient également de la nourriture, des vêtements et des collations.

Viljoen dit que Fiji Airways retournera dans le ciel une fois la crise terminée, mais si certains de ses employés affichent des directives gouvernementales ou des règles internes de sécurité de Fiji Airways, ils ne reviendront pas.

Le PDG dit qu’il partage la déception et l’embarras que la plupart des membres de la famille Fiji Airways ressentent aujourd’hui.

Il dit que lorsque la zone de confinement de Lautoka a été mise en place, ils ont hébergé du personnel qui ne pouvait pas atteindre leurs maisons à Lautoka dans un hôtel à Nadi.

Viljoen dit qu’il a du mal à comprendre pourquoi quelqu’un se comporterait si imprudemment que tout le monde arrivant d’une escale a été informé par les responsables de la santé de la nécessité de s’auto-mettre en quarantaine à domicile ou à l’hôtel.

Il dit que ce ne sont pas des heures normales et que pendant une semaine, tout le monde a été mis au courant des règles entourant l’auto-quarantaine.

Viljoen dit qu’ils ont actuellement des collègues à Lautoka dans la zone de confinement et qu’ils ne peuvent pas se rendre au travail.

Il dit que son objectif au cours des dernières semaines, alors que cette crise a augmenté, a été de faire en sorte que Fiji Airways survive dans un monde où de nombreuses autres compagnies aériennes ne le feront pas, pour sauver des emplois alors que beaucoup abandonnent déjà les gens.

Viljoen dit qu’ils ont des pilotes altruistes et du personnel de cabine qui continuent à opérer des vols de récupération pour ramener les citoyens bloqués chez eux et ramener les Fidjiens et le personnel de l’aéroport, et Fiji Link qui continue d’exploiter et de servir les clients.

Il dit que tout ce bon travail, toutes ces actions responsables de près de 1 500 membres de la famille de Fiji Airways, sont ternies par les actions d’une poignée seulement.


Source: Organisation mondiale de la santé




Les 36 agents de bord en auto-quarantaine seraient toujours en contact avec des étrangers Par Vijay NarayanMercredi 25/03/2020

La police garde strictement le point de contrôle à Lautoka [image: Fiji Police]

Les 36 agents de bord qui se mettent en quarantaine dans un hôtel de Nadi auraient des séances de grog avec des personnes de l’extérieur presque tous les soirs et d’autres personnes leur apporteraient également de la nourriture, des vêtements et des collations.

Nous avons appris que ces personnes de l’extérieur passent également du temps avec les agents de bord isolés.

Tout cela se produit malgré les appels répétés du Premier ministre et du ministère de la Santé pour que les gens s’auto-mettent en quarantaine et n’aient aucune interaction physique avec qui que ce soit.

Les informations proviennent de résidents de Nadi à proximité.

Le commissaire de police, Sitiveni Qiliho, a confirmé à Fijivillage qu’ils travaillaient avec l’hôtel sur les images de vidéosurveillance et les gens ont été avertis hier soir par un officier supérieur de police.

Qiliho dit que les enquêtes sont en cours et que ceux qui ont désobéi aux directives du ministère de la Santé seront traduits en justice dans les prochains jours.

Le commissaire Qiliho dit que ces personnes sont totalement irresponsables et égoïstes dans leurs actions lorsque la majorité des citoyens fidjiens adhèrent avec diligence aux directives du gouvernement.


Évitez tous les voyages non essentiels à partir d’aujourd’hui – PMPar Vijay NarayanMardi 24/03/2020

Tous les Fidjiens du pays doivent éviter tout voyage non essentiel à partir d’aujourd’hui après le 4e cas confirmé de COVID-19 aux Fidji – qui est de Suva.

Le Premier ministre, Voreqe Bainimarama, a indiqué clairement dans sa déclaration à la nation aujourd’hui qu’aucun Fidjien ne devrait voyager de chez lui à moins que cela ne soit absolument nécessaire.

Il dit que les gens ne devraient certainement pas voyager à travers le pays, à travers les divisions ou vers différentes îles.

Bainimarama says children should stay at home at all times. He stresses that the elderly should stay at home at all times.

The Prime Minister says breadwinners who can go to work should go home straight after.

For everyone else, every move you make should be for your own health or the health of others.

Bainimarama says you can go out to get food, get medicine, take out money or access another essential service, it is also fine to exercise safely outdoors, so long as you maintain a safe distance from others.

But do not visit friends or family unless absolutely necessary.

The Prime Minister tells people do not host parties, do not needlessly linger and do not mingle with strangers.

Bainimarama says not in 100 years has the world seen a health crisis this severe. He says these are not normal times, and we cannot go about our day-to-day lives as if everything is normal.

He says that ignorance of the reality on the ground and the severity of this disease will get people killed.

The Prime Minister says if one person is exposed to this virus, and ignores the government’s restrictions, they could run around infecting everyone they come into contact with.

Bainimarama says if all those newly-infected people do the same, suddenly, we have a massive outbreak on our hands.

If the Ministry of Health has directed you to self-quarantine, do it.

They will be calling you and checking in on you in-person to make sure you are staying away from the public.

Self-quarantine for 14 days means you must stay in your home. During that time, you should avoid contact with other members of your household as much as humanly possible.


Stand 2 metres apart in public linesPar Vijay NarayanTuesday 24/03/2020

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says people standing closely in the lines will stop from today and everyone has to keep a distance of 2 metres while standing in public lines.

Bainimarama says he has seen images going around of people standing in line and congregating in Suva and other urban areas.

He says if you need to get in line, space yourself out properly and keep 2 metres between you and everyone else.

Bainimarama says if you do not follow this, police officers will be enforcing these measures everywhere in the country.

He says their officers cannot be at all places all the time.

The Prime Minister also says that if you run a business in an industry where remote work is possible, tell your workers to start working from home.

He says we are food secure, there is no need to spend your savings in one frantic go at the supermarkets.

Bainimarama says the government has been informed that some people who ran to the stores to buy up goods in a panic are now wanting to return their groceries to the supermarkets and shops.

He also says the ban on gatherings of 20 people or more remains in full effect.

The Prime Minister says weddings, funerals, concerts and sporting events should all be cancelled.

He says when it comes to people’s health, no event is more important than people’s lives.



4th case of COVID-19 confirmed in FijiPar Vijay NarayanTuesday 24/03/2020

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

The fourth case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Fiji – and this case is from Suva.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says early this morning, they confirmed the fourth case of COVID-19.

This patient is not related to our first three cases.

He is a 28-year-old Fijian man who arrived back into the country on Saturday from Australia.

Bainimarama says when the man left that Fiji Airways flight FJ916 on March 21st, he was not showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

He says he was advised by health officials at the airport to go straight home and self-quarantine for 14 days.

The Prime Minister says it appears the man did everything right.

He says the man went from the airport straight to his flat in Suva, where he immediately self-quarantined.

On Sunday night, while he was still self-quarantined, the 28-year-old man developed mild symptoms – a sore throat, and then a cough.

The man then contacted the Health Ministry and a rapid response team was immediately dispatched to his home, where he was examined and tested.

The patient then remained in self-quarantine until the test for COVID-19 returned positive.



Measures for those who travelled on Fiji Airways FJ1916 Par Vijay NarayanTuesday 24/03/2020

[Photo: Tourism Fiji]

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says from tomorrow, there will be no more scheduled passenger Fiji Airways travel into or out of Fiji until further notice.

Bainimarama also says there were 26 people on Fiji Airways flight FJ916 from Sydney to Nadi on Saturday, March 21st, apart from the Suva man who has now tested positive for COVID-19.

Bainimarama says Fiji Airways was practicing safe distancing on the plane, spacing out passengers through their strictly-enforced assigned seating.

He says because of those safety measures, only a handful of others, two other passengers and the three cabin crew who serviced his cabin, risked exposure.

Bainimarama says regardless, all other passengers remain in self-quarantine for a 14-day period.

The Prime Minister says while the risk of transmission from this case is low, the contact tracing teams are currently identifying every single person in Fiji who may have had direct contact with the patient, down to the taxi driver who drove him from Nadi Airport to Suva.

Fiji Airways has already announced they are cutting their international flights by 95%.

This passenger was on one of the final flights from Sydney to get Fijians back home.




Stand 2 metres apart in public linesPar Vijay NarayanTuesday 24/03/2020

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says people standing closely in the lines will stop from today and everyone has to keep a distance of 2 metres while standing in public lines.

Bainimarama says he has seen images going around of people standing in line and congregating in Suva and other urban areas.

He says if you need to get in line, space yourself out properly and keep 2 metres between you and everyone else.

Bainimarama says if you do not follow this, police officers will be enforcing these measures everywhere in the country.

He says their officers cannot be at all places all the time.

The Prime Minister also says that if you run a business in an industry where remote work is possible, tell your workers to start working from home.

He says we are food secure, there is no need to spend your savings in one frantic go at the supermarkets.

Bainimarama says the government has been informed that some people who ran to the stores to buy up goods in a panic are now wanting to return their groceries to the supermarkets and shops.

He also says the ban on gatherings of 20 people or more remains in full effect.

The Prime Minister says weddings, funerals, concerts and sporting events should all be cancelled.

He says when it comes to people’s health, no event is more important than people’s lives.



4th case of COVID-19 confirmed in FijiPar Vijay NarayanTuesday 24/03/2020

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

The fourth case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Fiji – and this case is from Suva.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says early this morning, they confirmed the fourth case of COVID-19.

This patient is not related to our first three cases.

He is a 28-year-old Fijian man who arrived back into the country on Saturday from Australia.

Bainimarama says when the man left that Fiji Airways flight FJ916 on March 21st, he was not showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

He says he was advised by health officials at the airport to go straight home and self-quarantine for 14 days.

The Prime Minister says it appears the man did everything right.

He says the man went from the airport straight to his flat in Suva, where he immediately self-quarantined.

On Sunday night, while he was still self-quarantined, the 28-year-old man developed mild symptoms – a sore throat, and then a cough.

The man then contacted the Health Ministry and a rapid response team was immediately dispatched to his home, where he was examined and tested.

The patient then remained in self-quarantine until the test for COVID-19 returned positive.



Measures for those who travelled on Fiji Airways FJ1916 Par Vijay NarayanTuesday 24/03/2020

[Photo: Tourism Fiji]

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says from tomorrow, there will be no more scheduled passenger Fiji Airways travel into or out of Fiji until further notice.

Bainimarama also says there were 26 people on Fiji Airways flight FJ916 from Sydney to Nadi on Saturday, March 21st, apart from the Suva man who has now tested positive for COVID-19.

Bainimarama says Fiji Airways was practicing safe distancing on the plane, spacing out passengers through their strictly-enforced assigned seating.

He says because of those safety measures, only a handful of others, two other passengers and the three cabin crew who serviced his cabin, risked exposure.

Bainimarama says regardless, all other passengers remain in self-quarantine for a 14-day period.

The Prime Minister says while the risk of transmission from this case is low, the contact tracing teams are currently identifying every single person in Fiji who may have had direct contact with the patient, down to the taxi driver who drove him from Nadi Airport to Suva.

Fiji Airways has already announced they are cutting their international flights by 95%.

This passenger was on one of the final flights from Sydney to get Fijians back home.




Police await findings from investigators to determine charges that will be laid on flight attendantsPar Iva DanfordWednesday 25/03/2020

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho

Police are waiting for findings from their investigators to determine the charges that will be laid on the flight attendants who are self-quarantined at a Nadi hotel and were allegedly having grog sessions with people from outside almost every night and other people are also bringing over food, clothes and snacks to them.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says if they find that some of them disobeyed the directive that has been given by the Ministry of Health, they will be charged.

Qiliho says these people are totally being irresponsible and selfish in their actions when the majority of the Fijian citizens are diligently adhering to the directives of the government.




Taxi driver who allegedly transported University of Fiji Vice Chancellor out of Lautoka remanded in custodyPar Dhanjay DeoWednesday 25/03/2020

43 year old taxi driver, Rohit Rewal Krishna [Photo:Fiji Police Force]

43 year old taxi driver, Rohit Rewal Krishna who is alleged to have transported University of Fiji Vice Chancellor, Sushila Chang out of the restricted Lautoka Zone appeared in court today.

Krishna who is from Tuvu in Lautoka is charged with one count of disobedience of lawful order.

Krishna has been remanded in custody and the case will be called again on the 7th of next month.

Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho had stated that Krishna allegedly used his taxi to transport the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fiji in Lautoka to the Nadi Airport last Saturday through Kings Highway.

Police investigations are continuing as a fixer allegedly arranged this and a Personal Assistant was allegedly involved.




Nadi Airport to close from tomorrow while passenger travel to the outer islands will cease from Sunday March 29thPar Vijay NarayanWednesday 25/03/2020

Nadi Airport

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says they are working overtime to avoid the nightmare scenario in countries like Italy.

Bainimarama says the government is quickly acquiring new Intensive Care beds and ventilators, and taking other measures that will be announced by Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in tomorrow’s supplementary budget address at 7.30pm.

He says the fact is, if what happened in Italy happens in Fiji, our healthcare system would buckle.

Bainimarama says the grim reality is that in Fiji, the number of deaths for this many cases would likely be much, much higher. He says Fiji is at war with the coronavirus.

Bainimarama says we cannot see our enemy but we must act as if the enemy is in our midst at all times.

He says you can join the fight by washing your hands with soap and water, practicing physical distancing, two metres distance is safest and following any and every directive given to you by authorities.

The Prime Minister says Fiji now has two cases imported from overseas.

From tomorrow, Nadi Airport will be officially shut down to all scheduled passenger travel. There are currently three flights inbound to Fiji carrying Fijians returning home from overseas, these passengers will all be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

Bainimarama says they are seriously concerned about the virus ever reaching any of our outer island communities.

From this Sunday, the 29th of March, all passenger travel to the outer islands will cease. Shipping lines for freight will continue with increased bulk but decreased frequency to ensure food and other essential goods are supplied across the islands.

The ban on gatherings of 20 or more people remains in effect. If you have a death in the family, you can proceed with a burial, so long as you limit any gatherings to fewer than 20 people.




Further contact tracing was needed as the 27 year old Lautoka man did not give full story – PMPar Vijay NarayanWednesday 25/03/2020

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama confirms that they had to do further contact tracing in relation to the first confirmed COVID-19 case as their investigations revealed that unfortunately, they were not given the full story.

Bainimarama says witnesses have told the Ministry of Health that the flight attendant had been showing symptoms, including coughing, days prior and that he failed to place himself in self-quarantine.

He says their contact tracing had to be extended further back to identify even more people he may have contacted and get them into quarantine as well. The Prime Minister says this is water under the bridge; none of us should waste time targeting or vilifying the first patient as we all have much more important work to focus on.

He confirms that most of the individuals they have 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.



COVID-19: 5th case in Fiji confirmed by PMPar Vijay NarayanWednesday 25/03/2020

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama. [Image: Fijian Government]

A 31-year-old woman from Lautoka is the 5th confirmed COVID-19 case in Fiji.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says their contact tracing team confirms that the woman attended a Zumba class with the 27-year-old flight attandant who was the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Fiji and while he was already displaying the symptoms.

Bainimarama says all members of that Zumba class were directed to self-quarantine the same day the first patient was diagnosed, the 19th of March. They were each instructed to immediately alert the Health Ministry medical teams if they began developing symptoms. Yesterday, four days into compulsory self-quarantine, the 31-year-old woman, began displaying symptoms.

During their Zumba class, she worked out in close proximity with the first patient and shared a hug. When she later recognised her symptoms, she notified the ministry’s rapid response medical teams, who securely and hygienically transported her via ambulance to the isolation ward at Lautoka Hospital. She was tested.

Bainimarama says the woman shares a household with nine others –– two of whom were also showing symptoms and have been isolated in Lautoka Hospital.

The other seven remain under strict quarantine in the home, which is under constant police surveillance.

Further contact tracing was needed as the 27-year-old Lautoka man did not give full story – PM

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama confirms that they had to do further contact tracing in relation to the first confirmed COVID-19 case as their investigations revealed that unfortunately, they were not given the full story.

Bainimarama says witnesses have told the Ministry of Health that the flight attendant had been showing symptoms, including coughing, days prior and that he failed to place himself in self-quarantine.

He says their contact tracing had to be extended further back to identify even more people he may have contacted and get them into quarantine as well. The Prime Minister says this is water under the bridge; none of us should waste time targeting or vilifying the first patient as we all have much more important work to focus on.

He confirms that most of the individuals they have 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.

If you’re told to quarantine, do it. Do it, or we’ll make you do it – Bainimarama

The Prime Minister says if the government tells you to self-quarantine, do it or the government will make you do it.

Voreqe Bainimarama says if you have been directed to self-quarantine and you’re hearing this message, ask yourself: Where would you rather be? Quarantined in the comfort of your home for 14 days, or in prison for violating the law?

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.

Bainimarama has a message to those people “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.”

Bainimarama stresses that self-quarantine isn’t a voluntary measure.

He says it is not simply a “nice thing to do”.

The Prime Minister says it is a compulsory, legally-mandated order, and these Fijians will be investigated.

Bainimarama has also made it clear that if necessary, they will be arrested, charged and punished accordingly.

The Prime Minister says in Fiji, being a flight attendant is a highly-competitive job, hundreds, if not thousands, of Fijians, strive for each position filled.

He says it should be a position you hold with pride and one you don’t take for granted.

He says if irresponsible behaviour like this continues, Fiji Airways should not hesitate to clean house and replace these people with people who take their duty of care seriously.

Bainimarama says their behaviour in-flight and the protective measures that they take to ensure the safety of their cabin should be no different than they are on the ground when they are caring for their own community.

Nadi Airport to close from tomorrow while passenger travel to the outer islands will cease from Sunday March 29th

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says they are working overtime to avoid the nightmare scenario in countries like Italy.

Bainimarama says the government is quickly acquiring new Intensive Care beds and ventilators, and taking other measures that will be announced by Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in tomorrow’s supplementary budget address at 7.30pm.

He says the fact is, if what happened in Italy happens in Fiji, our healthcare system would buckle.

Bainimarama says the grim reality is that in Fiji, the number of deaths for this many cases would likely be much, much higher.

He says Fiji is at war with the coronavirus.

Bainimarama says we cannot see our enemy but we must act as if the enemy is in our midst at all times.

He says you can join the fight by washing your hands with soap and water, practicing physical distancing, two metres distance is safest and following any and every directive given to you by authorities.

The Prime Minister says Fiji now has two cases imported from overseas.

From tomorrow, Nadi Airport will be officially shut down to all scheduled passenger travel.

There are currently three flights inbound to Fiji carrying Fijians returning home from overseas, these passengers will all be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon the arrival.

Bainimarama says they are seriously concerned about the virus ever reaching any of our outer island communities.

From this Sunday, the 29th of March, all passenger travel to the outer islands will cease.

Shipping lines for freight will continue with increased bulk but decreased frequency to ensure food and other essential goods are supplied across the islands.

The ban on gatherings of 20 or more people remains in effect.

If you have a death in the family, you can proceed with a burial, so long as you limit any gatherings to fewer than 20 people.

Source: Organisation mondiale de la santé



8 fever clinics operating around Fiji as part of COVID-19 response planPar Rashika KumarWednesday 25/03/2020

[Photo:Ministry of Health]

The Ministry of Health has confirmed there are now eight fever clinics operating around the country as part of the COVID-19 response plan.

It says six clinics are now operational in Nasinu, Labasa, Savusavu and Nabouwalu while two others have been operational in Lautoka since last week.

The clinics are open from 8am to 4.30pm while the Lautoka clinics are open from 8am to 10pm in the weekdays and 8am to 4pm in the weekends.

These clinics include Valelevu Multipurpose Court in Saqa Street, Valelevu, Punjas Health Centre Carpark IN Cakau Street Lautoka, Kamikamica Health Centre Carpark, Nasea Health Centre and Empower Pacific Building (next to Ro Qomate Building) in Labasa, Old Public Health Building (next to hospital) in Savusavu, Taveuni Health Centre (Outside GOPD), Nabouwalu Fever Clinic and a dedicated tent outside Nabouwalu Hospital.

Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete has confirmed there will be one in the Suva area and they have identified which is currently being scoped.

He adds that Fever Clinics are also preventing and protecting the front line health workers at institutions like the CWM Hospital to ensure that patients who need other forms of care can get through to them.




Village Headman and fellow villager charged with disobedience of lawful order granted bailPar Naveel KrishantWednesday 25/03/2020

Mamanavesi and Saqanaivalu granted bail. [image: Fiji Police]

The Village Headman of Namena Village in Tailevu, 59-year-old Jese Mamanavesi and fellow villager Koroi Saqanaivalu who are charged with disobedience of lawful order have been granted bail.

The two allegedly allowed the gathering of more than 20 people at Saqanaivalu’s residence on Monday night.

Their case will be called again on the 9th of April




Passengers in 3 flights which the first COVID-19 patient was in, are in the incubation period – Dr WaqainabetePar Rashika KumarWednesday 25/03/2020

Minister for Health Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete

Minister for Health Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says passengers that were in the three flights which the first COVID-19 patient was in, are in the incubation period and it is important to make sure they are isolated.

He says the Ministry is looking at them with purpose for the 14 day period.

Doctor Waqainabete says their teams visit the people that were on those flights at least once a day and are in contact with them through phone calls and they will also make sure with Police that these people are not up and about in the community.

He adds that it’s also very helpful for the family members to encourage them to follow the rules of isolation and self quarantine that the Ministry has in place.

The Minister says the Incident Management Team which is being managed by Doctor James Fong has made sure they have isolation facilities.

He adds that we cannot have community transmission in a chaotic and uncontrolled scale that some other high income countries have.




Fijians reaching out to one another during unprecedented times due to COVID-19 pandemicPar Semi TuragaWednesday 25/03/2020

Lautoka Ratepayers and Residents Association distributing groceries yesterday

During these unprecedented times due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Fijians are reaching out to one another through acts of kindness.

While many may be isolated in Lautoka due to the lockdown – inspiring Fijians and organisations are making sure they are not alone.

The Lautoka Ratepayers and Residents Association in partnership with the Foundation for Rural Integrated Enterprises and Development (Friend Fiji) are reaching out to those in Lautoka who are finding it hard to get by daily.

They have already distributed 50 hampers to those in need.

These hampers include items like rice, flour, dhal, cooking oil, canned tuna, biscuits, antibacterial soap and washing powder.

Lautoka businessman, Narayan Reddy who lives in Drasa Vitogo has been helping with the distribution.

Reddy says they are assisting people who are in real need.

He says they are getting about 40 calls from people everyday.

Reddy says they are also working with Empower Pacific to provide counselling as this is a stressful time for people who have lost their jobs.




COVID-19: Security of women and girls is top priority – Vuniwaqa Par Shanil SinghWednesday 25/03/2020

Minister for Women, Mereseini Vuniwaqa. [image: file]

With four cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Fiji, Minister for Women, Mereseini Vuniwaqa says the safety and security of women and girls, including those with disabilities and marginalised groups is top priority.

Vuniwaqa says the Ministry is working closely with the signatories to the National Service Delivery Protocol to ensure that women and girls are protected, and perpetrators do not use this situation as an opportunity to commit violence.

This includes the Police, key government ministries, frontline service providers such as the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, Medical Services Pacific, Empower Pacific and the Salvation Army.

Vuniwaqa says this is because they have seen the rise in domestic violence cases happen before during political crisis’ and natural disasters.

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre Coordinator Shamima Ali says the Centre is ready to support women and girls.

Ali says while they support recommended public health measures such as social distancing but acknowledge that it may be used as a mechanism by perpetrators to further isolate women from family and social networks, creating a potentially dangerous environment for physical, sexual, and emotional violence.




Central Eastern Mini Buses Association calls for Suva-Nausori route to be shut down due to drop in operationsPar Naveel KrishantWednesday 25/03/2020

[Photo:File]

The Central Eastern Mini Buses Association is calling on the government to shut down the operations between the Suva and Nausori corridor as they are seeing operations drop by at least 60%.

General Secretary of the Association, Yashwardhan Ram says they are finding difficulties in their operations such as purchasing diesel, paying the drivers wages, payment for the mini-buses and the time frame they operate.

Ram says it is difficult for them to operate with only 6 passengers in a 15 seater mini-bus.

He adds that commuters are also requesting the 2-metres distance.

There are 40 operators Central Eastern Mini Buses Association.

We have sent questions to LTA and the Minister for Transportation.




Lautoka border monitoring maximised for Police with CCTV installation Par Iva DanfordWednesday 25/03/2020

Inspector Tuirewa of the Police Command and Control Center in Suva, monitors the situation in the Western Division’s restricted border zones. [image: Fiji police]

CCTV cameras have been mounted in strategic locations along the Lautoka border maximising the ability of Police to monitor the confined area.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says a live feed has been linked to the Police Command and Control Centre in Suva where Operations Command can monitor the activities and movement of people.

Qiliho says senior officers are also able to access the live feed on their mobile phones whereby quick decisions can be made to assist officers on the frontline manning the roadblocks.



COVID-19: Two charged for their alleged involvement in the gathering of more than 20 peoplePar Semi TuragaWednesday 25/03/2020

Two more people have been charged for their alleged involvement in the gathering of more than 20 people.

Police say the Village Headman of Namena Village in Tailevu and a fellow villager have both been charged with one count of Disobedience of Lawful Order.

They allegedly allowed a group of more than 20 people to gather at the second accused’s home on Monday night.

Police say the two men will appear in the Nausori Magistrates Court today.

Police confirm they are also investigating another incident where a man was assisted by villagers in the Western Division to cross the Sabeto border and into the Lautoka restricted areas yesterday.



Taxi driver that transported Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fiji to Nadi Airport chargedPar Iva DanfordWednesday 25/03/2020

The taxi driver that transported the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fiji who illegally violated the Lautoka confined area and caught a flight to Sydney has been charged.

The driver from Tuvu, Lautoka was arrested yesterday for alleged disobedience of lawful order.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the man allegedly used his taxi to transport the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fiji based in Lautoka to the Nadi Airport last Saturday through Kings Highway.

Qiliho says they are looking at other people that helped her go past the border.



The 36 flight attendants who are on self-quarantine are alleged to be still interacting with outsiders Par Vijay NarayanWednesday 25/03/2020

Police strictly guarding the check point in Lautoka [image: Fiji Police]

The 36 flight attendants who are on self-quarantine at a Nadi hotel are allegedly having grog sessions with people from outside almost every night and other people are also bringing over food, clothes and snacks to them.

We have received reports that these people from outside are also spending time with the self isolated flight attendants.

All this is happening despite repeated calls by the Prime Minister and the Health Ministry for people to self quarantine and not to have physical interaction with anyone.

The reports have come from nearby Nadi residents.

Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho has confirmed to Fijivillage that they working with the hotel on the CCTV footage and the people were warned by a senior Police Officer last night.

Qiliho says investigations are well underway and those who have disobeyed the Ministry of Health directives will be produced in court in the next few days.

Commissioner Qiliho says these people are totally being irresponsible and selfish in their actions when majority of the Fijian citizens are diligently adhering to the directives of the government.


Avoid all non-essential travel from today – PMPar Vijay NarayanTuesday 24/03/2020

All Fijians anywhere in the country are to avoid all non-essential travel from today after the 4th confirmed COVID-19 case in Fiji – which is from Suva.

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has made it clear in his statement to the nation today that no Fijian should travel from their home unless absolutely necessary.

He says people certainly should not be travelling around the country, across divisions or to different islands.

Bainimarama says children should stay at home at all times. He stresses that the elderly should stay at home at all times.

The Prime Minister says breadwinners who can go to work should go home straight after.

For everyone else, every move you make should be for your own health or the health of others.

Bainimarama says you can go out to get food, get medicine, take out money or access another essential service, it is also fine to exercise safely outdoors, so long as you maintain a safe distance from others.

But do not visit friends or family unless absolutely necessary.

The Prime Minister tells people do not host parties, do not needlessly linger and do not mingle with strangers.

Bainimarama says not in 100 years has the world seen a health crisis this severe. He says these are not normal times, and we cannot go about our day-to-day lives as if everything is normal.

He says that ignorance of the reality on the ground and the severity of this disease will get people killed.

The Prime Minister says if one person is exposed to this virus, and ignores the government’s restrictions, they could run around infecting everyone they come into contact with.

Bainimarama says if all those newly-infected people do the same, suddenly, we have a massive outbreak on our hands.

If the Ministry of Health has directed you to self-quarantine, do it.

They will be calling you and checking in on you in-person to make sure you are staying away from the public.

Self-quarantine for 14 days means you must stay in your home. During that time, you should avoid contact with other members of your household as much as humanly possible.


Stand 2 metres apart in public linesPar Vijay NarayanTuesday 24/03/2020

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says people standing closely in the lines will stop from today and everyone has to keep a distance of 2 metres while standing in public lines.

Bainimarama says he has seen images going around of people standing in line and congregating in Suva and other urban areas.

He says if you need to get in line, space yourself out properly and keep 2 metres between you and everyone else.

Bainimarama says if you do not follow this, police officers will be enforcing these measures everywhere in the country.

He says their officers cannot be at all places all the time.

The Prime Minister also says that if you run a business in an industry where remote work is possible, tell your workers to start working from home.

He says we are food secure, there is no need to spend your savings in one frantic go at the supermarkets.

Bainimarama says the government has been informed that some people who ran to the stores to buy up goods in a panic are now wanting to return their groceries to the supermarkets and shops.

He also says the ban on gatherings of 20 people or more remains in full effect.

The Prime Minister says weddings, funerals, concerts and sporting events should all be cancelled.

He says when it comes to people’s health, no event is more important than people’s lives.



4th case of COVID-19 confirmed in FijiPar Vijay NarayanTuesday 24/03/2020

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

The fourth case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Fiji – and this case is from Suva.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says early this morning, they confirmed the fourth case of COVID-19.

This patient is not related to our first three cases.

He is a 28-year-old Fijian man who arrived back into the country on Saturday from Australia.

Bainimarama says when the man left that Fiji Airways flight FJ916 on March 21st, he was not showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

He says he was advised by health officials at the airport to go straight home and self-quarantine for 14 days.

The Prime Minister says it appears the man did everything right.

He says the man went from the airport straight to his flat in Suva, where he immediately self-quarantined.

On Sunday night, while he was still self-quarantined, the 28-year-old man developed mild symptoms – a sore throat, and then a cough.

The man then contacted the Health Ministry and a rapid response team was immediately dispatched to his home, where he was examined and tested.

The patient then remained in self-quarantine until the test for COVID-19 returned positive.



Measures for those who travelled on Fiji Airways FJ1916 Par Vijay NarayanTuesday 24/03/2020

[Photo: Tourism Fiji]

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says from tomorrow, there will be no more scheduled passenger Fiji Airways travel into or out of Fiji until further notice.

Bainimarama also says there were 26 people on Fiji Airways flight FJ916 from Sydney to Nadi on Saturday, March 21st, apart from the Suva man who has now tested positive for COVID-19.

Bainimarama says Fiji Airways was practicing safe distancing on the plane, spacing out passengers through their strictly-enforced assigned seating.

He says because of those safety measures, only a handful of others, two other passengers and the three cabin crew who serviced his cabin, risked exposure.

Bainimarama says regardless, all other passengers remain in self-quarantine for a 14-day period.

The Prime Minister says while the risk of transmission from this case is low, the contact tracing teams are currently identifying every single person in Fiji who may have had direct contact with the patient, down to the taxi driver who drove him from Nadi Airport to Suva.

Fiji Airways has already announced they are cutting their international flights by 95%.

This passenger was on one of the final flights from Sydney to get Fijians back home.




Stand 2 metres apart in public linesPar Vijay NarayanTuesday 24/03/2020

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says people standing closely in the lines will stop from today and everyone has to keep a distance of 2 metres while standing in public lines.

Bainimarama says he has seen images going around of people standing in line and congregating in Suva and other urban areas.

He says if you need to get in line, space yourself out properly and keep 2 metres between you and everyone else.

Bainimarama says if you do not follow this, police officers will be enforcing these measures everywhere in the country.

He says their officers cannot be at all places all the time.

The Prime Minister also says that if you run a business in an industry where remote work is possible, tell your workers to start working from home.

He says we are food secure, there is no need to spend your savings in one frantic go at the supermarkets.

Bainimarama says the government has been informed that some people who ran to the stores to buy up goods in a panic are now wanting to return their groceries to the supermarkets and shops.

He also says the ban on gatherings of 20 people or more remains in full effect.

The Prime Minister says weddings, funerals, concerts and sporting events should all be cancelled.

He says when it comes to people’s health, no event is more important than people’s lives.



4th case of COVID-19 confirmed in FijiPar Vijay NarayanTuesday 24/03/2020

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

The fourth case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Fiji – and this case is from Suva.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says early this morning, they confirmed the fourth case of COVID-19.

This patient is not related to our first three cases.

He is a 28-year-old Fijian man who arrived back into the country on Saturday from Australia.

Bainimarama says when the man left that Fiji Airways flight FJ916 on March 21st, he was not showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

He says he was advised by health officials at the airport to go straight home and self-quarantine for 14 days.

The Prime Minister says it appears the man did everything right.

He says the man went from the airport straight to his flat in Suva, where he immediately self-quarantined.

On Sunday night, while he was still self-quarantined, the 28-year-old man developed mild symptoms – a sore throat, and then a cough.

The man then contacted the Health Ministry and a rapid response team was immediately dispatched to his home, where he was examined and tested.

The patient then remained in self-quarantine until the test for COVID-19 returned positive.



Measures for those who travelled on Fiji Airways FJ1916 Par Vijay NarayanTuesday 24/03/2020

[Photo: Tourism Fiji]

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says from tomorrow, there will be no more scheduled passenger Fiji Airways travel into or out of Fiji until further notice.

Bainimarama also says there were 26 people on Fiji Airways flight FJ916 from Sydney to Nadi on Saturday, March 21st, apart from the Suva man who has now tested positive for COVID-19.

Bainimarama says Fiji Airways was practicing safe distancing on the plane, spacing out passengers through their strictly-enforced assigned seating.

He says because of those safety measures, only a handful of others, two other passengers and the three cabin crew who serviced his cabin, risked exposure.

Bainimarama says regardless, all other passengers remain in self-quarantine for a 14-day period.

The Prime Minister says while the risk of transmission from this case is low, the contact tracing teams are currently identifying every single person in Fiji who may have had direct contact with the patient, down to the taxi driver who drove him from Nadi Airport to Suva.

Fiji Airways has already announced they are cutting their international flights by 95%.

This passenger was on one of the final flights from Sydney to get Fijians back home.





LTA CEO says people should not board public transportation if other passengers can’t maintain 2-metre separationPar Semi Turaga, Iva DanfordTuesday 24/03/2020

Land Transport Authority CEO Samuel Simpson

The Land Transport Authority CEO Samuel Simpson says if people can’t maintain a 2-metre separation between them and other passengers then they should not board the bus, minibus or taxi.

In line with the recommendations from the Ministry of Health that all non-essential travel should be suspended until the current situation has improved, Simpson says if people have to travel for essential reasons in a bus, taxi or minibus they must ensure that they maintain a clear space of at least 2 metres between them and the next nearest person.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the decision to limit or monitor people travelling in public transportation like buses will be made at the right time.

He says that this decision will be made after cabinet sits with the Ministry of Health. Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says as the situation evolves they will be making further announcements on measures for public transportation.

He was responding to a question on when the government would announce measures for buses as there is now a ban on gatherings of 20 people or more.

During peak traffic time, there can be 60 people in a bus.




28 year old man now confirmed to have COVID-19 virus after testing positive today – Dr. SahukhanPar Semi TuragaTuesday 24/03/2020

Head of Health Protection Doctor Aalisha Sahukhan

32 people were tested for COVID-19 at the Fiji Centres for Disease Control this morning and the sample of the 28-year-old man who is now confirmed to have the virus was the only one that came back positive.

Head of Health Protection Doctor Aalisha Sahukhan says 179 people have been tested for COVID-19 since the end of January at the Fiji Centres for Disease Control.




If you have nothing to do at the checkpoint don’t come there – QilihoPar Iva DanfordTuesday 24/03/2020

If you have nothing to do at the checkpoint, don’t come there.

This is the stern warning that has come from the Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho as people have been arrested for trying to get through the Lautoka checkpoint.

Twelve people have already been produced in court for allegedly breaching the COVID-19 restrictions in the Lautoka lockdown area.

They are charged with Disobedience of Lawful Order.

Uni Fiji Vice-Chancellor Update

The taxi driver that transported the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fiji who illegally violated the Lautoka confined area and caught a flight to Sydney has been charged.

The driver from Tuvu, Lautoka was arrested yesterday for alleged disobedience of lawful order.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the man allegedly used his taxi to transport the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fiji based in Lautoka to the Nadi Airport last Saturday through Kings Highway.

Qiliho says they are looking at other people that helped her go past the border.




Measures for those who travelled on Fiji Airways FJ1916 Par Vijay NarayanTuesday 24/03/2020

[Photo: Tourism Fiji]

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says from tomorrow, there will be no more scheduled passenger Fiji Airways travel into or out of Fiji until further notice.

Bainimarama also says there were 26 people on Fiji Airways flight FJ916 from Sydney to Nadi on Saturday, March 21st, apart from the Suva man who has now tested positive for COVID-19.

Bainimarama says Fiji Airways was practicing safe distancing on the plane, spacing out passengers through their strictly-enforced assigned seating.

He says because of those safety measures, only a handful of others, two other passengers and the three cabin crew who serviced his cabin, risked exposure.

Bainimarama says regardless, all other passengers remain in self-quarantine for a 14-day period.

The Prime Minister says while the risk of transmission from this case is low, the contact tracing teams are currently identifying every single person in Fiji who may have had direct contact with the patient, down to the taxi driver who drove him from Nadi Airport to Suva.

Fiji Airways has already announced they are cutting their international flights by 95%.

This passenger was on one of the final flights from Sydney to get Fijians back home.




4th case of COVID-19 confirmed in FijiPar Vijay NarayanTuesday 24/03/2020

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

The fourth case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Fiji – and this case is from Suva.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says early this morning, they confirmed the fourth case of COVID-19.

This patient is not related to our first three cases.

He is a 28-year-old Fijian man who arrived back into the country on Saturday from Australia.

Bainimarama says when the man left that Fiji Airways flight FJ916 on March 21st, he was not showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

He says he was advised by health officials at the airport to go straight home and self-quarantine for 14 days.

The Prime Minister says it appears the man did everything right.

He says the man went from the airport straight to his flat in Suva, where he immediately self-quarantined.

On Sunday night, while he was still self-quarantined, the 28-year-old man developed mild symptoms – a sore throat, and then a cough.

The man then contacted the Health Ministry and a rapid response team was immediately dispatched to his home, where he was examined and tested.

The patient then remained in self-quarantine until the test for COVID-19 returned positive.



LTA to revoke PSV permit of any taxi, minibus or bus that violate Lautoka lockdown areaPar Semi TuragaTuesday 24/03/2020

The Land Transport Authority says it will revoke the Public Service Vehicle Permit of any taxi, minibus, bus operator who conspires to assist a person to break or frustrate the Lautoka lockdown area.

CEO Samuel Simpson says if any PSV operator is approached by any individual who seeks to attempt to breach the cordon then this matter must be reported immediately to the Fiji Police Force who will take appropriate action.

This statement by the LTA comes after a taxi driver allegedly violated the Lautoka confined area.

Police say the taxi driver from Tuvu in Lautoka allegedly used his taxi to transport the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fiji based in Lautoka to the Nadi Airport last Saturday through Kings Highway.

Investigations by Police are continuing concerning this latest incident as a fixer allegedly arranged this and a Personal Assistant was allegedly involved.




Father Dakai appears in court for allegedly conducting a church service in Ovalau on SundayPar Dhanjay DeoTuesday 24/03/2020

Catholic priest Fabiano Naduva Dakai

58-year-old Catholic priest, Fabiano Naduva Dakai appeared in the Nausori Magistrates Court today for allegedly conducting a church service/mass in Ovalau on Sunday which resulted in the gathering of more than 20 people.

Father Dakai is charged with one count of disobedience of lawful order.

He was released on bail and ordered not to re-offend.

The matter will be called again on the 9th of next month for plea.

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has already made it clear that there is a ban on gatherings of 20 or more people.




COVID-19 Budget : Govt identifies two categories of people that can be assistedPar Semi TuragaTuesday 24/03/2020

Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says they have to be able cater for  different type of scenarios in the COVID-19 Response Budget and the most obvious one is to be able to work with FNPF on how they can provide a form of relief by way of access to finances for those people who are no longer employed or will no longer be employed for at least a period of time.

Sayed-Khaiyum says there are two categories of people that they see.

He says one, of course, are those people who are employed in the Lautoka confined area and the other category of people are those in the tourism sector which is not just hotels but also tour operators.

Sayed-Khaiyum says they also need to look at people in the informal sector as some people may not be members of FNPF but are making a healthy living selling dalo and cassava by the side of the road.

He says some of these people will also need to be assisted if they all of a sudden are unable to sell their products.




37 passengers remaining after 45 people came forward from flights first COVID-19 patient was inPar Semi TuragaTuesday 24/03/2020

File Photo

45 people have come forward overnight after the Health Ministry published the names of 82 passengers from flights that the first COVID-19 patient also flew in.

There are 37 passengers remaining.

If you know one of these individuals, tell them to call 2219906 immediately.

The Health Ministry says these passengers need to be self-quarantined.

It says these passengers are not patients but persons of interest and those who require observation to ensure that there is no spread of potential COVID-19 in the community.

The Health Ministry says this contact tracing is a vital part of containment measures.

There are currently three confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Fiji.

Non

Nom

Last Known Address

Division

1

Chand Charan Vishneel

Navua

Central

2

Manjula Devi

Vuci Rd, Nausori

Central

3

Vilisielesi Tavui

Navuso Agriculture Compound Nausori

Central

4

Viliame Gaunavinaka

Damu Rd, Nepani

Central

5

Magaono Tui

Kauniton St, Vatuwaqa Suva

Central

6

Singh Sneh

Nabua

Central

sept

Tukia Matie

Kauniton St, Vatuwaqa Suva

Central

8

Saheeda Kanum

Drasa Lane

Central

9

Singh Rohin Lata

Tomuka

Lautoka

dix

Tiare Marinoa

Lautoka

Lautoka

11

Motikaoiaki Paimanula

Lautoka

Lautoka

12

Sarita

Lautoka

Lautoka

13

Sailesh Ram

Saweni

Lautoka

14

Kumar Ripesh

Korovuto Ba

Ba

15

Raja Rama

Namosau Ba

Nadi

16

Keneth Barnes

Matamanoa & Volivoli Beach Resort

Nadi

17

Corrine Macdonnell

Matamanoa & Volivoli Beach Resort

Nadi

18

Healy Emily

Pullman Nadi Resort

Nadi

19

Tamara Melgoza

Worldmark Timeshare/Wyndham

Nadi

20

Thomas Greenspan

Pullman Nadi Resort

Nadi

21

Alvin Daluyaya

Worldmark Timeshare/Wyndham

Nadi

22

Juvirah Frondoso

Worldmark Timeshare/Wyndham

Nadi

23

Anu Radha

Navakai Nadi

Nadi

24

Tamara Uekes-Schenedel

Sofitel Beachfront

Nadi

25

Kurt Schenael

Sofitel Beachfront

Nadi

26

Fihaki Lupeti

Vunaivisere, Nadi

Nadi

27

Waite Terrence Keith

Marriot Resort

Nadi

28

Pietersen Roell

Club Fiji Resort, Wailoaloa Beach, Nadi

Nadi

29

Schuitemaker Amber Monique

Hilton Resort

Nadi

30

Prakash Emily Priyanka

Tokotoko Nadi

Nadi

31

Deepanjali Raksha

Tokatoka Nadi

Nadi

32

Prakash Arnav Rishabh

Tokatoka Nadi

Nadi

33

Prakash Asish

Tokatoka Nadi

Nadi

34

Prakash Anshika Ashley

Tokatoka Nadi

Nadi

35

Tan Ee Lin

Tokatoka Resort

Nadi

36

Alex George

Martintar

Nadi

37

Pushaparaj Ammini

Capricorn, Queens Road, Martintar

Nadi




Police working with company to put cameras in parts of Lautoka lockdown areaPar Semi TuragaTuesday 24/03/2020

[Photo: Fiji Police Force]

Police are now working with a particular company to put cameras in areas in the Lautoka lockdown area where they cannot visually cover for 24 hours.

Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says they are working with the RFMF and have extended sea front patrols right up to the Ba area and Port Denarau.

Qiliho says they have more than enough people there to deal with the issue.

He says this is an additional task but they continue with their Community Outreach and all other activities of policing.

Twelve people have already been produced in court for allegedly breaching the COVID-19 restrictions in the Lautoka lockdown area.

They are charged with Disobedience of Lawful Order.




Catholic Priest to appear in court for Disobedience of Lawful OrderPar Semi TuragaTuesday 24/03/2020

A Catholic Priest has been charged with Disobedience of Lawful Order and will be appearing in the Nausori Magistrates Court this morning.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the man allegedly conducted a mass gathering at Tokou, Ovalau on Sunday whereby more than 20 people allegedly gathered for a religious service.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has already made it clear that there is a ban on gatherings of 20 or more people.



Avoid all non-essential travel from today – PMPar Vijay NarayanTuesday 24/03/2020

All Fijians anywhere in the country are to avoid all non-essential travel from today after the 4th confirmed COVID-19 case in Fiji – which is from Suva.

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has made it clear in his statement to the nation today that no Fijian should travel from their home unless absolutely necessary.

He says people certainly should not be travelling around the country, across divisions or to different islands.

Bainimarama says children should stay at home at all times. He stresses that the elderly should stay at home at all times.

The Prime Minister says breadwinners who can go to work should go home straight after.

For everyone else, every move you make should be for your own health or the health of others.

Bainimarama says you can go out to get food, get medicine, take out money or access another essential service, it is also fine to exercise safely outdoors, so long as you maintain a safe distance from others.

But do not visit friends or family unless absolutely necessary.

The Prime Minister tells people do not host parties, do not needlessly linger and do not mingle with strangers.

Bainimarama says not in 100 years has the world seen a health crisis this severe. He says these are not normal times, and we cannot go about our day-to-day lives as if everything is normal.

He says that ignorance of the reality on the ground and the severity of this disease will get people killed.

The Prime Minister says if one person is exposed to this virus, and ignores the government’s restrictions, they could run around infecting everyone they come into contact with.

Bainimarama says if all those newly-infected people do the same, suddenly, we have a massive outbreak on our hands.

If the Ministry of Health has directed you to self-quarantine, do it.

They will be calling you and checking in on you in-person to make sure you are staying away from the public.

Self-quarantine for 14 days means you must stay in your home. During that time, you should avoid contact with other members of your household as much as humanly possible.


Stand 2 metres apart in public linesPar Vijay NarayanTuesday 24/03/2020

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says people standing closely in the lines will stop from today and everyone has to keep a distance of 2 metres while standing in public lines.

Bainimarama says he has seen images going around of people standing in line and congregating in Suva and other urban areas.

He says if you need to get in line, space yourself out properly and keep 2 metres between you and everyone else.

Bainimarama says if you do not follow this, police officers will be enforcing these measures everywhere in the country.

He says their officers cannot be at all places all the time.

The Prime Minister also says that if you run a business in an industry where remote work is possible, tell your workers to start working from home.

He says we are food secure, there is no need to spend your savings in one frantic go at the supermarkets.

Bainimarama says the government has been informed that some people who ran to the stores to buy up goods in a panic are now wanting to return their groceries to the supermarkets and shops.

He also says the ban on gatherings of 20 people or more remains in full effect.

The Prime Minister says weddings, funerals, concerts and sporting events should all be cancelled.

He says when it comes to people’s health, no event is more important than people’s lives.



4th case of COVID-19 confirmed in FijiPar Vijay NarayanTuesday 24/03/2020

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

The fourth case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Fiji – and this case is from Suva.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says early this morning, they confirmed the fourth case of COVID-19.

This patient is not related to our first three cases.

He is a 28-year-old Fijian man who arrived back into the country on Saturday from Australia.

Bainimarama says when the man left that Fiji Airways flight FJ916 on March 21st, he was not showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

He says he was advised by health officials at the airport to go straight home and self-quarantine for 14 days.

The Prime Minister says it appears the man did everything right.

He says the man went from the airport straight to his flat in Suva, where he immediately self-quarantined.

On Sunday night, while he was still self-quarantined, the 28-year-old man developed mild symptoms – a sore throat, and then a cough.

The man then contacted the Health Ministry and a rapid response team was immediately dispatched to his home, where he was examined and tested.

The patient then remained in self-quarantine until the test for COVID-19 returned positive.



Measures for those who travelled on Fiji Airways FJ1916 Par Vijay NarayanTuesday 24/03/2020

[Photo: Tourism Fiji]

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says from tomorrow, there will be no more scheduled passenger Fiji Airways travel into or out of Fiji until further notice.

Bainimarama also says there were 26 people on Fiji Airways flight FJ916 from Sydney to Nadi on Saturday, March 21st, apart from the Suva man who has now tested positive for COVID-19.

Bainimarama says Fiji Airways was practicing safe distancing on the plane, spacing out passengers through their strictly-enforced assigned seating.

He says because of those safety measures, only a handful of others, two other passengers and the three cabin crew who serviced his cabin, risked exposure.

Bainimarama says regardless, all other passengers remain in self-quarantine for a 14-day period.

The Prime Minister says while the risk of transmission from this case is low, the contact tracing teams are currently identifying every single person in Fiji who may have had direct contact with the patient, down to the taxi driver who drove him from Nadi Airport to Suva.

Fiji Airways has already announced they are cutting their international flights by 95%.

This passenger was on one of the final flights from Sydney to get Fijians back home.





People who have been affected by job losses, asked to contact their creditors for some relief assistancePar Vijay NarayanTuesday 24/03/2020

With the coronavirus pandemic causing many workers to lose work hours or even be unemployed for a few months, the Consumer Council of Fiji says it is more important than ever to know what financial options available to you should you have an existing loan or hire purchase account.

The council urges consumers who are faced with financial hardships caused by the pandemic to visit their creditors and request for some relief assistance.

Council CEO Seema Shandil says this is their right pursuant to Section 66 of the Consumer Credit Act 1999 where a debtor or consumer may apply for a restructure in their credit if they are unable to make repayments because of illness, unemployment or other reasonable cause.

Shandil says consumers with hire purchase accounts, personal loans and even commercial loans may apply to their credit provider and make necessary arrangements in terms of their distress.

The Consumer Council says creditors are required by law to issue written notices setting out the particulars of the change in the terms of the credit contract and any information required by the regulations.

Shandil says the council applauds the gesture by certain banks such as the Bank of South Pacific and ANZ in coming forward to provide relief packages for their loan customers during this crisis.

She says the package aims to assist those who face difficulties during the current crisis.

While the duration of the outbreak remains uncertain, the council urges all credit providers to be accommodative and be forthcoming with customers faced with financial distress.




No face to face classes and exams at all three universities in Fiji todayPar Priteshni NandMonday 23/03/2020

There will be no face to face classes and exams at all University of South Pacific, Fiji National University and University of Fiji campuses in Fiji after the confirmation of two COVID-19 cases.

USP is closed for its mid-semester break from today until the 5th of April.

Uni Fiji is also closed for mid-semester break

FNU is closed till Friday for semester mode students.

FNU is meeting to make further decisions on their trimester, penster, quarter and other mode students.

An announcement will be made later today.



Investigation now underway after outlet found selling drink claiming to be the arch enemy of COVID-19Par Vijay NarayanMonday 23/03/2020

There is no herbal drink that can stop COVID-19.

Please be aware of this as we are receiving reports that a herbal tea outlet in Suva is selling a drink claiming it is the arch enemy of COVID-19.

Fijivillage has alerted the Health Minister and Police regarding this matter. We will have an update soon.

Please take following precautionary measures to fight COVID-19 :

– Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.

– Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

– Practice social distancing. This means maintaining a safe distance of 2 metres between individuals as much as possible and avoiding in-person contact, including handshakes and hugs.

If you are feeling unwell, or know someone who is feeling unwell, immediately contact the Health Ministry on one of these numbers:

In the Central Division call 2219905;

In the Eastern Division call 2219906;

In the Western Division call 2219907; et

In the Northern, Division call 2219908




Catholic Priest to appear in court for Disobedience of Lawful OrderPar Semi TuragaTuesday 24/03/2020

A Catholic Priest has been charged with Disobedience of Lawful Order and will be appearing in the Nausori Magistrates Court this morning.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the man allegedly conducted a mass gathering at Tokou, Ovalau on Sunday whereby more than 20 people allegedly gathered for a religious service.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has already made it clear that there is a ban on gatherings of 20 or more people.




146 tested for COVID-19 – SahukhanPar Dhanjay DeoMonday 23/03/2020

Dr. Aalisha Sahukhan

The Head of Health Protection at the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Dr. Aalisha Sahukhan says the one year two-month-old baby who has tested positive for COVID-19 developed fever on Saturday while he admitted in isolation in the Nadi Hospital.

Sahukhan says the baby is in a stable condition.

She says out of the 11 family members that are currently admitted in isolation in the Nadi Hospital, six were tested after they showed some symptoms of the virus.

The mother and the baby tested positive.

Sahukhan says they will continue to keep this family in isolation and will do further tests when needed.

Sahukhan also confirms that they have tested six other contacts of the flight attendant and all have tested negative.

She says 146 tests for COVID-19 have taken place so far and all are from around the country.

Sahukhan adds that they consider the passengers on the flights with the flight attendant to be at much lower risk than the direct family members but because they are exercising an abundance of caution, they need to contact every single passenger.


set-1




Man to appear in court tomorrow for allegedly spreading false news on FacebookPar Semi TuragaMonday 23/03/2020

A 41-year-old Makoi man will appear in the Suva Magistrates Court tomorrow for allegedly spreading false news on Facebook which created fear about COVID-19.

He has been formally charged with one count of Malicious Act.

Police say between last Friday and Saturday the man used Facebook to publish and broadcast false news about positive cases of Coronavirus at CWM Hospital.

Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says now there is a shift in how the posts are been made as people know that Police are taking people into custody and investigating cases.

He says they have reported a Jese Tuitubou to Facebook.




FNU extends its mid semester break till 4th of AprilPar Priteshni NandMonday 23/03/2020

The Fiji National University has extended its mid-semester break for all students till the 4th of April due to the confirmation of three COVID-19 cases in Fiji.

Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor James Pounder says no teachings, examination, assessments and practicals will take place during this period.

All University of South Pacific campuses are closed for its mid-semester break till the 5th of April while the University of Fiji campuses are closed until further notice.



3rd case of COVID-19 confirmed in FijiPar Vijay NarayanMonday 23/03/2020

Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama delivers statement on COVID-19

The third case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Fiji.

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama confirms that the first patient’s one-year old nephew has also contracted the virus.

Bainimarama says luckily, once again, this patient was not showing symptoms until they were in isolation, vastly cutting the odds they passed the virus onto others.

The mortality rate among the young is especially low, around the world, coronavirus has largely gone undetected in children and infants, as they display only mild symptoms.

But Bainimarama says as today’s case shows, no age group or demographic is immune to contracting or spreading the virus.

He says while the baby’s case may seem heartbreaking, what is truly frightening is the scenario that could have unfolded if the situation had been handled differently, and the first patient’s entire household wasn’t immediately put into isolation as soon as he tested positive.

Bainimarama says every grandparent, great-grandparent, uncle, aunt and neighbour who held this precious, fourteen-month-old baby boy in their arms could have easily been infected, all with just a drop of spittle, burp or cough.

He says while statistics show that babies will recover, for the more vulnerable in our society, this simple act of affection could be a death sentence.

The Prime Minister says by the grace of God, the government’s aggressive contact tracing exercise has so far proven very effective, identifying two additional patients who were already safely placed in isolation.


Stop breaching the Lautoka borderPar Vijay Narayan, Semi Turaga, Iva DanfordMonday 23/03/2020

The Prime Minister says he was shocked to learn that the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fiji illegally violated the Lautoka confined area and caught a flight to Sydney.

Voreqe Bainimarama says to imagine the ordinary Fijians that would have come into contact with her on her way to Nadi, through Nadi Airport and on the plane itself.

He says her crimes put lives at-risk and are an affront to the hard work of the officers and staff, as well as the good measures they have put in place to protect our people. A taxi driver from Tuvu in Lautoka was arrested this morning for alleged disobedience of lawful order.

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho says the man allegedly used his taxi to transport the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Fiji based in Lautoka to the Nadi Airport last Saturday through Kings Highway.

Investigations are continuing concerning this latest incident as a fixer allegedly arranged this and a Personal Assistant was allegedly involved.

Meanwhile, Fijivillage is trying to speak to the University of Fiji Vice-Chancellor, Sushila Chang on why she allegedly breached the Lautoka border and went to Sydney.

We have also been trying to get her comments from the weekend as the University of Fiji was the only university planning to go ahead with face to face classes and exams in Suva this week while other universities had cancelled all face to face lectures. Concerns were raised by the University of Fiji students on why the university wanted to go ahead with the classes.

There was no decision until this morning despite repeated calls and questions.

The classes and exams were cancelled this morning.

Meanwhile, Bainimarama also says it is unfortunate to see that a number of individuals have already sought to violate the government’s border protection measures in Lautoka to contain COVID-19.

Bainimarama says so far, 11 people have been charged and produced in court today.

He says in the last few hours, another three have been arrested.

Bainimarama stresses that if you are planning to illegally enter or leave the confined area, or aid and abet someone seeking to do so, think again.

He says this isn’t a game.

Bainimarama says this is a life or death situation, and punishment will match the seriousness of the offenses committed.

The Prime Minister has also made it clear that maintaining the current borders of the Lautoka confined area for the time being, but if people continue to break the law and leave or enter, the government will not have a choice – these restrictions will need to be prolonged and extended to new areas or even the entire country.

The Prime Minister also says while the borders are closed, they are going to tremendous lengths to ensure life in the Lautoka confined area goes on normally as much as possible.

He says banks, pharmacies and supermarkets all remain open.

Bainimarama says food is being regularly supplied. He says essential services are being provided.

He says while they have been disappointed to see a few bad apples, skirting the rules and recommendations they have enacted to keep Fiji safe, he has also been incredibly heartened by the nationwide response to look out for each other’s health and wellbeing.

Bainimarama says there are stories of young people doing grocery shopping for their elderly neighbours.

Stories of hotels opening their doors, free of charge, to those who are restricted from entering the confinement area. Stories of Fijians spreading love on social media, finding new ways to greet each other, and reminding their friends to spread facts, not fear.

The Prime Ministrer we should all be grateful to our disciplined forces for their vigilance in keeping Fijians from harm, but their officers cannot be everywhere at once.

He also says we need every Fijian enlisted in the enforcement effort.

If you see a large gathering going on, tell them to show some care and cancel it.

If you know someone is planning to leave the Lautoka confined area, immediately tell the Police.

If you see someone violating self-quarantine, tell them to take themselves home for the sake of everyone’s safety.

If you see people sharing a cup to drink, hugging, shaking hands or even playing rugby, tell them to stop and play it safe.

He says we need the eyes and ears of every Fijian on our side at all times – that is the only way we keep Fiji ahead of this virus.



Don’t harm yourself by taking part in illegal large gatherings – PMPar Vijay NarayanMonday 23/03/2020

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama stresses that the 20 people limit on gatherings applies to weddings, parties, concerts, sports events, religious services, funerals – everything, and there are no exceptions.

Bainimarama stresses that none of these plans are more important than people’s lives.

He says you may live outside of Lautoka, or outside of Viti Levu, and feel that you can still gather and celebrate, safe from harm.

The Prime Minister says this mentality is stupid, as you are harming yourself.

He says it is destructive, as you are putting the integrity of the government’s containment measures in jeopardy, and it is selfish, as you are putting the lives of others at risk.

Bainimarama says the government has announced a ban on any gatherings of 20 or more people.

Workplaces, banks, supermarkets, open-air markets, pharmacies and other areas where essential services are offered are fine for now, given you keep a safe distance apart.

He says restaurant owners should also cut their seating capacity to be within our 20-person limit, keep tables hygienic and safely spaced apart, and better yet switch to delivery.

Bainimarama says for those who already offer take-away or delivery, do it more. For all others, try offering this service for the first time.

He says the border protection measures in the Lautoka confined area remain in full effect.

The Fiji Police are monitoring checkpoints at the King’s Road at Matuwalu Junction, the feeder road at Vakabuli Junction and the Queen’s Road at Natalau Junction.

International shipping services to the Lautoka port are all diverted to Suva except for those that deliver goods exclusively for food and manufacturing purposes only for the Lautoka confined area.

The Commissioner for Police will also be overseeing the safe and hygienic off and on-loading of all goods into Lautoka, and he is the main contact for the exporters and importers who qualify.




Fiji has recorded its 2nd confirmed case of COVID-19Par Naveel KrishantSaturday 21/03/2020

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama announced 2nd confirmed case of COVID-19

Fiji has recorded its 2nd confirmed case of COVID-19.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama announced that the second patient is the mother of the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Fiji. This is Fiji’s first locally transmitted case of COVID-19.

Bainimarama says she was immediately isolated as part of their contact tracing efforts and her symptoms did not show until after she was already in isolation.

The Prime Minister says she remains isolated at the Nadi Hospital and she was safely transferred there and is in stable condition. He adds that there are no restrictions in Nadi now while the restrictions for the Greater Lautoka Area remain in place.

He adds they are widening their contact tracing to find out who the second victim was in contact within 24 hours before being isolated. He says they will be quarantined and monitored as well.

Bainimarama further adds that the victim is in isolation in Nadi, it is clear she contracted the virus while in the Lautoka confined area.

He says that she was securely and hygienically transported to the Nadi Hospital, so she poses no risk to the public in Nadi.

The Greater Lautoka Area is the area spanning from King’s Road at Nacilau Junction past Matawalu Village, to the feeder road at Vakabuli Junction, to Queen’s Road at Natalau Junction.

Bainimarama says similarly they even stopped foreign nationals who may have been in direct contact with the first COVID-19 patient from boarding any flights given that they could pose a threat to other travellers and other members of the airport staff and flight crew.

He adds instead they must remain in Fiji under strict self-quarantine for the 14 day period after which they will be allowed to return home.

The Prime Minister says they will make no exceptions.

Bainimarama says the second case is a sobering reminder that COVID-19 is extremely contagious and young people while more likely to recover can transmit the virus to the more vulnerable of our society.



2nd patient to have contracted COVID-19 is the mother of the first patient – Dr. Sahukhan Par Rashika KumarSaturday 21/03/2020

Head of Health Protection at the Ministry of Health and Medical Services Doctor Alisha Sahukhan

The Head of Health Protection at the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Doctor Alisha Sahukhan says the second patient to have contracted COVID-19 is the mother of the first patient.

She says the woman was in close contact with the first case in the same household.

The doctor says the 47-year-old woman developed symptoms after she was put in isolation and was immediately tested and the results were received in the early hours of this morning.

She adds that both the mother and son are in stable condition at Nadi and Lautoka hospitals respectively.

Doctor Sahukhan says 11 household contacts of the same family are in isolation at the Nadi Hospital and are being monitored by the staff.

Meanwhile, she says the flight attendant was in potential contact with a lot of people.

The doctor says that they are in the process of contact tracing everybody who they think was a close contact based on their guidelines.

She says that they have contacted most of them and their staff from various divisions will be following up with them daily to check if they have developed symptoms or not.

Doctor Sahukhan adds that if any other close contacts develop symptoms, they will be tested but in the meantime, they are under strict quarantine and will be followed up by the teams in the divisions.

She also says that passengers that were on FJ 871 San Francisco – Nadi on Monday, FJ 411 Nadi – Auckland on Tuesday and FJ 410 Auckland – Nadi also on Tuesday who have not been contacted should contact the Ministry of Health and must also self-quarantine.

Doctor Sahukhan has also confirmed that there were foreign nationals on those flights.



Police working with RFMF to tighten up the Lautoka border – QilihoPar Navitalai NaivaluruaSaturday 21/03/2020

Police Commissioner Sitiveni Qiliho

Police Commissioner, Sitiveni Qiliho has highlighted that no one will enter or leave Lautoka during the isolation period.

Qiliho says they have been receiving calls and messages from people who wish to enter or leave Lautoka for all sorts of reasons but the Commissioner is urging everyone that what they are doing is for the benefit of everyone.

He adds they are now working with the Republic of Fiji Military Forces to tighten up the Lautoka border as they have heard rumors that some people are trying to get in through the Sabeto waterways.

He says they have not taken anyone to task for this issue as yet.

Qiliho also stated that all foreign nationals inside the border will remain inside during the isolation period.

He adds they have set up five checkpoints to help them prevent people from entering Lautoka and has stated that only essential goods will be able to go in and out of Lautoka.

The Commissioner also stated that people should not be spreading rumors and false information as this can create fear and panic.



COVID-19: Only one confirmed case in Fiji, suspected cases have returned negative – Dr. WaqainabetePar Naveel KrishantFriday 20/03/2020

Health Minister Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete

There is only one case of COVID-19 in Lautoka and there are no other cases in Fiji.

Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete confirms that all other suspected cases have been tested and have returned negative.

The confirmed COVID-19 patient is a 27-year-old flight attendant of Fiji Airways from Lautoka who had a recent travel history to the USA and New Zealand.

Doctor Waqainabete says contact tracing has been done and there are no confirmed cases in Nausori and people should stop following all the misinformation on social media.

He says all steps are being taken to protect the people of Fiji and those in the decision making process in the Health Ministry and the government as a whole will be the last people to hide information that needs to be shared.

The Health Minister says isolation and containment is the key to deal with COVID-19 and this is why swift action has been taken in Lautoka.



Disinfecting and cleaning work has been increased in all municipal council areas – KumarPar Dhanjay DeoFriday 20/03/2020

Minister for Local Government, Premila Kumar says disinfecting and cleaning work has been increased in all municipal council areas, especially in Lautoka.

Kumar says the use of gloves for cleaning has always been the practice and orders for the increased use of masks and protective gear have been made.

She says councils are working closely with the NFA to assist with water blasting.

Kumar says markets are being assessed on a case by case basis and sections that are enclosed with little ventilation are being closed.

The Minister says that vendors are being better spaced and some vendors are now working on rotation as cleanliness and adequate ventilation is paramount to how markets will be operating.

Some markets will be moved in whole or in part – out of doors or onto verandas. She adds that overcrowding is to be controlled and more marquees will be provided as and where needed.

Kumar says the municipal councils have been directed to keep municipal markets, council offices and other council facilities clean, safe and well ventilated and to institute social distancing at customer service counters.

She adds that the municipal councils have been instructed to show local leadership and only share accurate information from the Ministry of Health and WHO on how to contain and mitigate the spread of the virus.

The Councils have now been advised not to book any events for their facilities for more than 20 people for meetings and other events.




NFA asked to asisst with disinfecting certain areas in LautokaPar Dhanjay DeoFriday 20/03/2020

Lautoka Municipal Market

Minister for Local Government, Premila Kumar says they are now seeking help of the National Fire Authority staff to assist in the cleaning of certain areas in Lautoka.

Kumar confirms disinfectants have been provided to Lautoka, Nadi, Sigatoka and Nasinu municipal councils.

Details regarding providing disinfectants to other municipal councils are expected to be released later today.

Kumar says they want to be certain that market vendors of Lautoka Municipal Market are well protected as they will be sharing space and selling their produce.

The Local Government Minister says with the help of the World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health, representatives from all municipal councils were provided with training on what has to be done during this period.

Kumar says more details regarding disinfecting work will be released soon.




91 schools in Lautoka will be closed from today after the confirmation of Fiji’s first COVID-19 casePar Priteshni NandFriday 20/03/2020

Lautoka Methodist Primary Scool students during their assembly early this year.

91 schools in Lautoka will be closed from today after the confirmation of Fiji’s first COVID-19 case today.

These schools are within the lockdown zone which is from Kings Road at Nacilau Junction past Matawalu Village, Ba to feeder road at Vakabuli Junction, to the Queens Road at Natalau Junction, Nadi.

The Ministry of Education says students of the three boarding schools who have not been picked up by their parents will remain in the hostels. It is advising parents to ensure their children remain at home and safe during this period.

Parents are urged to ensure their children are engaged in learning activities at home.

The 91 schools include

1. Sathya Sai Kindergarten

2. Wairabetia Velovelo Kindergarten

3. Koroipita Kindergarten

4. Dreketi Sangam Kindergarten School

5. Lautoka Delana Primary School Kindergarten

6. Lautoka Arya Samaj Kindergarten

7. Taiperia Methodist Pre School

8. New Generation Early Learning Centre

9. Vio Kindergarten

10. Lovu Hart Kindergarten

11. Lautoka School for Special Education Early Childhood Centre

12. Deshbandhu Kindergarten

13. St Thomas Kindergarten

14. Vuda Kindergarten

15. Gurukul Kindergarten

16. Nadi Mandir Kindergarten

17. Lautoka Methodist Kindergarten

18. Talimul Islam Kindergarten

19. Lovu Sangam Kindergarten

20. Drasa Kindergarten

21. Lautoka Baptist Church Kindergarten

22. Field 40 Kindergarten

23. Vitogo Kindergarten School

24. Wairabetia Muslim Kindergarten

25. F S C Kindergarten

26. Amichandra Kindergarten

27. Drasa Muslim Kindergarten

28. Lololo Kindergarten

29. Lomolomo Kindergarten

30. Veseisei Kindergarten

31. Early Childhood Public Education Centre

32. Vakabuli Early Childhood School

33. Lauwaki Kindergarten

34. Gandhi Bhawan Kindergarten

35. Zanana Kindergarten

36. Raviravi Sangam Kindergarten

37. Arya Samaj Natabua Kindergarten

38. Lautoka Sanatan Kindergarten

39. Vakabuli Kindergarten

40. Jasper Williams Primary School Kindergarten

41. Lomolomo Village Kindergarten

42. Lautoka Methodist Primary School

43. Lautoka Primary School

44. Lautoka Muslim Primary School

45. Lautoka Andhra Sangam Primary School

46. Lautoka Central Primary School

47. Jasper Williams Primary School

48. Lovu Sangam Primary School

49. Natabua Primary School

50. St Thomas Primary School

51. Drasa Primary School

52. Gandhi Bhawan Primary School

53. Gurukul Primary School

54. Lautoka Ahmadiyya Muslim Primary School

55. Lautoka Delana Primary School

56. Saru MGM Primary School

57. Vuda District School

58. Amichandra Memorial School

59. Drasa Avenue School

60. Lautoka Arya Samaj Primary School

61. Lautoka Zhong Hua Primary School

62. Sunshine Special School

63. Lautoka School for Sp.Ed

64. Raviravi Sangam Primary School

65. Tavarau Primary School

66. Viseisei Primary School

67. Vitogo District School

68. Drasa Muslim Primary School

69. Dreketi Sangam School

70. Lololo Primary School

71. Lomolomo Public School

72. Qalitu Primary School

73. Teidamu Primary School

74. Tuvu Primary School

75. Shri Ram Govind Memorial Primary School

76. Ratu Saimoni Raseru Memorial School

77. Vakabuli Primary School

78. Deshbandhu Vitogo School

79. Wairabetia Muslim Primary School

80. Lautoka SDA Primary School

81. Sathya Sai School

82. Natabua High School

83. Drasa Secondary

84. Jasper Williams High School

85. Lautoka Muslim College

86. Lautoka Central College

87. Tilak High School

88. Ba Provincial College

89. St Thomas High School

90. Pandit Vishnu Deo

91. Lautoka Andhra College



COVID-19: Supermarkets start item-limiting for customersPar Shanil SinghFriday 20/03/2020

Items and signs seen at a supermarket in Suva.

Supermarkets have started to limit some items that a customer can take to ensure that everyone has fair access to them after the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Fiji yesterday.

This is after retailers were asked by the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission to exercise their judgement based on customer and store locations to limit sales for customers.

All New World Supermarket outlets have limited the sale of 1 bag 4kg sugar per customer and a maximum of 2 bags of garlic per customer.

They are also allowing an individual to purchase only one 10 pack of toilet paper.

When asked about these measures, they say that these are the items that are going quickly which is why the limitations have been put in place.

Similar arrangements were seen at MH Superfresh.

We have also seen that the panic buying by people which was witnessed yesterday has settled down and the supermarkets were not as busy today.



It’s important people show basic human decency and stop vilifying an individual who has been identified as the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Fiji – RajPar Naveel KrishantThursday 19/03/2020

The Director of Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission Ashwin Raj says it is important that people show basic human decency and stop vilifying an individual in Lautoka who has been identified as the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Fiji.

Raj says instead of vilifying and apportioning blame, all Fijians must unite in solidarity, take heed of the stringent but proportionate measures outlined by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in his address to the nation and desist from engaging in acts that encourage racism, xenophobia and stigmatization.

Raj adds we must respect human rights in the context of COVID-19 and realise that those that maybe suspected to have contracted the virus must enjoy the right to health without stigma and the right to privacy.

He says COVID-19 will also have a disproportionate impact on a broad range of economic and social rights as well as freedoms.



COVID-19: Damodar City Aquatic and National Fitness Centre shut down till further noticePar Vijay NarayanThursday 19/03/2020

The Fiji Sports Council has announced that Damodar City Aquatic Centre and the National Fitness Centre are closed until further notice.

This is in accordance with the Ministry of Health advisory on COVID-19 presented by the Prime Minister.

After 14 days, the Fiji Sports Council will review this position with advice from authorities.

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has stated that nightclubs, gyms, cinemas, swimming pools, fitness centres and even recreational contact sporting engagements, which, by their nature, make personal space nearly impossible should also be closed and ceased everywhere in Fiji, effective immediately.



COVID-19: Damodar Cinemas shut down till further noticePar Vijay NarayanThursday 19/03/2020

[Photo: TimesofIndia]

Damodar Cinemas has announced that as a COVID-19 precautionary measure, they will be closed until further notice.

The company says it acknowledges the recent statement by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama and they will close down operations until further notice.



COVID-19: Govt may invoke hardship provision in Consumer Credit ActPar Semi TuragaThursday 19/03/2020

As some people have now been made redundant from their workplaces due to the slowdown in the economy and effects of COVID-19, Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says under the Consumer Credit Act there is a hardship provision which can allow for repayments for personal mortgages and hire purchases to be deferred.

He says this is, of course, something, they intend to have invoked.

Sayed-Khaiyum says many of the financial institutions have come forward themselves to say that they will have that invoked.

He says for example in some instances this could mean a complete stop of repayments or could be only interest payments.

Sayed-Khaiyum says there are many other loans that fall outside the Consumer Credit Act, for example small businesses and other larger businesses.

He says again the banks have shown an appetite to stop repayments in this regard.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the banks have also shown an appetite to be able to give repayment holidays where they defer the principal amount payments and also looking at interest rates.



No specific enforcement measures for those who breach ban on gatherings of 20 or more – AGPar Semi TuragaThursday 19/03/2020

Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says they have not announced any specific measures regarding fines and penalties for those people that do not follow the ban on gatherings of 20 or more people in Fiji.

Responding to a question about how government would enforce the ban and whether Police and the RFMF would be used to enforce it, Sayed-Khaiyum says at this point in time they are relying on people’s good will, wisdom and sense of self-preservation and patriotism.

Sayed-Khaiyum says he hopes common sense will prevail.



All civil servants are advised to report to workPar Vijay NarayanThursday 19/03/2020

The Ministry of Civil Service says all civil servants are advised to report to work.

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has announced heightened containment measures in the confined Lautoka area from midnight tonight.

The Lautoka confined area spans from King’s Road at Nacilau Junction past Matawalu village, to the feeder road at Vakabuli junction, to the Queen’s Road and Natalau junction.

The ministry says civil servants who live and work in the Lautoka confined area are to report to their normal place of work.

Civil servants who live outside the Lautoka confined area, but work within the confined area, are to report to the nearest government office of their ministry.

The Ministry of Civil Service says if there is no such ministry office, they should report to any other government office outside the Lautoka confined area.

For instance, a civil servant residing in Ba or Nadi and working in the Lautoka confined area, must report to the nearest government office in Ba or Nadi.

Civil servants who live in the Lautoka confined area and work outside the confined area should report to their nearest government office of their ministry within the Lautoka confined area.

If there is no such ministry office, they should report to any other government office within the Lautoka confined area. For instance, a civil servant living in Lautoka and working in Ba or Nadi must report to the nearest government office of their ministry within the Lautoka confined area.

Civil servants who live outside the Lautoka confined area, but commute through the Lautoka confined area to get to work, should also report to the nearest government office of their ministry outside of the confined area.

If there is no such ministry office, they should report to any other government office outside the Lautoka confined area. For instance, if you live in Nadi and travel to Ba through the Lautoka confined area for work, then you should report to the nearest government office of your ministry in Nadi.



NZ to close its borders to anyone not a citizen or permanent resident – PM ArdernPar Vijay NarayanThursday 19/03/2020

The prime minister has confirmed that the New Zealand border will be closed to anyone who is not a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident from 11.59pm tonight.

Children and partners of New Zealand citizens and permanent residents will be allowed to enter.

People from the Pacific will be included in the border closure, as will temporary workers or temporary visa holders such as students.

If travellers are boarding a flight, transiting on their way to New Zealand, or on an aircraft before midnight, they will be able to land and enter the country when they arrive.

« I recognise how extraordinary this is, » said Ardern, but the measure had to be taken to protect New Zealand from Covid-19

« In no time in New Zealand’s history has a power like this been used. »

The ban applies to people not product, and those staffing freight ships and planes are not included.

Those who have travelled here from other countries recently are still required to self-isolate, and those who have been here longer are being encouraged to look at how they can get home.

« I’m not willing to take risks here, » Ardern said.

She said the decision was made between 4pm and 5pm this evening. Only Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was told of these changes beforehand.

Those who have already boarded or are enroute will be able to enter New Zealand.

« I have simply removed the risk. I’m not willing to tolerate risk at our border, that is where predominantly of our cases are coming from, » said Ardern.

She added that while « we will continue to have cases in New Zealand as we continue to test those with symptoms who have come home, we must slow down the transmission in New Zealand ».

Earlier, there were travel bans on anyone arriving from China and Iran, and all others – except those from the Pacific – had to self-isolate for 14 days.

Earlier this afternoon, the government announced a ban on indoor gatherings of more than 100 people.

Ardern has already given one update on the government response to the Covid-19 coronavirus today. Speaking in Rotorua, she told New Zealanders they must prepare for the full effects of the Covid-19 coronavirus, but must not panic, especially over rumours and misinformation.



FCCC to constantly monitor retailers on keeping all products availablePar Iva DanfordThursday 19/03/2020

Retailers have been asked by the Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission to exercise their judgement based on customer and store locations to limit sales for customers so that everyone has fair access.

The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission says they will constantly monitor the situation and have asked traders to do their best to keep all products available to everyone.

It says if shortages are noted then other limits may be put in place, however this will only be done if absolutely necessary.

The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission says their role is to help make sure all Fijians can access the products they need.

It further says they are working very closely with importers, wholesalers and retailers to get products onto shelves as quickly as we can to meet this demand.

The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission says it is worth noting that the vast majority of products are not affected, and supermarkets and pharmacies are not seeing shortages, however, to make sure everyone has access to essential items, they have introduced some common-sense limits to essential products.

FCCC will monitor this situation and release advisories as required.



We were preparing for some time when Fiji will have the first case of COVID-19 – OmundsonPar Dhanjay DeoThursday 19/03/2020

Water Authority of Fiji CEO, Barry Omundson

Water Authority of Fiji CEO, Barry Omundson says they were preparing for some time when Fiji will have the first case of COVID-19 and they have a fairly good plan in place in terms of providing water to all Fijians.

Omundson says as the CEO of WAF for the last three months, he has found out that normal water supply is not really normal in Fiji and there is intermittent supply in a lot of places.

Omundson says they are well aware of the current situation as water is now a sense of safety which they will do their best to provide to all Fijians.

He has also urged people to store drinking water in light of adverse weather conditions currently affecting Fiji.

Omundson says their teams are working to maintain good water supply throughout the country however the current weather conditions may affect their systems and is urging Fijians to be prepared for emergencies.

He says people should also boil all drinking water before consumption as an added precaution. Omundson says water carting trucks are on standby and will be deployed as needed to impacted areas, with high priority given to hospitals.



Govt to make announcement with respect to those who work in Lautoka and will be absent from workPar Iva DanfordThursday 19/03/2020

This was highlighted by the Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum

The government will be making announcements soon with respect to how people who work in Lautoka but do not live there and how their absence from work will be treated.

This was highlighted by the Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum who says that they will need to put measures in place.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the government is currently talking to the Fiji National Provident Fund on how members can access their funds.

He says they will also be discussing how much people can get out and this is work in progress.

Sayed-Khaiyum says that this assistance will be targeted.

He says there will be instances where maybe some people who may have amounts of money that they can withdraw and there will be people that cannot withdraw due to minimum FNPF contributions.

Sayed-Khaiyum says with cases where people cannot withdraw, the government is looking at how it can give them some form of assistance.



COVID-19 patient is a 27-year-old flight attendant who had recent travel history to USA and NZ – Dr. SahukhanPar Dhanjay DeoThursday 19/03/2020

Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Dr. Alisha Sahukhan

The Head of Health Protection at the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Dr. Alisha Sahukhan says the COVID-19 patient is a 27-year-old flight attendant of Fiji Airways who had a recent travel history to the USA and New Zealand.

Dr. Sahukhan says the flight attendant presented at Lautoka Hospital on Tuesday evening displaying respiratory symptoms at which point he was immediately isolated by the staff into a dedicated isolation ward.

Dr. Sahukhan says the patient remains isolated and is in a stable condition.

She says they received the test results this morning.

Dr. Sahukhan it is important to note that this is an imported case of the virus and is not a locally transmitted case.

She says based on the patients travel history and when his symptoms started, they believe that he got COVID-19 in the USA.

Dr. Sahukhan says they are focused on the patient’s movement since Monday as that is when the period started when he could spread the disease to others.

She says based on this information, they are now contacting passengers and crew who may have been exposed on Fiji Airways flights that he was working on.

These flights are FJ871 from San Francisco to Nadi which arrived in Nadi on Monday, FJ411 from Nadi to Auckland and the return flight FJ410 from Auckland to Nadi, both on Tuesday.

She says they are working closely with Fiji Airways to contact the passengers and crew.

If you had travelled on these flights then please contact:

In the Central Division call 2219905; In the Eastern Division call 2219906; In the Western Division call 2219907; and In the Northern Division call 2219908.




No sense in running to the market and buying up massive amounts of goods – PMPar Vijay NarayanThursday 19/03/2020

PM at the announcement of safety measures in regards to first case of COVID-19.

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainiamarama says essential goods will be available in the country and there is no need for people to rush and buy in large stocks.

Bainimarama says no one should act in fear or with panic.

He says we are in this together, we will endure this together and we will overcome this together as well.

Fiji’s health relies on your help in the government’s containment efforts. If you are feeling unwell, or know someone who is feeling unwell, immediately contact the Health Ministry on one of these numbers:

In the Central Division call 2219905;

In the Eastern Division call 2219906;

In the Western Division call 2219907; et

In the Northern Division call 2219908.




COVID-19: Gatherings of 20 or more people banned in FijiPar Vijay NarayanThursday 19/03/2020

Gatherings of 20 or more people are now banned in Fiji and nightclubs will also be applicable to this as stated by the PM

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has announced that gatherings of 20 or more people are now banned in Fiji after the confirmation of the first COVID-19 case.

Gatherings are defined as any assembly of individuals in a single location, including meetings, religious gatherings, such as church, mosque and temple services, and sports events.

At this stage, workplaces, businesses and inter-island shipping services outside of Lautoka may remain open, buses and Fiji Link services can continue and schools, outside of Lautoka, will remain open.

However Bainimarama says all Fijians should avoid all non-essential travel.

The Prime Minister says nightclubs, gyms, cinemas, swimming pools, fitness centres and even recreational contact sporting engagements, which, by their nature, make personal space nearly impossible should also be closed and ceased everywhere in Fiji, effective immediately.

For the time being, the judiciary will continue to function, but there will be no movement of people in remand centres into or out of the Greater Lautoka Area.

The government will also be establishing fever clinics in each Division, similar to what other countries have done to contain the virus at the local level.

Bainimarama says these clinics will be designed to keep people with fevers away from vulnerable people who visit Health Centres and into separate, dedicated spaces specially designed to effectively identify possible COVID-19 cases.

Bainimarama says this is an aggressive, proportionate and most importantly scalable response.

All of these measures will be reviewed in 14 days time.

The Prime Minister also confirms that before then, measures may escalate if necessary as they monitor the situation, particularly the outcomes of their contact tracing.



Health Ministry identifying those who were in contact with Lautoka man who tested positive for COVID-19Par Vijay NarayanThursday 19/03/2020

Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete

Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete confirms that their team is in the process of identifying all those people who were in contact with the Lautoka man who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Fijivillage has received confirmation that the man’s family is now in isolation.

Doctor Waqainabete confirms that there are no locally transmitted COVID-19 cases in Fiji, but they are vastly expanding containment measures.

As earlier highlighted on Legend FM News, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete has tweeted that “there is a single confirmed case of COVID19 in Lautoka that was imported from a patient who had recently travelled abroad. He was immediately isolated, where he remains under careful medical supervision”.

Panic buying in a number of areas has started in the country with people rushing to get groceries from supermarkets.

Many parents are even rushing to pick up their children from school. We are urging people to remain calm and take all necessary precautions while we await word from the government on what is happening.

The Education Ministry is not saying anything at the moment on schools. Stay listening to us as we will have further announcements.

This morning, the Fiji Bitter Marist 7s Tournament was postponed to a later date after organizers announced that there is a case of COVID-19 in Lautoka.

Stay with us.



Economic impact from COVID-19 could exceed TC Winston – AGPar Vijay NarayanThursday 19/03/2020

Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum [Photo:Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum]

Minister for Economy and Attorney General, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says Fiji, and other small island developing states across the world, are bracing themselves for an economic impact that could well exceed a severe tropical hurricane, such as Cyclone Winston which struck Fiji in 2016 and wiped out one-third of our gross domestic product in just 36 hours.

As global supply chains and shipping routes are affected, and tourism and travel-related industries face unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19, the contractions across all developing economies will be measured in more than job losses or percentage points shaved from our growth.

In an article on the Financial Times, Sayed-Khaiyum wrote that as resources run out, the work done to achieve sustainable development goals also risks unravelling — be that curbing climate change to keeping our people healthy, or indeed every benchmark of the United Nations 2030 agenda.

Sayed-Khaiyum says while Fiji may not see millions of tourists, like Australia and New Zealand, our 850,000 annual visitors contribute up to 38 per cent of gross domestic product.

He says tourism revenues help fund critical infrastructure projects; a 10 per cent environmental and climate adaptation levy on the rum punch you drink at a Fijian resort helps fund the reconstruction of schools destroyed by tropical cyclones.

But as Fiji closes its borders to some countries, and other nations impose restrictions on their returning citizens, that once-reliable income will dissipate.

Sayed-Khaiyum says whether they are cleaning staff, taxi drivers, restaurant workers, security guards, artisans, market vendors, farmers, or our famous fire-walkers, Fijians will feel the economic crunch intensely. He says teleworking simply isn’t an option if your job is walking across hot coals.

The Attorney General says that furthermore, the privileges that developed nations can afford for many of their citizens aren’t limited to working from home.

He says national airline carriers and cruise lines from wealthier countries are already indicating that they will need financial lifelines.

Sayed-Khaiyum says developing economies do not have the luxury of high fiscal reserves to bail out industries, pump trillions of dollars into our markets, or offer citizens large-scale economic packages. He says Qantas could be propped up by the Australian government, but Fiji Airways will need to find radically new ways to adapt — as will developing nations across the world.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the world economy pulled itself out of the global financial crisis in 2008 through an unprecedented, internationally co-ordinated effort to re-spark global growth, with crisis lending in 2009 essentially doubling from pre-recession levels. He says we have yet to see the same level of multilateralism in response to the financial and commercial challenges stemming from coronavirus.

He says nations are operating in silos rather than in solidarity. And he says without a cohesive global response, developing economies will suffer the most.

Sayed-Khaiyum says emergency measures must inject crisis funding into vulnerable economies. He says budgetary support and affordable finance at recession-halting scales are essential to preserve the market forces that underpin the global economy.

Fiji is preparing a Covid-19 budget to fund vast preparatory measures.

Sayed-Khaiyum writes that fortunately, we can afford to take some of these countermeasures from a position of relative financial strength. But multilateral approaches must match our urgency and creativity to ensure the viability of many developing nations.

He says if multilateral development banks withhold support until the virus strikes small island states, they will leave us exposed.

Sayed-Khaiyum says with the worst yet to come, every day of delay risks robbing the world of a sustainable future.



Number of safety measures announced after first case of COVID-19 was confirmed Par Vijay NarayanThursday 19/03/2020

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has announced a number of measures to try to isolate and contain COVID-19 after the first case of coronavirus in Lautoka.

Border Restrictions and Self Quarantine
By: Vijay Narayan

From midnight tonight our border restrictions on Mainland China, Italy, Iran, Spain and South Korea will be extended to foreign nationals who have been present in the USA and all of Europe including the United Kingdom within 14 days of their intended travel.

Also from midnight tonight, anyone who enters our country from any overseas destination will be required to self quarantine for 14 days meaning they must stay in one place and avoid contact with others or going out in public.

The most stringent travel restrictions have been announced for Lautoka
By: Vijay Narayan

The Prime Minister says starting at midnight tonight, all schools and non-essential businesses within the Greater Lautoka Area will be closed until further notice.

The government is defining the Greater Lautoka Area as the area spanning from King’s Road at Nacilau Junction past Matawalu Village, to the feeder road at Vakabuli Junction, to the Queen’s Road at Natalau Junction.

Banks, supermarkets and pharmacies, and other essential businesses in the Greater Lautoka Area will remain open.

Essential businesses include air and rescue services, air traffic control services, civil aviation, telecommunication services, food and sanitary manufacturing plants, electricity services, emergency services, fire services, health and hospital services, lighthouse services, meteorological services, mine pumping, ventilation and winding, sanitary services, supply and distribution of fuel and gas, power, telecommunications, garbage collection, transport services and water and sewage services.

Fijians who work but do not live in this area should report to the nearest office outside of the monitored area, regardless of whether their industry falls under the essential businesses list.

If there is no branch of your company outside of the Greater Lautoka area, please contact your employer and the Prime Minister says government will, in the next few days, announce how your absence from work will be treated during this situation.

Bainimarama says they advise all employers to accommodate the needs of your employees and not make any employees redundant.

He says basically, if you are living in the Greater Lautoka Area, you will now stay in the Greater Lautoka Area. If you do not live in the Greater Lautoka Area, you cannot travel there, even if you work there.

By continuing the essential services, Bainimarama says the government will ensure the supply of food will continue to be available.

In order to maintain food security, the Agriculture Marketing Authority will be buying fruits, vegetables and root crops at the border of the Greater Lautoka Area from the farmers and middle-men to be sold to the vendors for sale at local markets in the Greater Lautoka Area.

The Minister for Agriculture will provide the specifics of this programme this afternoon.


COVID-19: Gatherings of 20 or more people banned in FijiPar Vijay NarayanThursday 19/03/2020

Gatherings of 20 or more people are now banned in Fiji and nightclubs will also be applicable to this as stated by the PM

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama has announced that gatherings of 20 or more people are now banned in Fiji after the confirmation of the first COVID-19 case.

Gatherings are defined as any assembly of individuals in a single location, including meetings, religious gatherings, such as church, mosque and temple services, and sports events.

At this stage, workplaces, businesses and inter-island shipping services outside of Lautoka may remain open, buses and Fiji Link services can continue and schools, outside of Lautoka, will remain open.

However Bainimarama says all Fijians should avoid all non-essential travel.

The Prime Minister says nightclubs, gyms, cinemas, swimming pools, fitness centres and even recreational contact sporting engagements, which, by their nature, make personal space nearly impossible should also be closed and ceased everywhere in Fiji, effective immediately.

For the time being, the judiciary will continue to function, but there will be no movement of people in remand centres into or out of the Greater Lautoka Area.

The government will also be establishing fever clinics in each Division, similar to what other countries have done to contain the virus at the local level.

Bainimarama says these clinics will be designed to keep people with fevers away from vulnerable people who visit Health Centres and into separate, dedicated spaces specially designed to effectively identify possible COVID-19 cases.

Bainimarama says this is an aggressive, proportionate and most importantly scalable response.

All of these measures will be reviewed in 14 days time.

The Prime Minister also confirms that before then, measures may escalate if necessary as they monitor the situation, particularly the outcomes of their contact tracing.



No sense in running to the market and buying up massive amounts of goods – PMPar Vijay NarayanThursday 19/03/2020

PM at the announcement of safety measures in regards to first case of COVID-19.

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainiamarama says essential goods will be available in the country and there is no need for people to rush and buy in large stocks.

Bainimarama says no one should act in fear or with panic.

He says we are in this together, we will endure this together and we will overcome this together as well.

Fiji’s health relies on your help in the government’s containment efforts. If you are feeling unwell, or know someone who is feeling unwell, immediately contact the Health Ministry on one of these numbers:

In the Central Division call 2219905;

In the Eastern Division call 2219906;

In the Western Division call 2219907; et

In the Northern Division call 2219908.



COVID-19 patient is a 27-year-old flight attendant who had recent travel history to USA and NZ – Dr. SahukhanPar Dhanjay DeoThursday 19/03/2020

Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Dr. Alisha Sahukhan

The Head of Health Protection at the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, Dr. Alisha Sahukhan says the COVID-19 patient is a 27-year-old flight attendant of Fiji Airways who had a recent travel history to the USA and New Zealand.

Dr. Sahukhan says the flight attendant presented at Lautoka Hospital on Tuesday evening displaying respiratory symptoms at which point he was immediately isolated by the staff into a dedicated isolation ward.

Dr. Sahukhan says the patient remains isolated and is in a stable condition.

She says they received the test results this morning.

Dr. Sahukhan it is important to note that this is an imported case of the virus and is not a locally transmitted case.

She says based on the patients travel history and when his symptoms started, they believe that he got COVID-19 in the USA.

Dr. Sahukhan says they are focused on the patient’s movement since Monday as that is when the period started when he could spread the disease to others.

She says based on this information, they are now contacting passengers and crew who may have been exposed on Fiji Airways flights that he was working on.

These flights are FJ871 from San Francisco to Nadi which arrived in Nadi on Monday, FJ411 from Nadi to Auckland and the return flight FJ410 from Auckland to Nadi, both on Tuesday.

She says they are working closely with Fiji Airways to contact the passengers and crew.

If you had travelled on these flights then please contact:

In the Central Division call 2219905; In the Eastern Division call 2219906; In the Western Division call 2219907; and In the Northern Division call 2219908.




PM to make announcement following the confirmation of the first case of COVID-19 in FijiPar Vijay NarayanThursday 19/03/2020

Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum [Photo:Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum]

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama will make an announcement soon following the confirmation of the first case of COVID-19 in Fiji.

As earlier highlighted on Legend FM News, Minister for Health, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete has tweeted that “there is a single confirmed case of COVID19 in Lautoka that was imported from a patient who had recently travelled abroad. He was immediately isolated, where he remains under careful medical supervision”.

Doctor Waqainabete also tweeted “Our team is identifying all those who he was in contact with. There are no locally transmitted cases in Fiji, but we are vastly expanding containment measures. Details are being finalised now.”

Panic buying in a number of areas has started in the country with people rushing to get groceries from supermarkets.

Many parents are even rushing to pick up their children from school. We are urging people to remain calm and take all necessary precautions while we await word from the government on what is happening.

The Education Ministry is not saying anything at the moment on schools. Stay listening to us as we will have further announcements.

This morning, the Fiji Bitter Marist 7s Tournament was postponed to a later date after organizers announced that there is a case of COVID-19 in Lautoka.

Stay with us.



First COVID-19 case in Fiji confirmed – Dr. WaqainabetePar Vijay NarayanThursday 19/03/2020

As earlier highlighted on Fijivillage, Minister for Health Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete has tweeted that “there is a single confirmed case of COVID19 in Lautoka that was imported from a patient who had recently travelled abroad. He was immediately isolated, where he remains under careful medical supervision”.

He also says “Our team is identifying all those who he was in contact with. There are no locally transmitted cases in Fiji, but we are vastly expanding containment measures. Details are being finalised now.”

However the panic buying in a number of areas has started in the country with people rushing to get groceries from supermarkets.

Many parents are even rushing to pick up their children from school.

We are urging people to remain calm and take all necessary precautions while we await word from the government on what is happening.

The Education Ministry is not saying anything at the moment on schools.

Stay listening to us as we will have further announcements.

This morning, the Fiji Bitter Marist 7s Tournament was postponed to a later date after organizers announced that there is a case of COVID-19 in Lautoka.

Marist Rugby Club President, Lawrence Tikaram says they received the confirmation this morning and they have taken this step for the safety and welfare of the players and spectators.

Stay with us for more.


COVID-19: Panic Buying StartsPar Semi TuragaThursday 19/03/2020

People are continuing to flock to supermarkets to stock up on food and essential household items as the nation awaits the major announcement by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fijivillage visited supermarkets in Suva this morning and found many packed and out of trolleys as they suddenly received an influx of customers.

Since 9 o’clock this morning, it has been packed at Extra Supermarket along Flagstaff.

Extra Supermarket says on a normal day they have 170 trolleys available but since 9am they have had to bring out 100 more trolleys.

It says they have no problems with stock at the moment.

Toilet paper has been the consistent item on everyone’s trolley.

Saheema Nisha from 9 miles was one of the many that rushed to Extra Supermarket this morning.

There were also long lines of people at MH Superfresh in Tamavua.

There were people lining up at the counter and also outside waiting for trolleys.

MH Superfresh says they have more than enough stock available.

Max Value in Flagstaff was also packed this morning.

We have been told they have more than enough stock.



Government Preparedness and People’s ResponsibilityPar Vijay Narayan, Semi TuragaThursday 19/03/2020

The government already has 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.

The Prime Minister had earlier said that as we monitor the situation, more isolation units will be established as the need arises in accordance with their expansion plan.

Voreqe Bainimarama says if and when we see our first case of COVID-19, 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 single most important thing anyone can do is to wash your hands with soap and water on a regular basis.

The combination of soap and water kills COVID-19 dead in its tracks.

Bainimarama has said that a thorough and effective handwashing takes 20 seconds –– and with this simple act, you may very well be saving a life.

We all also need to break the habit of shaking hands, hugging and sharing takis and bilos. Instead, simply share a “bula” from a safe distance and limit in-person contact as much as possible.

This isn’t just about protecting yourself, this is about your responsibility to the well-being of the countless Fijians who you cross paths with every day.

He says do it to protect the elderly woman you walk by at the market, the man with a pre-existing heart condition who rides the bus with you, or the grandparent who you look after.

Bainimarama had said that our population is already vulnerable to coronavirus.

Those with preexisting conditions and NCDs –– like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer –– are at a higher risk of death by COVID-19.




University of Fiji cancels graduation ceremony due to COVID-19Par Rashika KumarThursday 19/03/2020

The University say certificates and transcript can also be posted upon the students requests.

The University of Fiji has cancelled its graduation ceremony that was scheduled to take place next Friday due to the advice from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education on mass gatherings in light of COVID-19.

The University says graduating students can collect their certificates and transcript next Friday from the Student Administration Office in Saweni, Lautoka from 9am to 4pm.

Students that wish to collect their certificate and transcript from Samabula Campus are requested to inform the Examination office two days prior to collection.

The University say certificates and transcript can also be posted upon the students requests.

University of Fiji says they prioritise the health and safety of students, staff and stakeholders.



Marist 7s postponed due to suspected case of COVID-19 in LautokaPar Vijay NarayanThursday 19/03/2020

The Fiji Bitter Marist 7s Tournament has been postponed to a later date after organizers received confirmation that there is a suspected case of COVID-19 in Lautoka.

Marist Rugby Club President, Lawrence Tikaram says they received the confirmation this morning and they have taken this step for the safety and welfare of the players and spectators.

We are currently trying to speak to Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete to get confirmation on the announcement made by the organizers of the Marist 7s.



Home self-isolation for Fijians returning from countries listed on restricted travel list – Dr WaqainabetePar Vijay NarayanWednesday 18/03/2020

Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete doing tests at Nadi International Airport [Photo: Ministry of Health & Medical Services – Fiji Facebook Page]

Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete has made it clear that Fijians returning to the country from Fiji’s restricted travel list countries have to self-isolate or self-quarantine at their homes for 14 days.

He says the restricted travel list countries can change at any time based on local transmission and other issues so Fijians travelling back need to stay updated on information as it can change every hour based on global developments.

Doctor Waqainabete confirms that Fijians returning from Mainland China, South Korea, Italy, Iran or Spain are required to undergo mandatory self-quarantine or self-isolation for 14 days upon their arrival to Fiji.

The people will be given health contacts after they leave the airport and if they develop any symptoms, the Ministry will immediately deal with them.

He says personal hygiene is important and everyone should wash their hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and water.

If people present themselves with symptoms similar to COVID-19, then they can be isolated at the health facility and be tested.

Members of our disciplined forces are also going through a contact tracing workshop on how to deal with contact tracing if we have a confirmed COVID-19 case in Fiji.

The Health Minister confirms that 5 tests were conducted yesterday and all have returned negative while 5 others are being tested today.

Doctor Waqainabete says the number of people to have tests will continue to increase as anyone with similar symptoms to COVID-19 will be tested.

There are no confirmed cases at the moment. Fiji’s borders have been closed to all foreign nationals who have been present in Mainland China, South Korea, Italy, Iran or Spain within 14 days of their intended travel to Fiji.

All Fijians travelling overseas should be aware, if a country they visit is added to Fiji’s restricted travel list while they are abroad, they will also be required to undergo mandatory self-quarantine for 14 days upon their return to Fiji.

Fijians are also strongly urged to refrain from any non-essential overseas travel.



Agriculture Response Package for COVID-19 will be implemented to ensure access to food is not affected – ReddyPar Dhanjay DeoThursday 19/03/2020

Minister for Agriculture. Dr Mahendra Reddy . [image: file]

Minister for Agriculture Dr. Mahendra Reddy says an Agriculture Response Package for COVID-19 will be implemented to ensure access to adequate food of acceptable quality and nutritional value is not affected.

The initiative will include the strengthening of the Ministry’s seed distribution system, whereby free seeds for short-term crops will be distributed at no cost to the farmers.

These seeds and planting materials will be distributed via all Agricultural Extension Offices from the 30th of this month and to access this assistance, applicants need only fill an Agriculture COVID Response form available at all Ministry of Agriculture offices nationwide.

Dr. Reddy says the Ministry will organize seeds and planting materials before they are delivered to distribution venues and the distribution process will happen simultaneously at all venues in the Western, Central, Northern, and Eastern Divisions over a period of six weeks.

He says they will scale up their Home Gardening Program whereby over the next three months, they will aim to reach all households in small towns around Fiji and in large municipalities, they will try to target at least 30 percent of the households.

Dr. Reddy says this will mean that they will increase the number of distribution venues at large towns and cities together with the number of packages from the previous 50 packages per venue to 150 packages per venue.

He says in addition, their new Farm Support Package will aim to boost production of short-term crops by providing seeds and planting materials to farmers around Fiji.

Dr. Reddy says specifically, the distribution will be limited to quarter acre per crop whereby every farmer will be assisted with one short-term crop.

The targeted vegetables and crops are Taro, Cassava, Rice, Kumala, Duruka, Eggplant, Chillies, Okra, Tomatoes, Maize, Bitter Gourd, Pidgeon Pea, and Cowpea.

The Agriculture Minister says COVID-19 is a reminder of the need to be food secure.

Minister Reddy also made a special call to the tourism sector and chefs, in particular, to use local produce in light of COVID-19 to promote locally grown fruits and vegetables.

He says it’s time to put our local dishes which are prepared using local produce on the menu and this will reduce our reliance on imported foods.



French Ambassador to Fiji praises Fiji’s response to battle COVID-19Par Naveel KrishantWednesday 18/03/2020

French Ambassador to Fiji Jean-Francois Fitou

French Ambassador to Fiji, Jean-Francois Fitou has praised Fiji’s response to battle COVID-19.

Fitou says Fiji has taken the right measures at the right time and has also praised Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

He says that the Fijians are well protected adding that other countries like France are less fortunate.

The Ambassador says it is a privilege for people living in Fiji.

France has around 8000 cases of COVID-19, 200 deaths due to the virus and 700 people are in ICU.

Meanwhile, France has suspended visa applications to France and other French Territories until further notice.

Fitou says the French TTService will no longer accept any application whether it is tourist, diplomatic or long stay visa.

Fitou says the exceptions can be made for very specific cases, only at the embassy in which case applicants will have to to contact directly.

He adds all appointments will be closed until further notice and he is asking all the applicants who have already booked an appointment to report their visa applications to a later date.

Fitou says French nationals and people who have permit to live in France are allowed to return to France adding they will have to self-isolate.

He further says that Fijians in France including rugby players do not have COVID-19.



Community isolation an option – Dr TudravuPar Semi TuragaWednesday 18/03/2020

Chief medical officer Dr Jemesa Tudravu explains the effects of coronavirus to the people of Galoa [Photo: Ministry of Health & Medical Services – Fiji Facebook Page]

Community isolation will be considered by the Health Ministry if there is no more space available in hospitals during an outbreak of COVID-19 in Fiji.

Speaking at a retreat for Senior Pastors of the Methodist Church of Fiji and Rotuma, Fiji’s Chief Medical Adviser Jemesa Tudravu says it has been seen in countries where there have been outbreaks that hospitals have been unable to cater for the number of people infected.

He says this means that there will be people that will be sent back home to self-isolate because hospitals will only take in those with serious cases.

Doctor Tudravu says they are preparing a checklist that will advise people who will be cared for at home on what steps they will have to do.

He says this is being prepared in all languages.

He says community isolation will happen if hospitals are full and then those that are infected come from villagers across the country.

Doctor Tudravu says community isolation will protect the elderly who are most vulnerable to COVID-19.



TISI Sangam cancels 2020 Annual TISI Sangam Convention due to COVID-19Par Rashika KumarWednesday 18/03/2020

[Photo:Howell Road Sangam Temple]

The TISI Sangam has cancelled the 2020 Annual TISI Sangam Convention due to COVID-19.

Sangam Secretary-General Damend Gounder says the decision was made after extensive consultations with its members, District Presidents and the Council of Management members.

He says the 2020 Annual Sangam Convention was scheduled to be held over the Easter weekend in Suva and would have attracted some 10,000 Sangam members and the public on a daily basis.

Gounder says about 1500 overseas delegates had confirmed their participation in this 4-day event.

The Secretary-General also says the world is in a pandemic state due to the Coronavirus outbreak and countries, including Fiji have taken very positive and preventive measures to contain the spread.

He adds that the TISI Sangam Executives will also be meeting this weekend to discuss various ways to engage and work with the government to assist in the containment of the virus and safe health of the people.



LDS suspends all public worship services in Fiji and around the world due to COVID-19Par Iva DanfordWednesday 18/03/2020

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has suspended all public worship services which includes sacrament meetings, branch, ward and stake activities in Fiji and around the world because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Fiji Church Public Affairs Director, Sulueti Kama says this applies to all of their 56 units in Fiji and all their 18,000 church members.

Kama says they have been told to have their own worship service at home and they will be informed when the suspension will be lifted.

She adds they have also started the process of bringing back Fijians that were on church missions in countries that have COVID-19 cases.

The LDS Church in Fiji has Units in Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Kadavu, Beqa, Tavenuni, Levuka and Rotuma.

LDS Church say they continue to monitor the changing conditions related to COVID-19 throughout the world.



RBF reduces overnight policy rate from 0.50% to 0.25%Par Vijay NarayanWednesday 18/03/2020

The Governor and Chairman of the Board, Ariff Ali

The Reserve Bank of Fiji Board has reduced its overnight policy rate or lending rate to 0.25% from 0.50% to the commercial banks following the RBF’s assessment of the global effects of the recent coronavirus outbreak and its implications on Fiji’s GDP growth and the RBF’s twin monetary policy objectives.

The overnight policy rate is the interest rate at which RBF lends immediately available funds or balances within the central bank, to the commercial banks overnight.

The Governor and Chairman of the Board, Ariff Ali noted that in light of the negative impact of COVID-19 on global travel and trade, as well as deteriorating consumer and business confidence in recent weeks, the reduction in the overnight policy rate or lending is appropriate and should provide the necessary stimulus to the domestic economy.

Ali noted that restrictions on travel within and across borders have already taken a toll on global output as market sentiments have continued to deteriorate amid the latest monetary easing by major central banks in response to the still very fluid developments around COVID-19.

The RBF Governor says domestically, partial indicators for consumption and investment point to sustained softness in aggregate demand.

This means it will be at reduced levels.

Ali also says credit growth continued to decelerate, as labour market recruitment intentions contracted in the first two months of the year.

The RBF Governor says the negative impact of the coronavirus has already been felt in the tourism industry, with cancelled travel and hotel bookings as well as reduced flights.

Ali says given the industry’s major and deep linkages with the rest of the economy, flow-through effects will also affect the key wholesale and retail trade, construction, transport and manufacturing sectors, including Government revenue.

In the RBF’s baseline scenario, the domestic economy is now expected to contract in 2020 against a 1.7% growth earlier projected.

The magnitude of the contraction in the Fijian economy will depend on how long the pandemic persists.

The RBF says nevertheless, several factors should help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the domestic economy.

Ali says excess bank liquidity remains adequate, totalling $669 million as at 17th March 2020.

The Governor says Fiji’s financial system is also assessed to be sound, underpinned by solid capitalisation and liquidity ratios.

He says inflation in February came out at a historic low of -3.0 percent due to annually lower prices for Yaqona, vegetables & fruits and kerosene.

Foreign reserves are also adequate at $2.264 billion as at today, equivalent to 5.8 months of retained imports of goods and services cover.

Against this backdrop, RBF says a reduction in the overnight policy rate will help stimulate demand by reducing the cost of borrowing and support much-needed consumption and investment.

The interest rate at which commercial banks may borrow from the RBF under the Repurchase Facility will now be 0.50 percent compared to 1.00 percent previously.

The reduction in the Bank’s overnight policy rate is effective from today.



Travel restrictions widen to cover foreign nationals who have been present in SpainPar Naveel KrishantWednesday 18/03/2020

Nadi Airport, International Depatrues [image: rnz]

Fiji has widened its existing travel restrictions to cover all foreign nationals who have been present in Spain within 14 days of their intended travel to Fiji.

From today, Fiji’s borders will be closed to all foreign nationals who have been present in mainland China, South Korea, Italy, Iran or Spain within 14 days of their intended travel to Fiji.

The Permanent Secretary for Immigration, Yogesh Karan says  Fijians returning from mainland China, South Korea, Italy, Iran or Spain are required to undergo mandatory self-quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival to Fiji.

Karan says all Fijians travelling overseas should be aware, if a country they visit is added to Fiji’s restricted travel list while they are abroad, they will also be required to undergo mandatory self-quarantine for 14 days upon their return to Fiji.

He says Fijians are also strongly urged to refrain from any non-essential overseas travel.

He adds due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, new countries may be added to Fiji’s restricted travel list at any time.

The Permanent Secretary adds all international air passengers will continue to be checked with handheld temperature scanners prior to entering the country, and their travel history and health status will be screened by border agents.

Karan say as announced by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, preparations are underway to introduce thermal scanners at our international airports.

He adds cruise ships are not permitted to berth anywhere in Fiji,  Government ministers, permanent secretaries, civil servants and statutory body staff members are not permitted to travel overseas barring exceptionally critical circumstances.

He says international events have been banned and overseas guests are not permitted to participate in local events.

Karan further says in the interest of preventing an outbreak of COVID-19 in Fiji, it is vital that all Fijians heed the call from the Prime Minister to wash their hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water and limit person-to-person contact as much as possible.



Fijians may be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to Fiji from overseas – Dr. WaqainabetePar Vijay NarayanTuesday 17/03/2020

Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete [image: File]

Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says Fijians may be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to Fiji from overseas, even if they are not displaying symptoms of COVID-19.

Doctor Waqainabete says self isolation is to ensure that the person is in self isolation at home and will not become a threat to family members and others around them.

He stresses that this is a precautionary measure to be taken at the person’s home and people will be advised on the Health Ministry’s contact numbers if they do develop symptoms after leaving the airport.

There is another scenario.

Doctor Waqainabete says if any returning Fijian citizen shows symptoms similar to those of COVID-19 at the airport, they will be isolated at an allocated health isolation facility and tested for COVID-19.

The Health Minister says they 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.

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says as we monitor the situation, more isolation units will be established as the need arises in accordance with their expansion plan.

These measures will all be subject to review as the global situation evolves.

The government is also highly discouraging all Fijians from travelling overseas.

Fiji remains coronavirus-free.

Bainimarama confirms that if and when we see 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 single most important thing anyone can do is to wash your hands with soap and water on a regular basis. The combination of soap and water kills COVID-19 dead in its tracks.

Bainimarama says a thorough and effective handwashing takes 20 seconds and with this simple act, you may very well be saving a life.

He also we will also need to break the habit of shaking hands, hugging and sharing takis and bilos. Instead, simply share a “bula” from a safe distance and limit in-person contact as much as possible.



USP cancels graduation ceremony due to Covid-19Par Naveel KrishantTuesday 17/03/2020

The University of the South Pacific has announced that the graduation ceremonies that was scheduled for this week has been cancelled due to COVID-19.

The medal and prizes ceremony was scheduled for today while the  Graduation ceremonies were scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

USP says the medals and prizes will be awarded to recipients during the September Graduation while students may collect their graduation certificates and transcripts from the Vodafone Arena on Thursday and Friday.

Faculty of Arts, Law and Education, Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment and Pacific Technical And Further Education graduates can collect their certificates on Thursday while Faculty of Business and Economics graduates can collect their certificates on Friday.



No confirmed COVID-19 cases in Fiji – Dr WaqainabetePar Iva DanfordMonday 16/03/2020

Health Minister Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete

Health Minister Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete has confirmed that there are no confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in Fiji.

He says all 27 tests that have been conducted for COVID-19 have returned negative.

Dr. Waqainabete says they will continue to do more tests.

The Health Ministry says this is regarding reports of a Rwandan national being confirmed as a case of COVID-19 in Rwanda after arriving in Rwanda on March 8th from Fiji via the USA and Qatar.

The Health Ministry says they have confirmed with the World Health Organisation that this person is the close contact of another confirmed case in Rwanda and he contracted COVID-19 from this other case after he had arrived in Rwanda and did not get COVID-19 in Fiji.

They say there is no threat to Fiji from this case.

The Health Ministry is strongly urging the public to not share rumours and misinformation adding just as they did during the measles outbreak the Ministry will inform the public as soon as possible once they have a confirmed case of COVID-19.



Business community to come together and discuss what sort of help they will require from governmentPar Dhanjay DeoMonday 16/03/2020

The business community will come together today and discuss what sort of assistance and government intervention they will require to survive in the coming months.

Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Premila Kumar has already stated that the government has to align its supplementary budget towards tackling the adverse impacts of COVID-19.

Following the discussions today, the Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry will prepare submissions which will be given to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism.

Some Government Ministers will also be part of this forum and will hear first hand the challenges and difficulties faced by businesses, particularly small businesses.

The President of the Fiji Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Nur Bano Ali says business will absolutely slowdown as supply chains will be affected.

Dr. Ali says they will come up with targeted policy initiatives that can be taken on board by government to help businesses.

She says small businesses are most affected during this kind of period as they are vulnerable and do not have lots of reserves to keep them alive.

The business forum will be held today at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva.

Attorney General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum will present a Supplementary Budget to parliament at 7.30pm next Thursday.



COVID-19 : PM announces ban on cruise ships and international events from todayPar Semi TuragaSunday 15/03/2020

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama [Photo:PM Frank Bainimarama]

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has announced that from today, cruise ships will be banned from berthing anywhere in Fiji, international events will not be allowed in Fiji and local events will be closed to all guests coming in from overseas.

While announcing new measures to battle COVID-19 or Coronavirus, Bainimarama says they also highly discourage all Fijians from travelling overseas.

He says if people do 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.

Bainimarama adds this, of course, is already mandated for Fijians arriving home from nations on Fiji’s restricted travel list.

The Prime Minister says Ministers, civil servants, Permanent Secretaries and staff of statutory bodies will be restricted from travelling overseas barring exceptionally critical circumstances.

Bainimarama further says the travel restrictions on Italy, Iran, South Korea and mainland China remain in full effect, as do the stringent screening measures at international airports.

He says they plan to install thermal scanners at our international airports.

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

He has 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.

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

He adds Fiji does not have a confirmed case of COVID-19.



COVID-19 global outbreak will have some impact on our performance – FNPFPar Semi TuragaSunday 15/03/2020

FNPF Chief Executive Officer, Jaoji Koroi

The Fiji National Provident Fund says the COVID-19 global outbreak will have some impact on its performance but it’s too early to put that into exact numbers as the scenarios are still evolving.

FNPF Chief Executive Officer, Jaoji Koroi emphasizes that FNPF is a long term investor and is liaising closely with its subsidiaries and other relevant Government agencies and is also monitoring the international situation.

Koroi says with a focus on prevention and business continuity, the Fiji National Provident Fund will be implementing new processes in response to the threat of COVID-19.

He says they will activate response plans that will ensure that it continues to provide critical services to its members and stakeholders.

Koroi adds that effective immediately, Renewal Certificates due for March and April, will not be required to be submitted for pension payments.

This means that Pensioners do not need to go to FNPF to fill in their renewal certificates from the 16th of March until the 28th of April.

Koro says the World Health Organisation has identified older adults as one of the high-risk groups and given that this includes pensioners, they have decided to waive this process to minimise physical contact.

FNPF will also be conducting simulation tests next week for the online submission and offsite processing of funeral applications.

Koroi says FNPF members submitting applications for funeral assistance on Thursday 19th March, will need to submit online so they can test the end-to-end process, from the submission of the application, processing, and payment.

He says they apologise in advance for any delayed service however it is critical that the Fund tests all these processes to ensure FNPF is ready to operate under any adverse circumstances.

Koroi stressed that like other organisations and countries, the Fund is going through a business cycle and will address these challenges accordingly.

FNPF is encouraging members to log in to the Fund’s digital platforms to enable them to access and monitor their accounts minimising the need to visit FNPF offices.



Consumer confidence in travel is currently really low – Tourism FijiPar Semi TuragaSaturday 14/03/2020

Tourism Fiji says consumer confidence in travel is currently really low and for that reason, they are focused on removing this uncertainty for those considering a holiday to Fiji.

It says to do this the national carrier, Fiji Airways, along with their hotel partners and ground operators are offering flexible and relaxed booking policies, removing change fees to restore confidence in travel to Fiji.

Tourism Fiji says one event they have received a lot of enquiries about is understandably the Fijian Tourism Expo.

It says it is a signature trade event for Fiji and they are optimistic they can still deliver a great event to bring together buyers and sellers at this important time.

They are monitoring the situation closely and will be giving regular updates in the lead-up to the event.

With COVID-19, Tourism Fiji says the situation changes on a daily basis and they continue to navigate a path through this global disruption the best they can.

It says their strategies are changing alongside the situation.

Tourism Fiji says their regular consultations with the Ministry of Industry Trade and Tourism, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, SOFTA, Fiji Airways and FHTA have been invaluable for this.



Head of WHO says Europe is now the epicentre of the global coronavirus pandemicPar Semi TuragaSaturday 14/03/2020

Patients lie one metre apart in a huge building outside the Spedali Civili hospital in northern Italy [Photo:BBC]

The Head of the World Health Organisation says Europe is now the « epicentre » of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to use aggressive measures, community mobilisation and social distancing to save lives.

His comments came as several European countries reported steep rises in infections and deaths.

Italy has recorded its highest daily toll yet.

There were 250 deaths recorded over the past 24 hours, taking the total to 1,266, with 17,660 infections overall.

111250802-europemapcircles-13mar-v2-nc

BBC News reports Spain, the worst-affected European country after Italy, reported a 50% jump in fatalities to 120 on Friday. Infections increased to 4,231.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says a state of alert will come into effect there today for two weeks.

[[Source:BBC]



8 Fijians who had symptoms similar to COVID-19 have all tested negativePar Vijay NarayanThursday 12/03/2020

Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete

8 returning Fijians from overseas who had symptoms similar to COVID19 have all tested negative for the virus.

Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says the tests were conducted at the state of the art Fiji Centre for Disease Control in Tamavua.

Doctor Waqainabete confirms that there are no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Fiji at the moment.

The Health Ministry’s plan to deal with COVID-19 is to take all preventative measures, act definitively and swiftly, contain and then isolate as quickly as possible.

Coronavirus-test

Patients who go with flu-like symptoms, cough and respiratory problems are already being isolated to a separate outpatients room at all public hospitals.

Doctor Waqainabete says they have a clear process to determine if the person needs to be tested, and they then decide to contain and isolate the person.

The Health Minister also confirms that all immediate contacts of the person will also be monitored and self-isolation at their homes will also be an option.

He stresses that containment and isolation are absolutely necessary. Banning mass gatherings is also part of the option if the number of cases becomes an issue.

Coronavirus-test-2-sm

Although there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Fiji, Doctor Waqainabete is calling on people to start taking the necessary precautions.

He says personal hygiene is very important as you have to keep washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your face especially your mouth, nose and eyes.

Doctor Waqainabete says as the symptoms of coronavirus are very similar to many other respiratory illnesses, it is expected that with time the Ministry will investigate more persons with relevant travel history and symptoms related to coronavirus.

He stresses that although there are no confirmed cases in Fiji, people should also start taking precautions and stop shaking hands with people.

You are also advised not to share yaqona bilos and taki glasses.



FCCC warns traders not to increase prices of certain items during COVID-19 global outbreakPar Iva DanfordFriday 13/03/2020

FCCC Chief executive Officer Joel Abraham

The Fijian Competition and Consumer Commission has heard that certain businesses locally are starting to overcharge the public on goods and services and is taking advantage of the public’s fears during the COVID-19 global outbreak.

FCCC Chief Executive Officer Joel Abraham says they want to let traders and businesses know that they will not tolerate any attempts at price gouging.

Abraham says they have seen that overseas businesses have increased the price of items like face masks and hand sanitisers by large amounts after the announcement of the COVID-19 global outbreak.

He says price gouging is the practice of raising prices on certain types of goods and services to an unfair level, especially during a state of emergency.

Abraham says they have heard that certain businesses locally are starting to do this and they want to make it very clear that this is unacceptable.

He says a few weeks ago a trader was fined $100,000 and ordered to pay compensation to aggrieved consumers, this should be an example to unethical businesses that such bad behavior will not be tolerated and they will continue to crack down hard on such cases.

The CEO says they will be working hard to ensure that unscrupulous traders do not undertake such tactics in an attempt to cheat hardworking Fijians.



COVID-19 Budget: AG says key expenditures must be made to ensure protection of Fijian way of lifePar Semi TuragaFriday 13/03/2020

Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum [Photo:Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum]

Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says we cannot risk waiting until the close of the financial year to re-evaluate our spending priorities and take stock of our revenue streams.

Sayed-Khaiyum says there are key expenditures that must be made to ensure the protection and continuation of the Fijian way of life, that includes our people’s health, their jobs, their businesses and their food security.

He adds it is clear the time to act is now, that is why government will be announcing a new COVID-19 Response Budget on 26 March, 2020 at 7.30pm.

Sayed-Khaiyum says the economy remains under prudent and responsible management and the government will not hesitate to make tough decisions with a view towards long-term economic prospects.

He says rest assured, government will be leveraging every channel of growth at its disposal to keep the economy prosperous, keep Fijians employed, and keep businesses afloat, all while putting people’s well being first.

He says the Ministry of Economy will be accepting electronic submissions over e-mail on BudgetConsultation@economy.gov.fj

The Supplementary Budget debate will take place from Monday, 6th April to Thursday, 9th April 2020.

The Parliamentary Business scheduled for 16th to 20th March 2020 has been deferred to the Parliament sitting scheduled for 27th April to 1st May 2020.



Pacific’s 1st case of COVID-19 confirmed in French PolynesiaPar Semi TuragaFriday 13/03/2020

French Polynesia president Edouard Fritch [L] confirms the Pacific region’s first case of Covid-19 at a news conference in Tahiti on Thursday. [Photo: Supplied / President of French Polynesia]

The Pacific’s first case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in French Polynesia.

The carrier was one of French Polynesia’s members of the French National Assembly, Maina Sage, who returned from Paris over the weekend.

Maine-Sage-sm
Maina Sage [Photo: Tahoeraa Huiraatira party]

Sage had a medical check-up before returning to Tahiti last weekend but showed no sign of illness.

Amid concern over the spread of the virus, she then arranged for another test which came back positive.

[[Source:RadioNZ]



People should not get alarmed or panic when they see full medical suited people – Dr. WaqainabetePar Vijay NarayanThursday 12/03/2020

Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete

Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says people should not get alarmed or panic when they see full medical suited people at hospitals and even in ambulances.

Doctor Waqainabete says they are running their operations 24/7 at all health facilities and are also carrying out full practices in case there is a confirmed COVID-19 case in the near future.

He says he does not want hiccups and they know it is not a matter of if but when Fiji has a confirmed case of COVID-19.

8 returning Fijians from overseas who had symptoms similar to COVID19 have all tested negative for the virus.

Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says the tests were conducted at the state of the art Fiji Centre for Disease Control in Tamavua.

He confirms that there are no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID 19 in Fiji at the moment.

The Health Ministry’s plan to deal with COVID-19 is to take all preventative measures, act definitively and swiftly, contain and then isolate as quickly as possible.

Patients who go with flu like symptoms, cough and respiratory problems are already being isolated to a separate outpatients room at all public hospitals.

Doctor Waqainabete says they have a clear process to determine if the person needs to be tested, and they then decide to contain and isolate the person.

The Health Minister also confirms that all immediate contacts of the person will also be monitored and self isolation at their homes will also be an option.

He stresses that containment and isolation is absolutely necessary. Banning mass gatherings is also part of the option if the number of cases become an issue.

Although there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Fiji, Doctor Waqainabete is calling on people to start taking the necessary precautions.

He says personal hygiene is very important as you have to keep washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your face especially your mouth, nose and eyes.

Doctor Waqainabete says as the symptoms of coronavirus are very similar to many other respiratory illnesses, it is expected that with time the Ministry will investigate more persons with relevant travel history and symptoms related to coronavirus.

He stresses that although there are no confirmed cases in Fiji, people should also start taking precautions and stop shaking hands with people.

You are also advised not to share yaqona bilos and taki glasses.



RFMF announces COVID-19 precautions for families and friends of returning personnel from UN mission in IraqPar Naveel KrishantThursday 12/03/2020

RFMF personnel during a past parade [image: RFMF/Facebook]

The Republic of Fiji Military Forces has announced precautions due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) to ensure the health and well-being of families, friends and the service personnel returning from United Nation Assistance Mission in Iraq.

In an advisory, they say all family members will not meet/greet the soldiers off the aircraft or at the Nadi Airport Arrivals.

Instead, all family members and friends intending to welcome troops who are inbound from the Mission are to make their way to the Delta Company Camp, CAAF Compound, Nadi by 5pm tomorrow.

The RFMF says here they will be briefed on all processes and procedures regarding the arrival of the troops and follow on measures that should be followed after service personnel and their family members are home.

They add this measure is being taken to minimize disruption to the Nadi Airport Operations and to ensure the safety, security and well-being of all during the planned arrival of troops at 6pm tomorrow.



WHO labels Covid-19 a pandemicPar Semi TuragaThursday 12/03/2020

The coronavirus outbreak has been labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

A pandemic is a disease that is spreading in multiple countries around the world at the same time.

The Head of the World Health Organisation Doctor Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the number of cases outside China had increased 13-fold over the past two weeks.

He said he was « deeply concerned » by « alarming levels of inaction » over the virus.

He said several countries have demonstrated that this virus can be suppressed and controlled.

Ghebreyesus said governments had to strike a fine balance between protecting health, minimising disruption and respecting human rights.



Plan for COVID-19 is to act definitively and swiftly, contain and then isolate as quickly as possible – Dr. WaqainabetePar Vijay Narayan, Naveel KrishantWednesday 11/03/2020

The Health Ministry’s plan to deal with COVID-19 is to take all preventative measures, act definitively and swiftly, contain and then isolate as quickly as possible.

Following the historic announcement today that Fiji can now test for COVID-19 at the Fiji Centre for Disease Control in Tamavua, Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete has told Fijivillage that people that have clear symptoms of COVID-19 will be tested and the result will be available in 6 hours.

He says this is a big step forward as the tests were previously being sent to Melbourne and one result was costing $4,000.

Doctor Waqainabete says the Fiji Centre for Disease Control aspires for excellence, and there has been a lot of investment from the government. He also says that they have a high caliber of staff and lab scientists based at the centre.

Patients who go with flu-like symptoms, cough and respiratory problems are already being isolated to a separate outpatient room at all public hospitals.

Doctor Waqainabete says they have a clear process to determine if the person needs to be tested, and they then decide to contain and isolate the person.

The Health Minister also confirms that all immediate contacts of the person will also be monitored and self-isolation at their homes will also be an option.

He stresses that containment and isolation is absolutely necessary. Banning mass gatherings is also part of the option if the number of cases become an issue.

Although there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Fiji, Doctor Waqainabete is calling on people to start taking the necessary precautions.

He says personal hygiene is very important as you have to keep washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your face especially your mouth, nose and eyes.

Doctor Waqainabete says as the symptoms of coronavirus are very similar to many other respiratory illnesses, it is expected that with time the Ministry will investigate more persons with relevant travel history and symptoms related to coronavirus.

He stresses that although there are no confirmed cases in Fiji, people should also start taking precautions and stop shaking hands with people.

When asked on a lot of people having grog sessions in the country, people mixing the grog and sharing one bilo, Doctor Waqainabete says people should take the precautionary measures and be smart about things.

How can you prevent yourself from getting coronavirus and other diseases?

•Frequently clean hands soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub

•Avoid touching your face – especially your mouth, nose, and eyes

•When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands

•Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough – stay at least 1 metre away

•Avoid travel to mainland China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea



PM pays tribute to health staff for their preparatory efforts so far for Covid-19Par Naveel KrishantWednesday 11/03/2020

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has paid tribute to the health staff for their impressive and professional handling of the preparatory efforts so far for Covid-19 or Coronavirus.

While opening the Molecular Laboratory and the Fiji Centre for Diseases Control in Tamavua this morning, Bainimarama says the health staff do not get anywhere near enough credit for the hours – including sleepless nights – and expertise, they have given the nation-wide COVID-19 response effort.

He says the facts supporting their good work do not justify the flames of frenzy they have seen stoked by the politicians who have been trying to discredit them and their life-saving efforts to protect fellow Fijians

The Prime Minister says his message to the health professional is: keep up the good job, and stay diligent.

He adds they will empower them to do what must be done to keep our people safe.

Bainimarama says he knows they face a great deal of questions and concerns from their friends and members of their community – always refer them to the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services for information, as these are the only reliable sources for any updates related to COVID-19.



Due to Covid-19 we face major financial disaster – Faiz KhanPar Vijay NarayanTuesday 10/03/2020

Following the Airports Council International’s official announcement that the COVID-19 outbreak could have a revenue loss of US$3 billion for airports in the Asia Pacific region, Fiji Airports CEO Faiz Khan has said that due to the COVID-19 we face major financial disaster.

Khan says capital infrastructure projects planned in the future will be deferred but those already under contractual engagements have to go ahead.

He says this makes the situation of the airports highly challenging, along with the entire aviation and tourism industry.

Khan says almost all costs at the airports are fixed costs.

He says every dollar lost in revenue is lost from the bottom line and cash flow.

Khan says in the meantime fixed costs and existing commitments cannot be reduced.

The Airports Council International (ACI) Asia-Pacific has warned the prolonged duration of the COVID-19 outbreak will significantly set back the region’s airports from previously forecasted growth prospects.

World Airport Traffic Forecasts 2019–2040 predicts US$12.4 billion revenue for the first quarter in the Asia-Pacific region in the « business as usual » scenario. The impact of COVID-19 is projected to have a revenue loss of US$3 billion.

The airport association urges regulators and governments to implement well-defined adjustments and relief measures tailored to suit local level contexts.

According to ACI World estimates, Asia-Pacific is suffering the highest impact, with passenger traffic volumes down -24% for the first quarter of 2020, compared to forecasted traffic levels without COVID-19.

Within the Asia-Pacific region, mainland China, Hong Kong SAR and the Republic of Korea remain at the centre of the effects with sizable losses in traffic volumes.

Meanwhile, there is a sharp spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in several countries in the Middle East, expecting to significantly impact traffic downwards by -4.2%, as travellers and airlines adjust their plans and seat offers in the coming days and weeks.

Against this gloomy background of sharp declines in traffic and passenger throughput, airports’ aeronautical revenues and non-aeronautical revenues are rendering similar declines.

The shortfall in the number of passengers and the cancellation of flights leads to reduced revenues from airport charges such as landing and parking charges paid by airlines, and passenger service and security charges paid by passengers.

While aeronautical revenues are under pressure, the cost base for airport operations remains unchanged as airports can neither close nor relocate their terminals during the outbreak.

“Unlike airlines, who can choose to cancel flights or relocate their aircraft to other markets to reduce operating costs, airport operators manage immovable assets that cannot be closed down. They are faced with immediate cash flow pressures with limited ability to reduce fixed costs and few resources to fund capacity expansion efforts for longer-term future growth,” said Stefano Baronci,

Director General of ACI Asia-Pacific. “For privately-held airports, the situation is even worse as they do not benefit from relief measure but are obliged to continue paying concession fees to governments.”



Fiji now able to test for COVID-19 at Fiji Centre for Disease Control in TamavuaPar Vijay NarayanWednesday 11/03/2020

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Fiji will now be able to test for COVID-19 at the Fiji Centre for Disease Control in Tamavua.

Fiji is the first country in the South Pacific to do the test.

While making the announcement this morning, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama says Fiji is working with urgency to protect our people.

He says the waiting time for results will between 6 to 8 hours and they can test 20 samples at one time.

He says when dealing with the disease that spreads as quickly as Covid-19, every hour saved is critical.

Bainimarama says the road to combating the Covid-19 does not stop here.

He says we are blessed to have been spared so far but with majority of the countries reporting cases, we need to prepare as a matter of when and not if we will see the first case in Fiji.

Bainimarama has urged Fijians to act in utmost precaution and to practice good hygiene to stop the spread of the virus.

The Prime Minister says every time a case of the suspected virus has risen it has been tested and all test results till date have returned negative.

Bainimarama says Fiji’s borders remain closed to all foreign nationals who have been present in mainland China, Italy, Iran and South Korea within 14 days of their intended travel to Fiji.

The Prime Minister says they are constantly reviewing World Health Organization’s latest case numbers and will not hesitate to introduce new and more stringent restrictions when necessary.

He also paid tribute to the Health Workers for their tireless efforts.



If Fiji had a confirmed case of COVID-19 now we are ready to deal with it – Dr WaqainabetePar Semi Turaga, Vijay NarayanTuesday 10/03/2020

Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete [Image: Fijian Government]

Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says if Fiji had a confirmed case of COVID-19 now they are ready to deal with it as their preparation level has been heightened from the start.

Waqainabete says so far they have mobilised resources which includes isolation units in every hospital in the country and also isolation facilities in every division.

He says they are making sure that these units and facilities will deal with intensive cases that have been seen in other countries where there have been infections.

Waqainabete adds that there is also a strong focus on the training of health staff as every day they are learning something new about COVID-19.

Waqainabete says they have also made sure in their preparation plan that medicines and personal protective equipment are available and ready as much as possible.

Waqainabete-strategic-plan-sm

The Health Minister says they also make sure that they are aware of what other countries have done and found to have halted the spread of the disease.

Waqainabete says some countries have gone as far as isolating cities.

He says God forbid if Fiji has a case, they may have to stop mass gatherings.

World Expert Says Countries Should Be Ready And The Elderly At Risk

As the world tries to deal with the rising number of cases of COVID-19, one of the world’s experts who led the fight against the SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Virus and Dean of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong, Professor Gabriel Leung says health systems in countries need to be ready as COVID-19 spreads far more rapidly and the numbers can be exponential.

Professor-Gabriel-Leung-sm
Professor Gabriel Leung

He also says the elderly aged more than 65 years are 20 times more likely to die from COVID-19 or the coronavirus.

Leung has told 60 Minutes Australia that about 40 to 60% of the world’s population could be affected by the virus and more than 45 million people could die around the world if proper controls are not put in place.

He says there is an emergency and rigorous infection control is needed.

Experts in Australia say they are already at the highest alert level.

Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete is calling on people to start taking the necessary precautions.

He says personal hygiene is very important as you have to keep washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your face especially your mouth, nose and eyes.

The Health Minister says isolation and containment is also very important as they had done during the measles campaign in Fiji.

Doctor Waqainabete says as the symptoms of coronavirus are very similar to many other respiratory illnesses, it is expected that with time the Ministry will investigate more persons with relevant travel history and symptoms related to coronavirus.

He stresses that although there are no confirmed cases in Fiji, people should also start taking precautions and stop shaking hands with people.

When asked on a lot of people having grog sessions in the country, people mixing the grog and sharing one bilo, Doctor Waqainabete says people should take the precautionary measures and be smart about things.

Qantas slashes services amid coronavirus travel downturn

Qantas says it will be reducing capacity by almost a quarter for the next six months due to fears over COVID-19.

ABC News reports eight of the airline’s A380s will be grounded and two are already undergoing scheduled maintenance which leaves only two in service.

Qantas services to London will also be re-routed, flying via Perth instead of Singapore.

In a statement, the airline said the latest cuts follow the spread of the coronavirus into Europe and North America over the past fortnight, as well as its continued spread through Asia.

Qantas said the biggest reductions would be made to Asian routes, where travel demand is down 30 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Services to the US, UK and New Zealand will also decrease.

Jetstar will make significant cuts to its international network by suspending flights to Bangkok and reducing flights to Vietnam and Japan by almost half.

Both Qantas and Jetstar’s domestic service reductions will be increased from 3 per cent to 5 per cent.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said the past fortnight had seen a « sharp drop » in international bookings and warned there may be a need to make further cuts as the situation develops.

In addition to the service cuts, the Qantas chairman will take no fees and the Group CEO will take no salary for the remainder of the financial year.

The board will take a 30 per cent reduction in fees as will the executive management, and annual management bonuses have been set to zero.

Joyce said Qantas wanted to avoid job losses and asked staff to take paid leave where possible or consider unpaid leave as shifts diminish.

Qantas and Jetstar will waive change fees for new international bookings made from today until the end of March.

Almost 100 Australians have now tested positive for coronavirus, around half of them in NSW.



Kumar to meet with industry reps and discuss solutions if the economy takes a hit due to COVID-19Par Semi TuragaTuesday 10/03/2020

Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Premila Kumar says she will be talking to different industry groups this week and have discussions about what government can do for them if the Fijian economy is seriously affected by the COVID-19 outbreak in countries around the world.

Speaking at the Fiji Australia Business Council – Speed Networking Dinner, Kumar says she will be meeting with Industry representatives this Thursday.

Kumar says she personally feels that our economy will be affected.



Travel restrictions due to COVID-19 will put significant stress on tourism and other support activities in Fiji – FlemingPar Rashika KumarTuesday 10/03/2020

Bank South Pacific Group CEO Robin Fleming

Bank South Pacific Group CEO Robin Fleming says if further travel restrictions are placed due to COVID-19, it is going to put significant stress on tourism and other support activities in Fiji.

He says from Fiji’s perspective, it is not the immediate impact  on the well being and lives of individuals who are affected, but it is going to be on the economic impact on Fiji and countries which are very much dependent on tourism.

Fleming says the tourism industry must consider how it encourages people to come to Fiji as there have been no cases presented in Fiji and it must promote Fiji as an environment which has resilience and has no particular encounter with COVID-19.

The Group CEO says the construction industry and certain sections of the communication industry have already felt the impact because of their source of supply.



Catholic Church of Fiji announces precautionary measures against Covid-19Par Naveel KrishantMonday 09/03/2020

Archbishop Peter Loy Chong

The Catholic Church of Fiji has announced precautionary measures against Covid-19 ( Coronavirus).

In an advisory, Archbishop Peter Loy Chong says all Holy Water will be removed from fonts in Churches and all Holy Communion will be offered only through the sacred bread.

He says receiving the precious blood will be withheld.

Archbishop Chong says all ministers of communion should use alcohol-based hand gels (sanitizers) before distributing communion and wash hands with soap after distribution.

He says shaking hands as a sign of peace during the Mass can be replaced by a respectful bow or acknowledgement.

The Archbishop adds this is a precautionary method and a pro-active step taken within the Archdiocese of Suva and he suggests that this be adopted by all congregations in the Archdiocese of Suva.

He says they recognise that the risk of contracting COVID-19 in Fiji is very low but let us not be complacent.

Archbishop Chong further says at all times let us bear in mind the church’s call to ensure the protection of the most vulnerable – our children, the elderly, our mothers and the sick in the community.

He adds once the international threat of the COVID-19 ends, they can, as a faith family, return to the usual practices of using Holy Water, the chalice of Christ’s most holy blood and the shaking of hands.

He also says the measures were adapted from advice given by the Australian Council of Catholic Bishops to parishes throughout Australia which already has cases of COVID-19.



All schools in Fiji are currently strengthening hand washing practices – AkbarPar Priteshni NandFriday 06/03/2020

Minister for Education, Rosy Akbar

Minister for Education, Rosy Akbar says all schools in Fiji are currently strengthening their basic hygiene and handwashing practices as a precautionary measure to prepare for Covid-19.

Akbar says there are lot of schools who are part of the hand wash programs.

She says the team at the Ministry is advised to ensure that the information that needs to be communicated to our schools is that all schools must be vigilant in their hand washing and basic hygiene practices.

Akbar says the Ministry will wait for the instructions from the Ministry of Health as to what further action has to be taken in schools.

Although there is no confirmed case of coronavirus in Fiji, Akbar says the Education Ministry is currently working on a strategic plan which will be communicated to teachers to continue informing the children on how they can remain protected from the virus.

She says this plan will be communicated to the teachers by early next week.

Akbar says the Education Ministry and the government will ensure that they implement the best action plan to protect all children in schools if Covid-19 is in Fiji.



Four people that were monitored for coronavirus have tested negativePar Vijay Narayan, Dhanjay DeoFriday 06/03/2020

Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete. Photo: File Photo

The four people that were monitored for coronavirus now known as COVID-19 have tested negative.

The Ministry of Health says it received test results from Melbourne last night.

It says there are no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in Fiji.

The four that were isolated included a 15-month-old-girl who arrived from the United States of America, a 37-year-old Fijian woman who returned from Italy and a three-year-old Fijian boy and his 26-year-old mother who returned from Bali and Singapore.

Health Minister Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete is calling on the people of Fiji to work together and to ensure that we do everything right to overcome the coronavirus now known as COVID-19.

Although there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Fiji, Doctor Waqainabete is calling on people to start taking the necessary precautions.

He says personal hygiene is very important as you have to keep washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your face especially your mouth, nose and eyes.

The Health Minister says isolation and containment is also very important as they had done during the measles campaign in Fiji.

Doctor Waqainabete says as the symptoms of coronavirus are very similar to many other respiratory illnesses, it is expected that with time the Ministry will investigate more persons with relevant travel history and symptoms related to coronavirus.

He stresses that although there are no confirmed cases in Fiji, people should also start taking precautions and stop shaking hands with people.

When asked on a lot of people having grog sessions in the country, people mixing the grog and sharing one bilo, Doctor Waqainabete says people should take the precautionary measures and be smart about things.

There are now over 90,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus globally with over 80,000 cases alone in China. Over 3,000 people have died worldwide and most deaths have been recorded in China.

Coronavirus may infect up to 70% of world’s population, expert warns

One of USA’s top experts on viruses, Marc Lipsitch from Harvard University cautions that 40 to 70% of the world’s population will get COVID-19, and from that number, 1% of people who get symptoms, the disease caused by the coronavirus, could die.

Lipsitch has told CBS News that the virus can spread rapidly and people can transmit it before they know they are infected.

He says the 40 to 70% is a proportion of the adult population infected. Lipsitch says they know that some people who get this infection have no or almost no symptoms whatsoever. He says what we don’t know is how many there are like that.

Lipsitch says the susceptibility to symptomatic infection seems to go up strictly with age, and especially up at the very oldest ages. He thinks it is now almost inevitable that this will transmit in a global fashion and take a big toll on essentially the entire globe.

How can you prevent yourself from getting coronavirus and other diseases?

•Frequently clean hands soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub

•Avoid touching your face – especially your mouth, nose and eyes

•When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands

•Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough – stay at least 1 metre away

•Avoid travel to mainland China, Iran, Italy and South Korea



Test results for the 4 people to be out tomorrow – Dr. WaqainabetePar Vijay NarayanThursday 05/03/2020

Health Minister, Doctor Ifereimi Waqainabete says the four people in Fiji being monitored for Coronavirus which is now known as COVID-19 are feeling much better today however they remain in strict isolation.

Doctor Waqainabete says the test results will be out tomorrow.

There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Fiji.

A 15-month old girl developed respiratory symptoms in Suva after arriving in Fiji from the United States of America yesterday.

A 37-year-old Fijian woman who returned from Italy was flagged with respiratory symptoms during a health screening at Nadi Airport yesterday.

A three-year-old Fijian boy and his 26-year-old mother developed respiratory symptoms yesterday after returning from Bali and Singapore. Contact tracing continues for all four patients.

The Ministry of Health says as the symptoms of coronavirus are very similar to many other respiratory illnesses, it is expected that with time the Ministry will investigate more persons with relevant travel history and symptoms related to coronavirus.

There are now over 90,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus globally with over 80,000 cases alone in China. Over 3,000 people have died worldwide and most deaths have been recorded in China.

Coronavirus may infect up to 70% of world’s population, expert warns

One of USA’s top experts on viruses, Marc Lipsitch from Harvard University cautions that 40 to 70% of the world’s population will get COVID-19, and from that number, 1% of people who get symptoms, the disease caused by the coronavirus, could die.

Lipsitch has told CBS News that the virus can spread rapidly and people can transmit it before they know they are infected.

He says the 40 to 70% is a proportion of the adult population infected. Lipsitch says they know that some people who get this infection have no or almost no symptoms whatsoever. He says what we don’t know is how many there are like that.

Lipsitch says the susceptibility to symptomatic infection seems to go up strictly with age, and especially up at the very oldest ages. He thinks it is now almost inevitable that this will transmit in a global fashion and take a big toll on essentially the entire globe.

How can you prevent yourself from getting coronavirus and other diseases?

•Frequently clean hands soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub

•Avoid touching your face – especially your mouth, nose and eyes

•When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands

•Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough – stay at least 1 metre away

•Avoid travel to mainland China, Iran, Italy and South Korea



Four people in Fiji are in isolation and are being monitored for CoronavirusPar Dhanjay DeoThursday 05/03/2020

Minister for Health Dr. Ifereimi Waqainabete screening incoming tourist at the Nadi International Airport. [image: Ministry of Health/Facebook]

Four people in Fiji are being monitored for Coronavirus which is now known as COVID-19 and are in strict isolation as the Ministry of Health awaits test results.

There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Fiji.

All four are in stable condition.

A 15-month old girl developed respiratory symptoms in Suva after arriving in Fiji from the United States of America yesterday.

A 37-year-old Fijian woman who returned from Italy was flagged with respiratory symptoms during a health screening at Nadi Airport yesterday.

A three-year-old Fijian boy and his 26-year-old mother developed respiratory symptoms yesterday after returning from Bali and Singapore.

Contact tracing has commenced for all four patients.

The Ministry of Health says as the symptoms of coronavirus are very similar to many other respiratory illnesses, it is expected that with time the Ministry will investigate more persons with relevant travel history and symptoms related to coronavirus.

The Ministry is urging the public to not share rumours and misinformation.

72 countries outside China have reported cases of coronavirus with 30 countries reported by the World Health Organisation as having local transmission.

There are now over 90,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus globally with over 80,000 cases alone in China. Over 3,000 people have died worldwide and most deaths have been recorded in China.

How can you prevent yourself from getting coronavirus and other diseases?

•Frequently clean hands soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub

•Avoid touching your face – especially your mouth, nose and eyes

•When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands

•Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough – stay at least 1 metre away

•Avoid travel to mainland China, Iran, Italy and South Korea



Coronavirus: World is in ‘uncharted territory’ – WHOPar Semi TuragaTuesday 03/03/2020

The World Health Organisation has said the world is in « uncharted territory » on the coronavirus outbreak with the number of deaths worldwide now more than 3,000.

More than 90% are in Hubei, China, but there have been deaths in 10 other countries.

There have been more than 80,000 infections worldwide.

The European Union Disease Prevention Agency has raised the risk level to « moderate to high »

South Korea is reporting 476 new cases, a total of 4,212, and a death toll of 28.

One of the countries worst affected outside China – Italy – on Monday saw a jump in its death toll from 34 to 52.

Indonesia, Senegal, Jordan, Iceland, Portugal, Armenia, the Czech Republic and Andorra confirm their first cases of the coronavirus which is now known as COVID-19.

[Source: BBC]



Man who allegedly lied to a nurse about having Novel Coronavirus remanded in custodyPar Semi TuragaTuesday 03/03/2020

Simione Nakuna Junior leaves court

A 24-year-old man who allegedly lied to a nurse and a doctor about having the Novel Coronavirus which is now known as COVID-19 has been remanded in custody by Magistrate Deepika Prakash.

Simione Nakuna Junior will appear in court again tomorrow where he must provide two suitable sureties and also pay cash bail of $300 before bail is considered.

He is charged with 2 counts of Giving False Information to a Public Officer and 1 count of Malicious Act.

Last Tuesday, Nakuna allegedly told a nurse at the CWM Hospital that he had returned from Kanazawa City in Japan after complaining of having cough and fever.

Nakuna was then put in an isolation room for further assessment after the nurse informed the doctor about the situation.

According to Police, Nakuna also allegedly told the doctor that he was in Japan for 1 month and fled from there without wearing a mask.

He also allegedly gave the nurse and doctor a false name which was Simione Mila.

Nakuna allegedly ran away from the hospital when the nurse and doctor were not in the isolation room.

Police then tracked him down and brought him back to the CWM Hospital last Wednesday where he was found to have upper respiratory tract infection and not coronavirus.

They also checked his travel history and discovered that Nakuna had never left the country.



WHO raises threat level for deadly coronavirus to ‘very high’Par Violet MatakibauSaturday 29/02/2020

Auckland International Airport advice for visitors from novel coronavirus affected countries on what to do if they suspect that they may have contracted the COVID19 virus. [Photo:health.govt.nz]

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has raised its threat level for the deadly Coronavirus to « very high », warning all affected countries should now activate their « highest level » of response.

The alert, announced overnight, comes as New Zealanders are being urged to remain calm after the first case of Coronavirus was confirmed.

A 60-year-old New Zealand resident, is in isolation at Auckland City Hospital after arriving on an Emirates flight (EK450) from Iran, via Bali, on Wednesday with a cough and difficulty breathing.

The person travelled home in a private car but felt unwell so the family called Health-line.

They were advised to seek medical attention and went to the hospital’s emergency department.

A Ministry of Health spokesman said all were wearing masks on arrival, as a result of the individual’s symptoms and travel history they were admitted and tested. »

Those results came back positive on Friday afternoon, the person is in a stable condition.

They are in an improving condition in isolation, in a negative pressure room to prevent any spread of the disease.

[[Source:NZHerald]



PM announces new range of measures at our borders to reduce the risk of coronavirus outbreak in FijiPar Vijay NarayanThursday 27/02/2020

Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama says given the rapid increase in global cases of the Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19, the government is announcing a new range of measures at our borders to reduce the risk of an outbreak in Fiji.

Bainimarama says following the closure of Fijian borders to all visitors from Mainland China, from 28th February, Fiji will also be denying access to any foreign nationals who have been present in the nations of Italy and Iran or in Cheongdo county and Daegu city in South Korea within 14 days of their intended travel to Fiji.

The UAE and Singapore have just announced similar measures.

The Prime Minister says in cooperation with Fiji Airways and other carriers, the previously announced stringent border screening measures will remain in place for all inbound passengers to Fiji.

From next Monday, Fiji will also screen all international air passengers with handheld temperature scanners and in two to three weeks time we will have thermal scanners installed at our international airports.

At sea, from 28th February, all cruise ships entering Fijian waters will be required to make first berth at ports in Suva or Lautoka, where all passengers on board will undergo the earlier-announced medical and travel history checks.

Bainimarama says the global economy is taking a big hit from the spread of the coronavirus, and Fiji will feel the impacts as well.

But the Prime Minister stresses that they are introducing these new security measures because they believe the health of our people must always come first.

In the United States, health officials revealed that an eventual, larger-scale outbreak of coronavirus in the country was all but inevitable.

Bainimarama says this is a reality all countries must face but our decision-making must be guided by facts, not by fear.

He says that’s why the Ministry of Health will diligently prepare for the disease, even though Fiji continues to be free of coronavirus.

Bainimarama says in the meantime, health officials are equipped and prepared to isolate and treat any case of the virus if it arrives in the country.

He says we will soon have the capacity to quickly and accurately test for the virus here in Fiji, rather than send samples overseas.

The Prime Minister says Fiji continues to keep a close watch on the global spread of the coronavirus – now known as COVID-19.

The virus has now infected more than 80,000 people in over 30 countries.

As of today, there are no suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Fiji.

He says every Fijian can aid our nationwide response, firstly, by practicing good hygiene.

Wash your hands, cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze.



World should prepare for pandemic – WHOPar Semi TuragaTuesday 25/02/2020

The World Health Organisation has said the world should do more to prepare for a possible coronavirus pandemic.

The WHO said it was too early to call the outbreak a pandemic but countries should be « in a phase of preparedness ».

A pandemic is when an infectious disease spreads easily from person to person in many parts of the world.

More cases of the virus, which causes respiratory disease Covid-19, continue to emerge, with outbreaks in South Korea, Italy and Iran causing concern.

However, most infections are in China, the original source of the virus, where 77,000 people have the disease and nearly 2,600 have died. The number of new cases there is now falling.

More than 1,200 cases have been confirmed in about 30 other countries and there have been more than 20 deaths. Italy reported four more deaths on Monday, raising the total there to seven.

Worldwide stock markets saw sharp falls because of concerns about the economic impact of the virus.

BBC News reports China said it would postpone the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress next month, to « continue the efforts » against the coronavirus.

The body, which approves decisions made by the Communist Party, has met every year since 1978.

[[Source: BBC]


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