Fiji’s Travel Protocols Could Change Overnight: Dr Fong

In the case of Australia’s detected case, he said tests are still being done to confirm that it is the new variant.
29 Nov 2021 10:12
Fiji’s Travel Protocols Could Change Overnight: Dr Fong
Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Dr. James Fong. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Nothing is certain and we will change travel protocols overnight as we receive more information about the newly- reported Omicron variant.

That is the message from Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services Dr James Fong yesterday as Fiji welcomes overseas tourists into the country on Wednesday.

“December 1st will go ahead as planned but things could change very quickly depending on the circumstances. It could even change tonight if something happens tonight,” Dr Fong said.

“We are waiting for more information on transmissibility, whether the variant causes more severe disease and whether it escapes immunity.

“From what I’ve been told a lot of the scientists are predicting that they’ll be able to sort out something in the next seven days.”

In the case of Australia’s detected case, he said tests are still being done to confirm that it is the new variant.

“Nothing is 100 per cent right now. Australia and other travel partner countries have cases in quarantine and many of those travel partner countries also have more stringent entry or border conditions for people coming in from Southern African countries.

“We expect to benefit from the filtering that is done by our Travel Partner Countries as long as cases are only caught in quarantine. If it’s a community transmission then it’s another story.”

In a statement, Dr Fong said the Ministry is establishing genomic sequencing capacity within the Fiji Centre for Disease Control to process any positive samples of concern.

Government has since strengthened entry conditions for inbound travellers from red list countries.

Fijians travelling from red list countries including Southern African states:

  • Travellers must be fully vaccinated with one of Fiji’s approved vaccines;
  • Travellers must undergo escalated pre-departure protocols, which include self-isolation for the five days prior to travel under the oversight of the employer or sponsor and test negative on day 5 and within 72 hours prior to departure; and
  • On arrival to Fiji, the quarantine period for travellers from red list countries will increase to 14 days with a PCR test done on arrival on day 5 and on day 12.

Meanwhile, entry conditions for tourists from travel partner countries remain.



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