No infections for four weeks but Covid restrictions remain

Monday May 18, 2020 Written by RNZ Published in Small World
Fiji PM, Voreqe Bainimarama Photo: Fijian Govt Fiji PM, Voreqe Bainimarama Photo: Fijian Govt

Fiji’s prime minister has announced the continuation of Covid-19 restrictions in the country despite almost a month without a new case.

 

In his national address on Friday, Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said the country could not risk a second wave of coronavirus infections.

“The nationwide curfew will remain in effect from 10 pm until 5 am every day. Social gatherings must be limited to 20 people or fewer,” Bainimarama said.

“Gyms, nightclubs, cinemas and swimming pools will remain closed, as will houses of worship. Contact sports are still not allowed to be played. Our schools will remain closed as well until the 12th of June 2020,” he said.

He said China is already seeing a second wave of infections and Europe is bracing for the same.

The prime minister said government would finalise plans for a gradual scale back of some of the Covid-19 restrictions in the weeks ahead.

“But I want to be crystal clear with every person watching. No matter how confident we are that this virus has been defeated, our most critical restrictions aren’t going anywhere,” Bainimarama said.

“The good habits that we’ve picked up over the past few months – physical distancing, regular handwashing, staying home or wearing face masks when we’re sick, not sharing takis and bilos, and keeping a clean working environment – must become new ways of Fijian life,” Bainimarama said.

Bainimarama said already over 800,000 Fijians have undergone health screening through what he described as the largest healthcare mobilisation campaign in Fijian history.

“In the coming weeks we will massively step-up testing as well. We are also actively looking at new and innovative ways to prevent a resurgence of the disease,” Bainimarama said.

Bainimarama said if no new cases were recorded at the end of Friday, it would mark four full weeks without a new case of Covid-19 in Fiji.

“On top of that victory, we’re also confirming our fifteenth full recovery of the virus, meaning only three active cases remain.”

But he also said even as Fiji celebrates these victories everyone must remain vigilant.

“As tight as our safety nets may be – there is always a chance that an asymptomatic case has slipped through undetected. All it takes is one case, one super-spreader, to provoke a Fijian epidemic of Covid-19,” he said.

He says the coronavirus is the “challenge of our generation”.

“If the campaign presses onwards to total victory, when the history books recount the difficulty of this period, they will tell of how Fijians led the way in beating this virus for good.”

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