NEWS

Dr Fong Clarifies COVID-19 Test Methods Ahead Of International Border Opening

“It will be the height of stupidity for us to reduce the amount of testing just to match the narrative of trying to open the border.”
07 Nov 2021 12:28
Dr Fong Clarifies COVID-19 Test Methods Ahead Of International Border Opening
Permanent Secretary Dr James Fong.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services has clarified that the ministry did not reduce or change its testing method to fit the narrative of opening international borders.

Permanent Secretary Dr James Fong on Tuesday said members of the public had asked him if he had been trying to right size the number of testing just so Fiji could open its borders.

“I have to say that will be a foolish thing for me to do,” Dr Fong said.

“It will be the height of stupidity for us to reduce the amount of testing just to match the narrative of trying to open the border.”

Dr Fong said the ministry does not test to quantify the case for the public.

“We don’t test so that we show that this is how big the problem is,” he said.

“That’s not our mandate, our mandate is just to test so that we can fix our response.”

“When we were in the containment phase, we needed to see the size of the problem so that we could work on our response.

“When we went into the mitigation phase, we needed to look for the person with the problem and screen around that person.

“So obviously the number of tests then dropped because we were looking for the human being that was tested. That’s the reason the number of tests dropped.”

 

Safe to open border?

He said to determine if it was safe to open the borders, the ministry studied the number of hospitalisations, the number of deaths, and the fact that there was good vaccination coverage.

“But the fact that we have a very few unvaccinated, has made it safer for us to open the borders,” Dr Fong said.

He said it made sense that they cannot hold the country down because a small number of people did not wish to be vaccinated.

“There will be a lot more suffering happening if we don’t move forward.”

Feedbackinoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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