Travel Restrictions In Lautoka, Schools And Non-Essential Businesses To Close From Midnight: PM

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama confirmed that the patient in question was identified, isolated and tested on Tuesday evening at the Lautoka Hospital.
19 Mar 2020 16:29
Travel Restrictions In Lautoka, Schools And Non-Essential Businesses To Close From Midnight: PM
Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

Stringent local travel restrictions will come into effect at midnight tonight for those living in Lautoka. This comes after the confirmation of the first COVID-19 case in Lautoka.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama confirmed that the patient in question was identified, isolated and tested on Tuesday evening at the Lautoka Hospital.

The patient remains under close medical supervision and he is in stable condition. The case was transmitted while he was travelling abroad, there remain zero confirmed cases of local transmission in Fiji.

Mr Bainimarama outlined the following in his address this afternoon:

“Starting tonight at midnight, all schools and non-essential businesses within the Greater Lautoka Area will be closed until further notice. We’re defining the Greater Lautoka Area as the area spanning from King’s Road at Nacilau Junction past Matawalu Village, to the feeder road at Vakabuli Junction, to the Queen’s Road at Natalau Junction. Banks, supermarkets and pharmacies –– and other essential businesses –– in the Greater Lautoka Area will remain open. Essential businesses include 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 and water and sewage services.

“Fijians who work –– but do not live –– in this area should report to the nearest office outside of the monitored area, regardless of whether their industry falls under the essential businesses list. If there is no branch of your company outside of the Greater Lautoka area, please contact your employer and government will, in the next few days, announce how your absence from work will be treated during this situation. We advise all employers to accommodate the needs of your employees and not make any employees redundant.

“Basically, if you are living in the Greater Lautoka Area, you will now stay in the Greater Lautoka Area. If you do not live in Greater Lautoka Area, you cannot travel there, even if you work there.

“By continuing these essential services, we will ensure the supply of food will continue to be available. In order to maintain food security, the Agriculture Marketing Authority will be buying fruits, vegetables and root crops at the border of the Greater Lautoka Area from the farmers and middle-men to be sold to the vendors for sale at local markets in the Greater Lautoka Area. The Minister for Agriculture will provide the specifics of this programme later today.

“Outside of these containment measures in the Greater Lautoka Area, our nationwide efforts to contain COVID-19 are also being drastically expanded, effective immediately. Gatherings of 20 or more people are now banned. Gatherings are defined as any assembly of individuals in a single location, including meetings, religious gatherings, such as church, mosque and temple services, and sports events.

“At this stage, workplaces, businesses and inter-island shipping services outside of Lautoka may remain open, buses and Fiji Link services can continue and schools – outside of Lautoka – will remain open. However, all Fijians should avoid all non-essential travel. Nightclubs, gyms, cinemas, swimming pools, fitness centres and even recreational contact sporting engagements –– which, by their nature, make personal space nearly impossible –– should also be closed and ceased everywhere in Fiji, effective immediately. For the time being, the judiciary will continue to function, but there will be no movement of people in remand centres into or out of the Greater Lautoka Area.

“We will also be establishing fever clinics in each Division, similar to what other countries have done to contain the virus at the local level. These clinics will be designed to keep people with fevers away from vulnerable people who visit Health Centres and into separate, dedicated spaces specially designed to effectively identify possible COVID-19 cases.

“This is an aggressive, proportionate and – most importantly – scalable response. All of these measures will be reviewed in 14 days’ time. Before then, measures may escalate if necessary as we monitor the situation, particularly the outcomes of our contact tracing.”

Mr Bainimarama also encouraged to practice social distancing – a safe distance of two metres from one another.

Fiji’s health relies on your help in our containment efforts.
If you are feeling unwell, or know someone who is feeling unwell, immediately contact the Health Ministry on one of these numbers:

In the Central Division call 2219905;
In the Eastern Division call 2219906;
In the Western Division call 2219907; and
In the Northern Division call 2219908.


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