NATION

Coronavirus Outbreak: 81 Chinese On Board Cruiseship Safe

Yesterday, 81 Chinese nationals that arrived into Dravuni, Kadavu on Tuesday and Suva via cruise liner Majestic Princess yesterday were marked safe by health officials.
30 Jan 2020 12:55
Coronavirus Outbreak: 81 Chinese On Board Cruiseship Safe
Relevant authorities have put in place necessary measures to address the global concern for the spread of coronavirus reaching Fiji. Photo: Nicolette Chambers

 

The relevant authorities continue to put in place necessary measures to address the global concern for the spread of the coronavirus reaching Fiji.

Yesterday, 81 Chinese nationals that arrived into Dravuni, Kadavu on Tuesday and Suva via cruise liner Majestic Princess yesterday were marked safe by health officials.

The Minister for Health and Medical Services Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete and cruise liner agents Kenua Fiji manager Leone Naivalu said they carried out the necessary procedures.

“For the arrival of cruise ships, we have the same procedures as the one we carry out in our airports,” Dr Waqainabete said.

“We look through all their arrival cards and if anyone was from Wuhan city or any other province of concern, we do the necessary screenings and quarantine,” he said.

Mr Naivalu said: “The ship did not visit China. However all necessary tests were done by the medical team on board Majestic Princess.

“The medical team on board does all the necessary tests before passengers disembark.”

Cancellation requests

The Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association said Fiji has already received cancellation requests for group and independent travellers from Mainland China.

Association chief executive officer Fantasha Lockington said the cancellation requests come in light of the  suspension of all outbound travels from China by China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

The Ministry issued a circular on Sunday suspending all travel in an effort to reduce passenger flows.

Travel agencies and online travel service providers were told to cancel group tours and travel packages.

The circular also specified that the legitimate requests of travellers to adjust travel schedules and ask for a refund should be addressed appropriately.

“We know that outbound group travels have been suspended and though it is only supposed to affect outbound group travels Fiji has already received cancellation requests for both group and independent travel,” Ms Lockington said in an interview with Pacific Beat.

“We are taking the cautionary approach which is to allow all requested cancellations to take place and to look out for and provide options for future travel so they can rebook when they want to.”

She said January and Februarywere months when Fiji had large visitor arrivals from China and the travel ban would have some impact on tourist numbers.

“Fiji does not have direct flights to China so it does not see big numbers. The Chinese visitors make up five per cent of our total inbound visitors and the spike that we see usually happens around the end of January and February,” she said.

“The numbers will not be affecting Fiji’s numbers as much, however having said that, this is the time of year in Fiji that is considered the low season so any number of visitors is a good thing for the country generally.”

Australia has confirmed cases of the coronavirus and there are concerns within the tourism industry that Australia can potentially become a transit route for the deadly virus.

“Yes, that would be a concern and I think many of us in the tourism industry are keeping a very very close eye on that.

“Australia is our biggest market 42 per cent to 41 per cent last year was our total visitor arrivals from out of Australia so it would be of great concern to us if that could be a conduit pathway for the virus to come in but again, we have every confidence that the Australian authorities know what they are doing.”

Ground handling services

At the Nadi International Airport, the Air Terminal Services (ATS) provides all check-ins for passengers flying out of the airport and also out the majority of all ground handling services at the airport.

Chief executive officer, Hare Mani said: “ATS has been raising awareness with employees regarding the Coronavirus and has provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for employees it considers may be directly exposed to potential risks.

“ATS has purchased and made available to employees surgical gloves and face masks.

“The use of PPE at this stage is optional.

“ATS employees have been addressed on how to manage potential risks in executing their duties.”

Mr Mani said there was over 100 staff employed in the immediate airport compound.

“On many occasions, ATS has over 100 employees working in the immediate airport compound with even more employees within the adjacent ATS premises,” he said.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

Feedback: rosi.doviverata@fijisun.com.fj

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