Public anger over sitting agenda

A significant number of people took to the live messaging platform on the Fijian Parliamentary social media page to voice their disappointment over the agenda of the historical virtual parliamentary sitting today.

Most of the anger was aimed at the agenda not speaking to their concerns about the impact of the pandemic on their livelihoods, a matter that Fiji’s Attorney General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said could be addressed later this week or next week via the opposition’s questions or via ministers through their ministerial statements.

Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama was bullish about the country’s ability to overcome the pandemic in his address in parliament this afternoon, saying that “we have done it before and we will do it again.”

“We completely defeated this virus during our first wave and I’m confident in our resolve to do that together once again,” Bainimarama said.

Sayed-Khaiyum said today’s agenda was agreed to in the business committee meeting yesterday.

“We have thoroughly talked about this matter. The ministers have a right to make a statement if they wish to do so, it is their prerogative. But we also discussed in the business committee meeting yesterday, that next week when we have a sitting, that there will be an opportunity for the opposition by the business committee meeting that will be held this Thursday for them to fill in the new questions. And they can ask new questions on COVID-19 or any matter related to COVID-19,” Sayed-Khaiyum said.

“We all know there’s a COVID-19 situation going on. We know that. With various statements that have been made by the government and various other statements will be made by the government. The opposition if they have specific questions have the opportunity to ask those questions next week. Because this agenda item already been set. And the reality of the matter is that yes there is a COVID situation. But there are other facets to the running of government. And these matters that we are addressing also pertain to other facets of running the government.”

As of yesterday – 36 days, since Fiji’s first case in the recent outbreak of COVID19 infections, the country has had 165 more cases, including those recorded in border quarantine facilities of which 99 cases are active.

This afternoon, based on the Ministry of Health’s latest update, 10 more cases have been recorded which brings up the number of active cases to 109.

Of the ten new cases, two were recorded in Tacirua, 3 in Muanikoso, 1 in Kinoya, 1 in Navosai in Narere, 3 at QEB. Nine of the 10 are contacts of previous cases.

One of the two individuals in Tacirua is a member of the Fiji Navy who was seen at the Nuffield Health Centre in Tamavua with no symptoms. The Navy personnel’s case is the case that authorities have yet to link back to any existing case/cluster.

Total active cases numbers have risen to 109, which is also the first time since the first case in March 2020, that active case numbers have gone past the 100-mark.

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