COVID-19 | NEWS

COVID-19: 24-Hour Curfew Threat

A 24-hour national curfew will be imposed if Fijians continue to violate quarantine and curfew restrictions by this week. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama made this warning yesterday. He said the
05 Apr 2020 09:33
COVID-19: 24-Hour Curfew Threat
Prime Minister Voreqe Baninimarama with Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho during the COVID-19 press conference at Suvavou House in Suva on April 4, 2020. Photo: Kelera Sovasiga

A 24-hour national curfew will be imposed if Fijians continue to violate quarantine and curfew restrictions by this week. Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama made this warning yesterday.

He said the level of lawlessness that Fijians continue to display despite the numerous advice and warnings was irresponsible, un- Fijian and just plain stupid.

Prime Minister Bainimarama said: “If we don’t see our fever testing numbers go dramatically up, and we don’t see the numbers of our curfew and quarantine violations go dramatically down, we will initiate a nationwide 24-hour curfew. Stay at home and save lives.

“We are at war with the most devastating global pandemic in 100 years and any disobedience in our ranks will cost us lives.

“We don’t care who you are; rules are rules. Break them, and you will be found and punished,” he said.

He made these comments as he revealed the latest five confirmed cases, which takes the number of COVID-19 cases in the country up to 12.

This is the single largest jump the country has recorded on COVID-19 cases in a day.

􀂄 Patient number eight was the person of interest in cases number six and seven.

“As we expected, the father-in-law has indeed tested positive for the virus. He likely became infected at a large religious gathering he attended while overseas in India.

“Upon returning to Fiji, he spent five days in the Nabua Settlement, and he then made his way by boat to Vanua Levu. He then travelled to his home in Soasoa.

“He is currently in stable condition in our isolation ward at Labasa Hospital.”

Mr Bainimarama said the patient had not followed the directives about entering into Government-mandated home quarantine and affected those in his family.

He said the contact tracing teams were in the process of identifying all other individuals who came into contact with this person.

􀂄 Case number nine is the 11-year-old daughter of cases six and seven – the couple who is in the isolation facility in Navua.

She had been with them and eventually developed symptoms while in isolation and was confirmed on April 3.

She remains in isolation with her parents at the Navua Hospital.

􀂄 Case number 10 is a 39-year-old female of Natokowaqa in Lautoka.

The patient is the sister of the patient who contracted the virus from a Zumba session, which case number one was in. She is in isolation and in a stable condition and under the care of the team in the hospital.

􀂄 Case number 11 is a 20-year-old lady of Nadi who had recently travelled to Auckland, New Zealand, and returned to Fiji on March 22.

The patient followed strict home quarantine measures and was tested positive on April 2.

She remains in a stable condition and is in isolation at the Nadi Hospital.

􀂄 The 12th patient is a relative of the eighth patient from Labasa.

Prime Minister Bainimarama said: “Even if we throw every dollar we have into this effort, even if we direct every Police officer in the country to force our people to stay in their homes, the Government cannot win this war alone. We need you, every person watching or listening, and every person in your lives to take responsibility for our nationwide response.

SOASOA AREA LOCKDOWN

The Prime Minister also added that a lockdown of a 240-square-metre portion of Soasoa area on Vanua Levu will take effect as contact tracing teams continue their work in the area.

“The surrounding homes, and neighbours he came into contact with, will be under this contained area.

“If it’s determined that the spread has risked going beyond these boundaries, we will expand them accordingly.”

BUSINESSES THAT WILL REMAIN OPEN

Attorney-General and Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum had also announced classifications of a number of businesses that will reopen as of tomorrow.

This, he said, included certain textile and clothing industries that had the ability to do social distancing within their operations and still had demands or to complete orders.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said container and cartage supply logistics would also continue to operate with the dire need for trucks to operate and supply goods to warehouse or to supermarkets.

“Businesses for support services to the fuel industries will remain open. This, of course, includes the cartage of the fuel, but more so, should there be any maintenance required or repairs made to oil pipelines that these operations can be made to function also.

“We have Information Technology suppliers. This does not mean the retail shops will be opened. Those people, for example, who provide annual maintenance contracts, those people who supply services in respect to any system crashing so they can of course, attend to these ICT related matters will remain open.

“Gas supply will not be affected, you need gas to cook, particularly urban areas that need cooking gas that needs to be supplied so these gas operations will be allowed to operate, applicable to Suva and Lautoka lockdown areas.

“There are certain beverage companies that do actually export out of Fiji and into other Pacific Islands. They will be allowed to operate including the manufacturers of cigarettes and in respect of the things like chicken feed, people do need access to chicken feed, fertiliser, and hardware services.

“We have allowed insurance companies, construction sector within the confined area, Ram Sami and Sons.

“Shipping companies that have been allowed to cross the border to do the right swaps to ensure we continue supplies to the rest of the islands.”

He said the Royal Fiji Military Forces and Fiji Police Force would have the list of all those businesses who would continue to operate.

“The idea is to have life in those essential areas continue, but at the same time, not compromising the social distancing that is required.”

FNPF EXPANDS HELP

Fiji National Provident Fund chief executive officer Jaoji Koroi said: “As of next Thursday, the fund will be allowing taxi drivers that had been affected by the COVID-19 crisis to apply for the COVID-19 assistance scheme through the fund.

“They will have to get us a completed COVID-19 assistance form and a copy of their permit from the taxi owners together with an authorisation from the owner that he/she is the driver.”

He also said that assistance was allowed to self-employed individuals.

“Those self-employed, or had been working from home, are also assisted in this scheme and they need to bring in a completed form, copy of tax compliance certificate and a valid business license.

“Those are some of the conditions that will be available to apply for a $1000 subject to the availability of funds in their general accounts.” Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feedback: inoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj




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