No new directives necessary: PM after Fiji’s latest COVID-19 case

It appears Fiji’s current COVID-19 restrictions will remain, despite confirmation of the country’s latest case today involving a 66-year-old overseas returnee. 

“No new directives are necessary,”  a post attributed to the Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama on the Fijian Government’s Facebook platform said.

“We’ve confirmed a border case of #COVID19 among a returning citizen while he was securely in the confines of government-funded quarantine. Thanks to our multilayered, RFMF-backed border protections, this case presents zero risk to the public.”

Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama

Acting Permanent Secretary Health and Medical Services Dr James Fong echoed the same sentiments in a press conference in Suva today saying the 19th case which is also the country’s first border quarantine case involving a 66-year-old man who returned from India last week, carries no risk of entering the community.

The aged man arrived into Fiji in a repatriation flight carrying 108 passengers from India on Wednesday, July 1. He started showing symptoms three days into his mandatory 14-day quarantine period. After testing positive for the virus last night, he was transferred to the Nadi Hospital. His son, who accompanied him from India, is kept at the hospital’s isolation unit.

 Dr Fong said they expect the number of such cases to increase in view of future repatriation flights, but maintains that Fiji has put in place measures to prevent the virus from spreading to Fijian communities.

“We don’t expect this to be Fiji’s last boarder quarantine case of COVID-19. Other countries have been reporting similar cases.  Rest assured, Fiji has built an impregnable wall of strong border controls, strict quarantine surveillance and capable healthcare monitoring between border quarantine cases and Fijian communities.”

Acting Permanent Secretary Health and Medical Services Dr James Fong

“This is what we call a border quarantine case which has been identified and securely contained by our stringent border protocols. It carries no risk of entering the community. This latest case is why we have been careful not to label Fiji as COVID-19 free. We believe that as long as a nation welcomes back its own citizens, it cannot reliably claim itself free of the virus but because Fiji’s strict border protections have functioned as has been designed, Fiji retains its world-earned status as a COVID-contained country.”

Other passengers including the son have been tested. Dr Fong said the son’s result will be known tomorrow, but did not provide an update on when the result of the other passengers will be known, only saying that “all remain securely in quarantine.”

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