COVID-19 Fiji: Pathway to ensure safe repatriation of Northerners

Since there have not been any new cases in North, the challenge now for the health ministry and relevant stakeholders is to develop a pathway that will facilitate the safe return of approximately 6000 northerners stranded on Viti Levu and other parts of the country.

The pathway will also consider the setting up of quarantine facilities to cater for the returnees as well as put in place action plans in case of potential outbreaks.

Permanent Secretary Health Dr James Fong also recognises the importance of community engagement in ensuring the success and safety of any repatriation plan, as was evident during the Nabouwalu containment zoning effort in August that prevented the spread of the virus beyond a Nabouwalu jetty worker.

Dr Fong also acknowledged the support of the medical teams from the North who were deployed to the western and central divisions during the height of the outbreak.

“They are now in the process of returning, we encourage them to get their well-deserved rest and encourage them to be ready to provide both medical support and assist in quarantine preparedness,” Dr Fong said.

The only active cases in the North, four in all, at the moment reside in Namara Tiri settlement in Labasa.

There have been at least ten COVID-19 cases in the North in the current outbreak including individuals testing positive whilst in quarantine at the Malau quarantine facility.

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