Fiji stops police passes at containment zone borders as covid cases still rise

Fijians rush to get health passes
Fijians rushing to get health passes from the ministry in Suva. Image: Fijivillge News

By Vijay Narayan and Semi Turaga in Suva

Fiji’s Permanent Secretary for Health, Dr James Fong, has confirmed that the Health Ministry has stopped police passes being used at the pandemic containment zone borders.

As all efforts are being made to ensure that the covid-19 virus is contained, Dr Fong has also confirmed to Fijivillage News that the only recognised pass if any to move from one zone to the next will be the one approved by the Permanent Secretary for Health.

He says the police passes issued for access from one zone to the next from Monday to today would not be recognised.

Anybody in a containment zone in Lami, Suva, Nausori, Nadi and Lautoka was asked not to leave the containment zone they were in, with effect from 4am, April 26, 2021, unless authorised by the Permanent Secretary for Health and Medical Services.

This was clearly stated in the government gazette signed off by the Permanent Secretary for Health.

According to Dr Fong’s announcement last Sunday, that list included air and rescue services, air traffic control services, ports services, civil aviation, telecommunications, 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, garbage collection, transport services, water and sewage services, FNPF and FRCS, civil service, private security services and roading services.

Fijivillage stressed that people cannot just get a pass to cross the containment zone as it would defeat the purpose of haing a containment zone to block the virus if people were allowed to travel between one zone to the next.

Dr Fong said that people should not move from one zone to the next unless the ministry gave the approval after a risk assessment.

People should focus on accessing services within their own containment zone.

42 active covid cases
RNZ Pacific reports that Fiji had six more cases of covid-19, two in the community and four in border quarantine.

The Health Ministry said there were 42 active covid-19 cases in isolation, 18 in border quarantine and 24 community transmission cases.

While making the announcement at a media conference last night, the Health Secretary Dr James Fong said four of the six new cases were soldiers returning from peacekeeping duties overseas.

Dr Fong said some of the soldiers had been “fraternising among each other during their 14-day quarantine in the border quarantine facility”, which he added was against the rules.

He said the other two cases were family members of the woman from the Wainitarawau Settlement in Cunningham who contracted the virus after attending a funeral in Lautoka last week.

Dr Fong said the woman’s family had been admitted at the Navua Isolation Unit since last Wednesday, April 21.

He said they had all returned negative results on their first two tests in quarantine.

Fiji has 109 covid-19 cases, with 65 recovered and two deaths reported.

Vijay Narayan is news director of Fijivillage News.

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