Fiji’s Ministry of Health says they have COVID-19 positive travellers in quarantine in the country from African states who had arrived into the country before they knew about the Omicron variant.
Their tests will be forwarded overseas this week for genetic sequencing, but in the meantime, the ministry says these travellers have been quarantined in line with the stringent measures that is applied to countries considered a red zone for ongoing viral spread.
The ministry reiterates that no stringent border and community measure will prevent the omicron variant or future variants of the COVID-19 virus from entering the country if they are transmissible enough.
Stringent border and community measures will only delay the inevitable entry and spread, the ministry says, adding that the onus is on Fiji citizens “to continue to adhere to COVID-safe measures with 2-meter physical distancing; mask wisely by carrying a mask when you are out of your home and wear the mask properly in public indoor spaces, public service vehicles, and outdoor crowded spaces; open windows to improve ventilation; avoid poorly ventilated or crowded spaces; keep hands clean; cough or sneeze into a bent elbow or tissue; and get vaccinated when it’s your turn.
“This message is more important than all the stringent public health community and border measures.”
The ministry also notes that the Omicron variant had already been detected in some European countries before it was reported by South African scientists.
Dutch health authorities reportedly confirm finding the Omicron variant in their country well before they found positive cases among passengers from South Africa, likewise Belgium and Germany finding positive cases for the variant well before South African health officials flagged its existence.