Quarantine Requirements for Foreigners and Fijian Nationals Entering Fiji – Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS)

COVID-19 test requirement

Documented proof of a negative Covid-19 test is required for all foreign nationals seeking to enter Fiji. Fijian citizens departing countries determined as a high risk for COVID-19 may also need to be tested before departure. 

Approved COVID-19 tests

Acceptable tests for COVID-19 are quantitative RT-PCR or Cepheid GeneXpert (Xpert® Xpress SARS-CoV-2). Note that other rapid point of care RT PCR, or antigen/ antibody tests are not accepted. A nasopharyngeal sample must be the sample tested.

Timing of test

The sample must be collected for testing at most 72hrs (3 days) before departure for Fiji. For example: if you are residing in country A and are booked to begin your travel to Fiji on a plane leaving on Friday July 24th – you need to have your nasopharyngeal sample taken for testing at earliest on Tuesday July 21st. In this case the result of a sample collected before Tuesday July 21st is not acceptable.

Format of test result

The negative test result must be in the form of an official result from the laboratory that conducted the test. This result should include the following information:

The laboratory letter head and laboratory contact details, patient details, type of sample collected, date of sample collection, date test was conducted, type of test conducted, lab sample number, and name of lab supervisor/staff signing off on the result.

Symptom and temperature screening

All travellers entering Fiji must undergo a temperature and symptom check by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) officials upon arrival at the port of entry. If symptoms of COVID-19 are present a nasopharyngeal swab sample will be collected for a COVID-19 RT-PCR test at the cost of the traveller (if not a Fijian citizen) and the MHMS protocol for suspected cases will be applied. If the test is positive, he or she must remain in isolation under the care of MHMS but if the test is negative he or she will be released to complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine. 

Mandatory 14 day quarantine

All travellers into Fiji will be required to complete supervised quarantine for 14 days.

Quarantine for travellers arriving by air

Quarantine will be for at least 14 days in a government designated quarantine facility (hotels) under the direct supervision for the MHMS and Republic of Fiji Military Forces. Fijian citizens are not charged for meals, accommodation, or testing associated with quarantine. 

Regular symptom and temperature screening during quarantine

MHMS officials will conduct regular temperature and symptom checks. If symptoms of COVID-19 are present a nasopharyngeal swab sample will be collected for a COVID-19 RT-PCR test at the cost of the traveller (if not a Fijian citizen). The Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) protocol for suspected cases will be applied. If the test is positive, he or she must remain in isolation under the care of MHMS but if the test is negative he or she will be released to complete the mandatory 14 day quarantine. 

End of quarantine COVID-19 test

If the traveller remains asymptomatic during quarantine- a nasopharyngeal swab sample collected for a COVID-19 RT-PCR test with a negative test result required before release from quarantine. The cost of the test will be borne by the traveller (if not a Fijian citizen).

End.

Announcement: Updating of Fijian Diaspora List – Japan

Dear Friends of Fiji,

Ni Sa Bula Vinaka.

The Fiji Embassy in Tokyo is in the process of updating its diaspora contact details of Fijian Nationals currently residing in Japan. As such, you are kindly requested to email the following information’s to Mr Ashneel Shankar, Second Secretary on ashneel.shankar@fijiembassy.jp

i) Full Name:

ii) Occupation:

iii) Residential Address (Region/ Prefecture):

iv) Email Address:

v) Phone Contact:

vi) Fijian Passport Number and Expiry Date: and

vii) Contact Details of Close Family Member(s) in Fiji:

Your usual support is highly appreciated.

Vinaka Vakalevu.

Statement by the Hon. Prime Minister, J.V. Bainimarama on TC Harold and COVID-19 Measures – Friday, 24 April 2020

Bula Vinaka. 

Since my last update on Fiji’s recovery from Cyclone Harold and COVID-19, we’ve made great progress in both fronts.

Assistance has made its way to the hardest-hit areas across Fiji, with thousands of food ration packs and other supplies being delivered to even the most remote corners of the country. 

And our on-the-ground assessment of TC Harold’s devastation is showing just how hard-hit some of these communities and islands are. NDMO’s latest survey now shows that 635 homes across the country were destroyed by the storm, with over 2,100 suffering damage. 

Under our Rural Housing Assistance programme, the Ministry of Housing and Community Development is working to provide relief to high-need households as quickly as possible. As has been the case in the wake of previous cyclones, we’ll be subsidising the cost of government-procured building materials for eligible households –– those making less than $15,000 a year -– on a one-third, two-thirds basis.

Alternately, those applying for assistance can cover the cost of all building materials, but pay more affordable rates thanks to government bulk-buying, and then have those discounted materials delivered to them with all shipping costs covered –– even in our most remote maritime communities. Trees felled by the cyclone are also being repurposed into timber that will be provided free-of-charge for impacted homes by the Ministry of Forestry.

For anyone benefiting from this programme who cannot secure carpenters of their own, the Ministry of Housing and Community Development’s carpentry team –– assisted by the Public Rental Board –– will be provided free of charge for repairs and reconstruction. They will also be assisting with building plans to ensure the new homes are cyclone-resilient, and they’ll also be carrying out site inspections to keep everything up to standard.

But as we rebuild from this storm, we are seeing a rise in illnesses that have the potential to prove deadlier than the storm itself –– those that thrive in the wet environments left behind by tropical cyclones. That’s why the Ministry of Health is now launching a door-to-door campaign to combat LTDD: Leptospirosis, Typhoid, Dengue, and Diarrhea. 

So while coronavirus will dominate headlines, we also need to stay alert of these other ailments, as they can also kill. But unlike COVID-19, we’ve dealt with these challenges before –– and experience has taught us that public cooperation is critical to keeping Fijians healthy. That’s why, if an official from the Ministry of Health visits your door to check for symptoms, we need to remain just as diligent as we have during our nationwide COVID screening efforts. 

This said, coronavirus is still public enemy number one, and I’m sure it’s what is on the top of all of your minds today. Since this Monday, the 20th of April, we’ve tested 114 more samples for COVID-19, and all have returned negative –– meaning that again, we have zero new cases to report. Our health screening effort in Ba is progressing extremely well. Nationwide, we’ve restocked with thousands of COVID-19 tests –– a step critical to boosting confidence in the success of our containment efforts. 

Since our first cases were confirmed in Fiji, the first question I’ve asked our health team in our morning COVID-19 briefings has been the same: “How are our patients?” And for weeks, the answer has remained the same –– “they are in stable condition”. While this was always welcome news, it still left me, and all Fijians, anxious for their wellbeing. 

Only in the past few days have our patients begun finally testing negative for the virus. Today, I’m grateful to announce that 10 of our 18 patients have made full recoveries from the virus. So now, there are eight active cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Fiji –– meaning that, for the first time, more Fijians have recovered than are currently still living with the virus. 

Our nation has prayed for these recoveries, our healthcare heroes have provided the weeks of care-giving it’s taken to heal these Fijians, and –– given the vast unknowns surrounding coronavirus –– we are all grateful to see them cleared to leave isolation. I applaud every Fijian responsible for aiding these recoveries and delivering us this beacon of hope. 

But as relieved as we all are, we must still reckon with some sobering realities. 

No confirmed case of coronavirus in Fiji has been in a person over the age of 65. Most of our patients have had no underlying health conditions. We know that these factors –– age and health –– are directly linked to a patient’s chances of survival. 

My point is, in Fiji, so far we have been blessed by demographics, and more vulnerable Fijians have been spared. But if we lull ourselves into complacency, that could all too tragically change. Across the world, over 186,000 lives have been lost to this virus. Every day, tens of thousands more add to the total. We cannot allow Fiji to fall victim to the same fate.

We’ve all seen a sevens side –– after a comfortable half-time lead –– go on to lose the game because they got cocky, let their guard down, and failed to see victory through to its end. Well, the stakes of this virus are far higher than a rugby match –– they are life or death. I’ve said many times before: We are at war with COVID-19. We must stay vigilant. We must stay disciplined. We must keep ourselves one step ahead of this killer virus.

If we keep the course, we will be able to confidently rank ourselves among the nations leading the world in stomping out coronavirus. Our success so far leaves us reason for cautious optimism. We have isolated every close contact of every case of the virus in our country –– a world-leading feat. Of the over 900 samples we’ve tested in Fiji –– only two per cent have returned positive, compared from up to 19% or even higher in harder-hit countries. 

Every decision we have made has been informed by the best available science and the direction of our medical experts –– and our adherence to health advice will continue to guide every step we take. Operating with caution and armed with good information, we have identified a few safe ways we can return some measure of normalcy to our society. 

But it’s important we match any relaxation of health protection directives with greater diligence in our day to day lives. That is why I am declaring this weekend as Fiji’s Weekend of Readiness and Responsibility. Through the weekend, we need to see Fijians take greater ownership over our containment measures. As we see that happen, we plan to gradually scale back a handful of our health protection measures. 

From the evening of Saturday the 25th of April, which is tomorrow, the nationwide curfew will begin at 10pm and go until 5am. From Sunday the 26th of April we will resume all passenger inter-island travel, by air and sea. And from Monday, the 27th of April, we will allow social gatherings of 20 people or fewer. 

Nightclubs, swimming pools, cinemas, and gyms will all continue to remain closed. Houses of worship, as well, will remain closed until further notice. Our schools will remain closed as well until the 12th of June 2020. 

Our Weekend of Readiness and Responsibility starts with our LTDD campaign. Every Fijian should spend this weekend tracking down breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Empty out containers, tyres or rubbish that hold water. And if medical teams conduct screenings in your area, cooperate. 

From Sunday morning, as inter-island travel resumes, all transportation vehicles, whether that’s taxis, mini-buses,  buses, boats or planes, are encouraged to provide hand sanitiser to passengers upon boarding, and members of the public are encouraged to wear masks while travelling. 

Through the weekend, all of our advice remains in effect. Physical distancing of two metres should be maintained at all times. Do not share cigarettes, or takis or bilos during grog sessions. Limit unnecessary person-to-person contact as much as humanly possible. 

And, as health screening efforts continue across the country, all Fijians should cooperate with our medical teams for the few easy minutes it takes to be screened –– whether that’s for LTTD or COVID-19. 

Through the weekend, our coronavirus testing will press ahead. If even one new case is detected, our most stringent health protection measures will snap right back into place. 

As we see some of our restrictions lifted, it’s vital the Fijian public go about their lives responsibly, in ways that do not compromise the practice of physical distancing and put Fijian lives at risk. If we do, I’m confident we can welcome back these freedoms without giving ground in the campaign against this virus. 

Vinaka vakalevu. God bless you all. 

ADVISORY: Fiji Airways Flight from Narita-Nadi – Saturday, 25 April 2020

Fiji Airways has confirmed that there will be a flight from Narita to Nadi on Saturday, 25 April 2020. Interested individuals can book tickets online at www.fijiairways.com or by calling the airline’s Reservation Center on +679 672 0888 or +679 330 4388.

Please note that individuals who are Fijian Passport holders, Fijian Citizenship Certificate holders and/or Fijian Residential Certificate holders, will only be considered for this flight.

Furthermore, as a precautionary measure in-light of COVID-19 and as per the directives of the Fijian Government, all travelers entering Fiji will be required to undertake compulsory self-quarantine of 28 days upon arrival.

Statement by the Hon. Prime Minister J.V. Bainimarama on Latest COVID-19 Case – Monday, 20 April 2020

Bula Vinaka. 

It’s now been nearly two weeks since Cyclone Harold swept over Fiji.  As lines of communication have been re-established, our aid ships have made their way to our outer islands, and our response teams have surveyed damage, the scale of the devastation is becoming more clear. 

Our agricultural sector saw over 27 million dollars of damages from the immense levels of rain and flooding throughout Fiji. More than 500 homes were destroyed, with many hundreds more suffering damage. FRA’s infrastructure network, including our roading and jetties, took a 22-million-dollar hit. Overall, more than 180,000 Fijians saw their homes, their lives and livelihoods suffer from the brunt of Harold.

But as we made clear from the start, help is on the way for affected Fijians. For many, that help has already arrived, with food rations being delivered and clean-up commenced in some of our hardest-hit areas. Electricity and water supply has been restored for most of the country. As we pick up the pieces from Harold’s wrath, we can again devote ourselves to an enemy that will last far longer than any storm –– COVID-19.  

I want to begin today by honouring the life of Mr Morotikei Mainilala, a Turaga-ni-Koro serving in Baleyaganiga Village on Vanua Levu. The police have completed their investigation of Mr Mainlala’s passing. It appears he tried to break up a public gathering –– a drinking party –– before he was brutally killed. Those suspected of involvement have been charged. 

Our ban on social gatherings exists to stop the sort of person-to-person contact that spreads the deadly coronavirus. It’s clear Mr Mainilala knew that –– and it’s why he strove to prevent his fellow Fijians from violating our health protection measures. I extend my deepest sympathies to his wife, his six children, and his community. They, and all of Fiji, have lost a responsible leader and a brave Fijian.

From Friday through today, we have tested 123 samples for the coronavirus. One test returned what we call a “soft positive” result –– meaning we couldn’t say with certainty whether this sample was positive for COVID-19. After further testing and consultations with our reference lab in Melbourne, they found that these results indicate this sample came from someone in the final stages of recovery from coronavirus. 

This, combined with a travel history from the United States last month, was enough for us to call this case “highly likely” –– and in my book, when Fijian lives are at stake, that means “positive”. So clinically, we have officially confirmed this patient –– a 51-year-old woman in Ba –– as our 18th case of COVID-19.

The patient returned from the United States on the 22nd of March. After completing 14 days of home quarantine, she was cleared. Only later did she develop COVID-like symptoms. She was then  tested, giving us the soft positive result. The results of her test make it likely this patient has been carrying COVID-19 for weeks. Luckily, our contact tracing –– which began as soon as she was first tested on the 18th of April –– identifies her as a low-risk transmitter. 

This patient shares a home with three others –– all three have tested negative for the virus. Regardless, they have all been placed in isolation. We’ve traced and identified her other casual contacts; they have all been entered into compulsory home quarantine. 

Because of the low-risk nature of this patient spreading the virus, and our ability to quickly test and contain her few close contacts, we will not be locking down Ba Town. However, our mobile teams will be conducting a large-scale screening of the entire province. As with Lautoka and Suva, public cooperation is vital to this effort –– if we don’t see sufficient numbers from these screenings, Ba will risk a total lockdown. 

We’re also introducing new health protection measures nationwide. This virus is deadliest in already-ill patients –– that’s why it’s vital we keep coronavirus away from patients in hospital. Only two visitors a day will be allowed to see a patient, and the visitation window will only be one hour. Visitors will enter facilities one at a time and will need to be health-checked prior to entry. Our standing ban on visitations to isolation wards and facilities will continue. We’ll also be introducing compulsory testing for Fijians returning from overseas in government-funded quarantine after 14 days –– if they test negative after the critical 14-day incubation period, they will be able to spend the remaining 14 days of their quarantine at home. 

This latest case goes to show: This virus is still out there in our communities. Our 18th case has been present in Fiji for almost a month –– while her transmission risk is low, she was certainly not the only unconfirmed coronavirus case in the country. This is a complex and contagious virus, and –– no matter the strength of our safety nets –– cases can slip through the cracks, as we’ve in other countries, especially individuals who never show symptoms. 

This virus is proving as stealthy as it is unpredictable, but it can be beaten. Not by some magic cure –– but by keeping to the simple strategy of physical distancing. The difference of two metres of physical distance between us means the difference between victory and defeat in this campaign. It means the difference between life and death for vulnerable Fijians. 

This weekend, aside from dozens more arrests, we’ve received reports across the country of blatant violations of our physical distancing directives. Too many Fijians are still behaving as if the virus isn’t among us. Thank God, there are no deaths due to the virus in Fiji. But if people keep crowding in public places, gathering socially, or otherwise acting like these are normal times, there’s no question, we will lose lives. The possibility of a 24-hour curfew is not off the table –– the power to avoid that drastic alternative rests with every Fijian watching, listening to or reading this address. So, please, do the right thing today, and spare us suffering down the road.

All of us need to seize ownership over our health and by taking responsibility for the laws designed to keep this virus at bay. Don’t push the burden of recovery entirely on the shoulders of our doctors, nurses, and disciplined forces –– they deserve far better than anyone’s apathy or ambivalence. 

Supermarkets, retailers, and shops should have hand sanitiser available and prominent signage instructing physical distancing. Children should not be out and about –– they must stay home, as should the elderly. Social gatherings are banned, and the 8pm to 5am curfew remains in effect. And all of us should stay in our homes as much as possible. If you see someone violating our directives, do not stay silent –– pick up the phone and call number 158 or the dial the police.

I’d like to end my brief today with some good news. Three Fijians diagnosed with the virus have made full recoveries from the coronavirus. That means these Fijians have tested negative for the virus twice, with over 24 hours in between tests. We also have several individuals in isolation who –– after over 30 days –– have not tested positive for the virus. Our recovered patients, along with those who have continually tested negative, will be released. Out of an abundance of caution, they will remain under supervised home quarantine for 14 days. Our other 15 patients living with COVID-19 all remain in stable condition. The Minister for Health is here today to share the specifics. 

We should celebrate these recoveries. But we should do so knowing Fiji’s recovery from this virus is still months’ away at best. We can get there –– we will get there –– day by day, test by test, and recovery by recovery. I know it’s not always easy. It’s not easy to keep children at home. It’s not easy to manage shopping, care-giving and bread-winning, while also adhering to all of our directives. It’s not easy to go without seeing friends and family for social gatherings. But these directives save lives. I assure you, when our victory over this virus arrives, every measure of our diligence –– and every short-term sacrifice –– will have been well worth it. 

Thank you. God bless you all. 

Statement by Hon. Prime Minister Bainimarama on New COVID-19 Cases in Fiji, Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Bula vinaka. 
 
This morning, after testing another 25 samples overnight at our molecular lab, we have confirmed a single new case of COVID-19 in Fiji. 
 
Our newly-confirmed case of coronavirus is the husband of an existing patient from Lautoka –– the Zumba classmate of patient number one. This was a case we have expected for some time and, thankfully, this 33-year-old gentleman did not develop any symptoms until after he was safely in isolation and posed no risk to the public. This is the sixth confirmed transmission that can be traced back to our first case.
 
There are now 15 cases of COVID-19 in Fiji. All of our patients remain in stable condition. 
 
You’ll recall the Fijian national who our fever-screening team discovered had travelled from Uruguay and smuggled his way into Lautoka. His travel history, paired with a fever and other symptoms, raised serious red flags, and jeopardised the lifting of restrictions in some areas of Lautoka –– for those reasons we locked down the Kashmir area in Lautoka where he resided. 
 
Despite his irresponsible behavior, which will still be investigated, he was among the 24 tests last night that came back negative –– meaning all of the Lautoka confined area now has the freedom to move into and out of the area, including the Kashmir area. 
 
But the lifting of the lockdown does not mean life is going back to normal; it’s not cause for celebration or an excuse to play loose with the rules. The 8pm to 5am nationwide curfew applies everywhere. The ban on all social gatherings applies everywhere. The requirement to keep a safe distance of two metres applies everywhere. Our Police officers are stepping up surveillance in Lautoka from today to make sure no one takes this as an opportunity to skirt any of our directives. 
 
It was the people of Lautoka who helped make our latest fever-screening effort so effective, and it is those same people who we will depend on to continue to act responsibly and keep the area safe and healthy. So, if you see any rule-breaking, speak up. If you feel symptoms, visit a fever clinic or call 158. 
 
Given this virus struck Fiji in cyclone season, we knew from the start we had to weather-proof our COVID-19 containment efforts to the very real possibility of a severe storm striking Fiji. Thank God we have, as Cyclone Harold –– a category five cyclone currently rivaling the strength of TC Winston –– is currently wreaking havoc on our Pacific brothers and sisters in Vanuatu. Tomorrow, the cyclone will enter Fijian waters, and we can expect strong winds and heavy rains in the Yasawa and Mamanuca groups, Viti Levu, Kadavu, the Lomaiviti Group and the Southern Lau Group. 
 
If any areas under lockdown see serious flooding and need to be evacuated, we have contingency plans in place to prevent any mixing between evacuees and Fijians who are close contacts of existing COVID-positive patients –– so you should have no hesitation in evacuating as normal if flooding poses a risk. All evacuation centres will also be sanitised, and regularly monitored to ensure that they are not filled beyond capacity.
 
Through this storm, I want to again stress that the directives given by our authorities are not voluntary. They are not suggestions. They are orders that must be followed, for your safety and the safety of those around you.
 
Cyclones can kill, and so can coronavirus. So, as we combat these two life-threatening crises, it’s vital that every Fijian do exactly what they are told to do by authorities. Stay away from floodwaters. If you’ve been directed to evacuate, please do so while the sun is out. If you have notbeen told to move, do the right thing and stay put at home. 
 
Over the past few days, as news has emerged of those who have violated the rules meant to keep us safe, I’ve shared the anger and frustration of many Fijians. But I don’t want any of us to lose sight of the remarkable stories of solidarity that have emerged from this crisis. 
 
This past Saturday, our national carrier, Fiji Airways, organised a charter flight on board an A350 which safely carried 300 missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from Nadi to Utah in the United States. Before departing for the U.S., Fiji Airways organised regional flights from across the Pacific to bring these missionaries to Nadi ahead of their trans-Pacific flight to Salt Lake City. 
 
On the flight from Kiribati to Nadi, 11 Fijians were able to fly back home to Fiji. To cut the weight of cargo and allow these 11 Fijians to make it aboard, 68 missionaries left their bags and possessions behind in Kiribati. Thanks to their sacrifice, these Fijians are all safely back in Fiji, where they’ll be reunited with their families after a mandatory two-week quarantine. 
 
That, my friends, is a profound demonstration of what it means to put humanity first and what it means to have love and compassion for your fellow human beings. Not only in words, but in action. Because while thisf virus can shut borders, keep us at home and even take lives, it cannot rob us of our humanity. It cannot diminish the love we hold for others, regardless of who they are, where they come from or the faith they follow. 
 
Vinaka to all who helped bring these 11 Fijians home. In the weeks and months to come, serious sacrifices may be demanded from all of us –– as long as we use compassion as our guiding principle, there is no challenge we –– the Fijian people –– cannot overcome. 
 
Vinaka vakalevu, thank you. God Bless Fiji.

Statement by Hon. Prime Minister J.V. Bainimarama on New COVID-19 Cases in Fiji, Monday, 6 April 2020

Bula Vinaka.

Yesterday, the Christian calendar marked Palm Sunday –– an occasion that many Fijians spent together with loved ones, surrounded by family in the quiet comfort of their homes.

But this Sunday, in the lockdown areas of Lautoka, Suva and Soasoa, hundreds of our Fiji Police officers and RFMF personnel spent the rainy weekend conducting COVID-19 protection operations –– ensuring that the Fijian people kept to our health protection directives. Their sense of patriotic duty, once again, showed us the power of the spirit of “vei lomani” –– that profound sense of love and devotion to the protection of our people. 
 
Our police officers had to make more than a few arrests over the weekend, but the number of arrests for curfew breaches on Sunday night fell to 21 from 110 the night prior. So, I want to give credit to the vast majority of Fijians who respected our rules and kept themselves and their loved ones at home. Let’s get that number down to zero.
 
You’ve heard me say this time and again: Stay at Home. Save Lives. I know it’s not always easy, but staying at home is the best way we beat this virus. It is also the best way all of us can honour the sacrifices of our officers and our healthcare heroes serving in on the frontlines of the war against coronavirus in our hospitals, fever clinics, contact tracing teams and isolation wards. Trust me, these Fijians wish they could be at home. Instead, they are putting their lives and wellbeing on the line to lock down this virus for good.

 Around the world, the virus shows few signs of abating. Confirmed cases have surged past 1.2 million. More families are being robbed of loved ones every day as the global death count approaches 70,000. And hard-working people are watching their jobs and businesses disappear as the world economy suffers the most severe recession of our lifetimes.

Yesterday, after a second round of confirmation testing, Fiji confirmed that our 12th case of COVID-19 was, in fact, the daughter-in-law of case number nine –– the gentleman in Labasa who returned from India on the 22nd of March. And, this morning, we have confirmed an additional two cases of the virus in Fiji.

The first new case is the wife of the gentleman from Labasa. She was taken into isolation two days before being diagnosed positive this morning.

The second new case is the sister of Fiji’s very first case, the flight attendant from Lautoka. This was a case we have long been expecting. She is the young mother of an existing case –– the COVID-positive one-year old baby boy –– and she chose to stay in isolation with her child to continue to breastfeed and care for him. She has been in isolation since the 19th of March, when our first case tested positive.

Both cases are close contacts of previous patients, and both were already in isolation when their symptoms developed and they tested positive. So, luckily, the risk of further transmission is very low.

Yesterday, our fever testing team screened the temperatures of nearly 10,000 Fijians in the Lautoka confined area –– several of whom were running a fever, which in itself isn’t necessarily a cause for alarm. But upon further investigation, we discovered that one of these fevers belonged to a man who was not only displaying other symptoms, but also had a recent travel history –– a history he was hiding from officials. 

He arrived in Fiji on the 24th of March from Uruguay, transiting through Singapore. Now, you might be wondering how this gentleman arrived in Lautoka when the lockdown came into effect on the 19th of March. After further questioning, we discovered that he had in fact smuggled his way into the confined area. Once inside, it appears he remained within a set area in Lautoka. Now that he’s showing symptoms, our contact tracing teams are determining how many Fijians he may have put at-risk. 

We’ll learn the results of his COVID-19 test tomorrow morning. In the meantime, our contact tracing team has determined the area in which this gentleman stayed. So, we plan to lift the lockdown of the broader Lautoka confined area tomorrow at 0500 hours. But, we will also be announcing a new confined area within Lautoka based on this gentleman’s movements.  These details will be announced tomorrow.

It’s the bad news that usually makes headlines –– but let’s not forget: Most people in the Lautoka confined area actually have been doing the right thing. We’re grateful to these Fijians inside and outside the checkpoints who have been riding out –– what I know –– has been a difficult 18 days. Your patience and your diligence has helped us effectively trace and isolate cases –– so by staying inside and playing by the rules, you have saved lives. 

This morning, Tropical Cyclone Harold intensified into a category five cyclone, with Vanuatu in its immediate path, with parts of Fiji also at risk. 

Fiji can expect heavy rains and flooding from Cyclone Harold from tomorrow –– meaning floodwaters and road closures will likely add a new layer of complexity to our containment efforts.

Meanwhile, we cannot allow severe weather to jeopardise our life-saving game plan to lock this virus down. We are preparing to face two crises at once –– the only way we beat both is if every Fijian adheres closely to the directives from authorities. Our disciplined forces will be giving orders, not advice –– and they won’t tolerate disobedience. So, do what you’re told to do. Your life and the lives of those you love depend on it.

I’ve said that our essential healthcare workers are heroes for their role in dealing with COVID-19. When I tell you to follow every directive we give, I’m saying it for them. They have enough to worry about already, without those who are breaking quarantine, violating curfew or otherwise acting recklessly. Stop making their lives difficult, when they’re working so hard to save yours. Listen to what we are telling you, and do the right thing. Do it for the doctors, do it for the nurses, do it for the police officers and disciplined forces. Do it for your livelihoods, do it for your businesses, and do it for your freedom of movement. 

Do it for Fiji.

Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you. God Bless Fiji. 

Statement by Hon. Prime Minister J.V. Bainimarama on New COVID-19 Cases in Fiji, Thursday, 2 April 2020

Bula Vinaka, members of the media. 
 
As you may have noticed, we have a new mic set-up for reporters to use so that everyone watching can hear your questions. You’ll also see we’ve strictly designated where members of the media can stand in the interest of putting physical distancing into practice. So, keep your distance back there. Seriously. 
 
This is the latest on Fiji’s war against coronavirus. As of today the 2nd of April, the first five COVID-19 patients remain in stable condition. None have been cleared as recovered. 
 
This morning, we confirmed two new cases of COVID-19 in Fiji. Our sixth case is a 21-year-old woman and our seventh case is her 33-year-old husband. Again, our medical teams were well-prepared to get to these patients quickly, test them and move them securely and hygienically into isolation. 

The two individuals are a couple living together in the Nabua Settlement in Suva. The sixth patient –– the 21-year-old wife –– developed symptoms on Saturday, the 28th of March. She informed the Ministry of Health on the 1st of April. Our teams visited her home, and tested her that same day. Her partner, the 33-year-old husband reported symptoms on the 31st of March. He was tested the same day as his wife. 
 

It’s important to note that the symptoms of these two newest cases started with just a runny nose when they called the Ministry of Health for testing. I can’t stress enough –– if you have any symptoms at all, even something as minor as a runny nose, immediately dial 158, our new, 24-hour toll-free coronavirus helpline. 
 
Both patients have been transported securely and hygienically in an ambulance to the Navua Hospital Isolation Ward where both are in stable condition. The couple shared a home with their daughter; she has been taken into isolation as well. 
 
Our contact tracing teams are now identifying all of their close contacts and directing them into self-quarantine. 
 
My fellow Fijians, it appears that our newest two cases are unrelated to our first five cases. We’re actively identifying all of these individuals’ close contacts. We’ve identified a contact who lived at home with these two patients after returning from India as the likeliest transmitter of the virus. This person has been placed into isolation in Labasa Hospital, but we cannot comment further until testing confirms this person as the source. 
 
Some of these two patients’ personal details were –– unfortunately –– leaked to the public. I’ve just come from the Ministry of Health, I can tell you their staff are devastated that someone is leaking confidential information. These leaks have made their jobs far more difficult and every time people on Facebook share this leaked information, they do so at the expense of the doctors, nurses and other medical staff trying their absolute best to inform the public in an accurate and timely manner.  The Police are currently investigating this matter –– when they find whoever did the leak, they will be taken to task. 


These two new cases are the most serious developments to-date. Unlike our other case in the Suva area who was immediately self-quarantined and then isolated, there is a high risk these patients have infected others, as they not only lived in close contact with other families in their settlement, but served in very public-facing job: Both patients worked as hairdressers, one at the Jade Salon at FNPF Plaza and the other at the Super Cuts in Damodar City Suva. We’ve been informed both individuals stopped working from the 28th of March, but witness accounts have thrown those accounts into doubt. We need to respond as if both individuals were working while showing symptoms, and take assertive action to contain the virus. 
 
That is why, just as we did in the Lautoka confined area, all of the greater Suva area will be going on lockdown –– a tactic that we’re embracing because it has proven effective in containing the spread. We’ve drawn up the borders of a Suva confined area –– as you can see on the map behind me. For a period of 14 days, we’ll be closing off entry and exit at the following checkpoints, starting from 5am tomorrow morning, the 3rd of April: the Delanavesi Bridge on the Queen’s Road, the Sawani Junction, and the Nausori Bridge. 
 
Within the greater Suva confined area: 
 The greater public will not be allowed in or out – only those traveling for medical purposes will be allowed through checkpoints. 

All non-essential businesses will be closed. 

Supermarkets and shops selling food will remain open so that people can buy food. 

Restaurants can remain open, so long as they cut seating capacity below 20 people, practice safe physical distancing between tables and at queues, and must focus on takeaway and delivery orders.  

Banks will remain open so that people can get money. 

Pharmacies will remain open so that people can get medicine. 

FNPF will remain open so that people can access funds. 

Essential business will remain open. Just like Lautoka, that list includes air and rescue services, air traffic control services, civil aviation, telecommunication services, food and sanitary manufacturing plants, electricity services, emergency services, fire services, health and hospital services, lighthouse services, meteorological services, mine pumping, ventilation and winding, sanitary services, supply and distribution of fuel and gas, power, telecommunications, garbage collection, transport services, water and sewage services, FNPF and FRCS, civil service, private security services and roading services. If your business is not on this list, close it down. As for civil servants, continue to go to work unless your Permanent Secretary has informed you to work from home.

Markets will remain open but – as Minister Kumar has explained on earlier occasions –– we are decentralising markets into satellite markets to prevent the sort of dangerous overcrowding that spurs the spread of the virus; and 

Given some Fijians need to seek specialised treatment at facilities in Suva, the checkpoints will allow these individuals who need to undergo surgery or receive kidney dialysis treatment. 

  In order to ensure resident in greater Suva area can access life-sustaining services:

  • The port of Suva will remain open for international freight shipping and inter-island cargo shipping; any passenger travel, however, remains forbidden; and 
  • We will implement the same AMA arrangement we introduced in the Lautoka confined area to get food and produce into the Suva confined area. At all three checkpoints, suppliers can arrange with a police driver to ensure that produce still comes into Suva, and we don’t let the virus escape the confined area. 

 
The point is, food and essential goods will remain on the shelves of our shops and supermarkets. Do not run to the supermarkets and buy up goods this afternoon – doing so will crowd these stores and put every shopper at-risk. 
 
Nationwide, more health protection measures will be coming into effect:

  • From tomorrow night, the 3rd of April, our nationwide curfew will now begin earlier, starting at 8pm and extending until 5am. If you’re travelling for work or as a result of a medical emergency, you can travel during these hours.
  • Otherwise, don’t add your name to the ever-growing list of violators. 
  • Also from tomorrow, the 3rd of April, social gatherings will be banned entirely, everywhere in Fiji. Our 20 person limit now applies only to the workplace. Two people, three people, it doesn’t matter –– no more social gatherings. Do not have visitors over to your homes. Your interactions should be limited entirely to those already living in your households. If you’re missing a friend or loved one, do the safe thing and call them on the phone. If you need to walk around or exercise you may do so, but keep a safe distance of two metres from other people while outside. 
  • Bus operators, drivers, and riders must take measures to ensure physical distancing is practiced on all of Fiji’s buses. Spread out as much as possible, sanitise your seats, and do not come into contact with others.  

 As you know we’ve extended the restrictions locking down the Lautoka confined area until at least 5am on Tuesday, the 7th of April. But we’re making a couple of small changes: 
Restaurants can now operate, so long as they follow our safety guidelines, focusing on safe physical distancing and takeaway and delivery services; and The boundaries of the confined area will be open to those who are seeking emergency medical care or kidney dialysis. Under close police escort, these individuals travel from the checkpoints directly to Lautoka Hospital. 

My fellow Fijians, I’m confident the vast majority of people watching know we cannot afford to lose the war against this virus. I know most Fijians are following and respecting the rules we’ve put in place –– but too many still aren’t. So, if you’ve been sitting in Suva feeling as if this virus isn’t your problem, or that somehow your behaviour hasn’t needed to change –– get a grip. This virus is here and it is serious. Anyone, anywhere could be a carrier. If people follow the government’s directives, we will lock this virus down and win this war. If people don’t, many people will die. It is just that simple. 
 
There is no “magic bullet” to defeat COVID-19. There is no vaccine. There is no quick-fix, and there is no cure. There is only one strategy that’s proven to stop coronavirus, and that is changing our behaviour right now to stop its spread. 
 
As we’ve been saying for weeks: every person in Fiji needs to keep a safe distance of two metres between yourself and all others at all times. Whether you live in Lautoka, Suva, or anywhere in Fiji: Stay at home unless it is absolutely necessary that you leave. If you are leaving your home, ask yourself: Does my life or my livelihood depend on what I’m doing? If the answer is no, get back indoors and stay there – staying home saves lives. 
 
Report any symptoms you’re feeling as soon as they develop by calling our COVID-19 Call Centre on toll-free number 158 or visit one of our fever clinics. Stop sharing bilos and takis. Stop shaking hands, touching, and embracing. Stop the touch rugby matches and other close contact with others. Wash your hands with soap and water, for 20 seconds, multiple times a day. 
 
We’re closely watching the behaviour of all Fijians, and if these habits aren’t changed on your own accord, we aren’t afraid to scale up our enforcement to contain COVID-19. We can achieve this one of two ways: By your willing cooperation, or by heavy-handed action. For every Fijian, this will be much easier if you follow our directives –– but if not, we will be forced to crack down with a nationwide 24-hour curfew.
 
By the grace of God, and likely by virtue of our young population, all of Fiji’s first seven cases have been in young, healthy patients. But this isn’t always going to be the case. Make no mistake, if Fijians don’t change their behaviour, the elderly and vulnerable will be infected, and we will see a sharp rise in cases and, likely, deaths.
 
Come tomorrow, the world will pass one million confirmed cases of COVID-19. The real numbers are likely much higher, as countries across the globe –– with healthcare systems that are stretched thin –– are only able to confirm the most severe cases upon hospitalisation.
 
Fiji was one of the last countries on Earth to confirm cases, so we were blessed to have a glimpse into the future, and how bad this pandemic can become if society fails to act. It would be foolish, and self-destructive, to waste this blessing, and willingly choose inaction when we can literally see our own fate unfold on the news in China, Italy, Spain, and the United States of America.
 
If Fijians do not take this seriously, that will be our reality. We don’t know how long our national borders will be closed, because no one can say for certain how long it will be until the world rids itself of this virus. But we must take every day one at a time, not as a reason for despair, but as an opportunity for containment. Our greatest hope is in the hands of every Fijian; please, for the fate of our country and those we love, do what we’ve directed you to do. Don’t let this opportunity go to waste.
 
Vinaka vakalevu. Thank you, and God bless Fiji. 

Statement by the Hon. Prime Minister J.V. Bainimarama on Fiji’s Fifth Confirmed Case of COVID-19, Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Statement-by-Hon.-Prime-Minister-J.V.-Bainimarama-on-Fijis-Fifth-Confirmed-Case-of-COVID-19-Wednesday-25-March-2020