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


Announcement to Fiji Airways Reserve List Passengers (Narita/Nadi Flight) – Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Bula Vinaka.

The Fiji Embassy in Tokyo is in the process of compiling details of Fiji Nationals residing in Japan who had booked their flight to Fiji via Fiji Airways, however due to the cancellation of flights amidst COVID-19, have been listed on Fiji Airways reserve list.

If you have already paid/booked/reserved your tickets to either fly from Narita to Nadi in the month of March or April, you are kindly requested to email Mr Ashneel Shankar, Second Secretary on the following (email: with a copy of your travel itinerary no later than by 2pm on Thursday, 26 March 2020.

Your usual support is highly appreciated.

Statement by Hon. Prime Minister J.V. Bainimarama on Fiji’s Fourth Confirmed Case of COVID-19 – Tuesday, 24 March 2020


Statement by Hon. Prime Minister Bainimarama on Fiji’s Third Confirmed Case of COVID-19 – Monday, 23 March 2020


Statement by the Hon. Prime Minister J.V. Bainimarama on Fiji’s Second Confirmed Case of Covid-19 – Saturday, 21 March 2020


Statement from the Attorney-General and Minister Responsible for Civil Aviation on Suspension of Fiji Airways International Flight Routes – Friday, 20 March 2020

In light of the unprecedented impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic on the aviation industry, our national carrier, Fiji Airways, has announced a suspension schedule for 95% of its international flight routes. This is the most stringent scale back in the airline’s 68-year history. 
Fiji Link domestic services will remain in effect but may be adjusted depending on demand. To continue to assist importers and exporters, Fiji Airways is actively seeking advanced commitments to facilitate weekly freight service flights from Nadi-Los Angeles, Nadi-Sydney and Nadi-Auckland. Those looking to take advantage of this service should contact Fiji Airways Head of Cargo Operations Athil Narayan by e-mail at or phone at 9908129.
The suspension schedule on passenger travel will come into effect as follows: 

– Fiji Airways will operate one Nadi-Sydney return service on Saturday 21 March and Sunday 22 March, and suspend the service after that. Nadi-Los Angeles return services will operate on Saturday 21 March and Sunday 22 March, and be suspended after the last Los Angeles-Nadi flight returns to Fiji on 24 March.

– Fiji Airways will operate the last return Auckland-Nadi service on Sunday 22 March. The final South Pacific return services between Nadi or Suva and Nuku’alofa, Honiara and Funafuti will operate on Saturday 21 March.
– Return services between Nadi and Brisbane, Melbourne, Christchurch, Wellington, Hong Kong, Tokyo (Narita), Apia, Tarawa, Christmas Island (Kiritimati), Vava’u, San Francisco and Honolulu are suspended immediately.
– Direct return services between Suva and Sydney, Auckland and Port Vila, along with services between Apia-Honolulu and Christmas Island (Kiritimati)-Honolulu are also suspended with immediate effect.
– Twice-weekly services between Singapore and Nadi will continue.
This suspension schedule will remain in place through the end of May 2020, where further travel restrictions may be announced if deemed necessary. Fiji Airways will be contacting customers affected by this suspension schedule directly over the coming days.
Anyone who –– due to the confinement order in place in the Lautoka confined area –– will be unable to make their pre-scheduled flights (domestic or international) will be not be charged fees or penalised.
Fiji Airways is working closely with foreign embassies and governments to arrange for one-off repatriation flights to and from Sydney, Auckland, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Hong Kong to allow foreign nationals to safely return home and permit Fijian citizens living abroad to return to Fiji. 
All passengers, including all Fijians, arriving from overseas destinations will be screened prior to boarding and medically checked on arrival to Fiji. Upon arrival, these passengers will all be required to undergo 14 days of self-quarantine, in line with the Fijian Government’s sweeping measures to prevent a large-scale outbreak of COVID-19 in Fiji. 
The repatriation flights schedule and booking options can be found on Fiji Airways website.   
In light of these suspensions, Fiji Airways has announced they will be re-assessing future staffing requirements. The Fijian Government remains committed to ensuring that employees throughout the country who are impacted by the global COVID-19 economic crisis have their rights upheld and best interests protected.

Statement by Hon. Prime Minister on First Case of COVID-19, 19 March 2020