COVID-19 Fiji: New safeguards as Fiji further ease measures

Roll back of certain COVID-safe measures including social gathering protocols among others in Fiji came into effect from 4am this morning as major borders on Viti Levu opened up allowing for all domestic travels on Fiji’s main island in line with Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama’s announcement in which he also revealed new spot check regulations and the intended roll out of a real time vaccination verification tool as part of safeguards leading up to the opening up of all businesses next month.

He also made known vaccination targets that must be reached to allow for fully reopening of businesses, resume contact sports and ultimately the opening up of international borders to resurrect the country’s tourism industry and subsequently Fiji’s economy.

From today:

Curfew hours for Viti Levu will be from 9 pm until 4 am.

Public service vehicles can operate at 70 per cent capacity

Employers who were required under COVID-safe measures to transport staff to and from work will no longer need to do so.

Everywhere in Fiji, gathering of up to 20 people are permitted in people’s homes, and up to 30 in outdoor venues.

Inter-island travel, however, will remain highly controlled, including to Vanua Levu, until we achieve higher vaccination coverage in Vanua Levu and our outer islands.

All other COVID-safe measures must be strictly enforced

From 4 October:

All workplaces, tertiary institutions, houses of worship, hotels, restaurants, cafés, cinemas, gyms, pools, tattoo parlours to open at 70% capacity to fully-vaccinated persons.

Roll out of a VAX-Check tool that allows venue operators’ real-time digital verification of vaccine status of their patrons.

All other COVID-safe measures must be strictly enforced, including wearing of masks, two metres of physical distance where possible, and careFIJI must be installed on everyone’s phones, with Bluetooth switched on.

Bainimarama also appealed with the public to be responsible and adhere to COVID-safe protocols at all times. Venues that do not adhere to measures including ensuring that their patrons are fully vaccinated will either be fined or shut down.

“We’re introducing new regulations that allow for spot checks on venues, businesses and houses of worship. Those who do not respect these measures risk serious will be fined heavily or shut down,” Bainimarama said.

“Community leaders should continue to keep careful track of who exits and enters their communities. Employers should continue to enforce COVID-safe practices for their staff and their customers. And leaders in houses of worship should be sure their devotees are adherent to COVID-safe practices as well.”

The Ministry of Health will also be publishing vaccination rates of all areas along the King and Queen’s highways and other major routes to notify travellers on safest route depending on the vaccination coverage in these areas.

“Everyone should read that list carefully before getting in the car and heading anywhere. Our advice is to avoid areas with lower vaccination coverage. If you are an unvaccinated Fijian living in an area with low vaccine coverage, do not wait another day to get the jab. And if you are only partially vaccinated, please maintain strict adherence to every COVID-safe measure and make sure to get your second jab. My fellow Fijians, most of us are doing what needs to be done to end this deadly outbreak, and that has put us on track to hit the 70% and 80% thresholds for the full vaccination of our target population faster than we ever dared to hope.”

At the 70% threshold, the curfew hours for Viti Levu will move from 10 pm to 4 am.

At the 80% threshold, the curfew will be from 11 pm to 4 am, we expect that all businesses will fully re-open to fully-vaccinated Fijians, all sports –– including team sports –– can be played again, like rugby, football and netball, and stadiums can re-open. In short, life in Fiji will look much like it did before this second wave of the virus struck us.

Once we vaccine at least 80% of adults in Fiji, we will be in an excellent position to open quarantine-free travel with other countries that have deployed the same Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines we are using in Fiji. At this point, that includes Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Korea, Singapore, and parts of the USA.

As of yesterday, 580504 Fijians or 97.7 % of adults in Fiji have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 372434 or 63.5% have stepped up for their second dose and are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

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