Fijian Govt announces staggered health measures roll-back plans

Curfew hours will be from 7pm to 4am tomorrow, as the Fijian Government begins rolling back some health protection measures which largely hinge on meeting full vaccination targets and adherence to COVID-safe protocols.

The additional hour comes as Fiji reaches 40% of its full vaccination target, and it will be pushed back gradually until targets are met for the lifting of containment area borders on Viti Levu and eventually revert to the initial 11pm-4am curfew hours.

“Once we fully vaccinate 50 per cent of our target population, the curfew start time will be 8 pm; Fully vaccinating 60 per cent of our target population will allow us to start the curfew at 9 pm and lift the containment area borders in Viti Levu; At the 70 per cent threshold, the curfew will start at 10 pm, and once we fully vaccinate 80 per cent of our target population, the curfew will start at 11 pm, Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said in a national statement today.

In making the announcement this evening, Bainimarama also warns that the government will not hesitate to review, or even reset rollback plans if COVID-safe protocols are not adhered to.

“Unless announced otherwise, they will all remain in place. Do not start party planning. Do not arrange for grog sessions after work or carelessly share cigarettes, or forget to wear your mask, or violate physical distancing. Do not let these extra hours cost us our vigilance –– they should only be used for essential travel. If we see widespread violations of COVID-safe practices, we will have to review, or even reset, this rollback. I say that knowing that a curfew –– no matter what time it begins –– is not normal. There are not normal times. I assure you, our goal is to fully restore our freedom of movement and association.

“Just the same, other relaxations, including the re-opening of certain businesses and allowances for social gatherings, will be announced in step with the best available science. I cannot emphasise enough: all of this depends on more Fijians getting both jabs of the vaccine. We are doing well. Very few countries have matched the pace of our vaccine administration. That is reason to be proud, but not reason to be satisfied.”

To date, 92.6 per cent of eligible adults in Fiji –– 543,318 individuals –– have received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 40 per cent of that target population is fully vaccinated.

Doing away with curfew altogether, Bainimarama said “can only be taken when we have sustained time periods with very few deaths due to the virus.”

As of 17 August, the national 7-day rolling average of COVID-19 deaths per day is nine, with the majority of the deaths occurring in the West in recent days. The latest confirmed COVID-19 death however was reported in the eastern division, on Kadavu.

Photo: File Photo

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