NEWS

Measles Outbreak: No Travel Restrictions Confirms Health Ministry

This is after some health centres have told people being vaccinated that they needed a certificate before they could leave the country. People were told that without the certificate, which should record two vaccinations in four weeks, they would not be allowed to leave.
15 Nov 2019 13:00
Measles Outbreak: No Travel Restrictions Confirms Health Ministry
Ministry of Health and Medical Services Dr Aalisha Sahu Khan.

Fijians and visitors can travel in and out of the country despite the measles outbreak, the Ministry of Health and Medical Services has clarified.

This is after some health centres have told people being vaccinated that they needed a certificate before they could leave the country. People were told that without the certificate, which should record two vaccinations in four weeks, they would not be allowed to leave.

Head of Health Protection at the Ministry of Health and Medical Services Dr Aalisha Sahu Khan said this was not correct. She said there was no restriction on travel.

She emphasised that the best control was to vaccinate those around the infected person.

“Measles has not spread as fast as in other countries because of the immunisation programme in Fiji,” she said. This is referred to as herd immunisation. Dr Sahu Khan admitted that while health inspectors were present at the port of entries, identifying those with measles was a difficult task.

She said people must be honest when filling their arrival documents.

“We know that border patrol has not worked well when it has come to infectious diseases, especially diseases like measles because there is a period of time where they don’t show any symptoms. They will pass through the border anyway,” she said.

When the outbreak of the disease was announced in New Zealand, Fiji had started taking precautions in May. New Zealand, with the most frequent visitors to and from Fiji, was where the measles outbreak started and then spread to Samoa and Tonga.

“We cannot stop someone from coming into Fiji. What we can control is the control of that disease,” Dr Sahu Khan said

This was shown in the preparedness and the steps taken to control the outbreak in the Serua and Namosi province.

Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said Fiji did not wait for the disease to reach here.

“We also know that measles start with symptoms like cold, running and fever, or a cough and a lot of people who travel will have these symptoms and we cannot stop everybody with these symptoms from entering.

“Our main focus and control is that we are able to detect this disease quickly and respond. Making sure that we have good herd immunity and good vaccination coverage.”

So far, the Serua and Namosi province has 95 per cent coverage. However, the fifth case has no link to Wailali in Wainadoi where the outbreak started. The fifth person is a resident of Dalia in Navua.

People who are travelling internationally are being asked to get vaccinated as well.

Once they are vaccinated they are issued with a certificate saying they have received the doses.

No one will be stopped from leaving the country if they have not been vaccinated.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: shalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj­­­­

Fijisun E-edition
Tanoa Waterfront Lautoka Fiji
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
error: