The Fiji Times: Maintaining physical distancing

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Passengers at Suva Bus Terminal
Passengers wait to board for their destinations at the Suva Bus Terminal yesterday ... "physical distancing rules, and common sense". Image: Atu Rasea/The Fiji Times

EDITORIAL: The Fiji Times

As the number of Fiji’s covid-19 positive cases continues to rise, there is obvious discomfort and great concern among many Fijians.

This is to be expected. When you consider the recent easing of border restrictions in strategic areas around the country, there will be some sense of trepidation.

We may fall back on the advice and reassurance of the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, however, it is still difficult for many people to accept the recent turn of events. The rising numbers are worrying.

The Fiji TimesThey are a major concern. Interestingly, in the face of the rising numbers sits questions on adherence to physical distancing rules, and common sense.

There will be issues hovering around public transportation for instance, social gatherings, and funerals.

We learn that public service vehicle (PSV) operators are saying people need to adhere to covid-19 restrictions and social distancing requirements.

This reaction comes in the wake of concerns raised about crowding on PSVs in the Lami, Suva and Nausori containment zone.

It is frightening to note the rise in numbers. However, we can be buoyed by the fact that we know what to do to keep the virus away.

Fiji Bus Operators Association president Nisar Ali said information on social distancing protocols has been widely disseminated and people should follow them.

It was everybody’s responsibility, he pointed out, to ensure that when travelling on public service vehicles, they maintained social distancing.

Drivers, he said, could only tell the travelling public to distance themselves and enforcement was done by the Land Transport Authority and the Ministry of Health and Medical Services.

Fiji Taxi Association president Raben Singh said the same protocols introduced when covid-19 first came applied to taxis.

He said no one would be allowed into taxis without a mask and passenger numbers were now limited.

“Drivers are even selling masks to help facilitate their travel, but people should not be moving around unnecessarily.”

In the face of all these rules, police spokeswoman Savaira Tabua said they would continue to restrict movements of people despite the uplifting of borders.

“Our officers are manning checkpoints to ensure restrictions are followed,” she said.

“We would also like to encourage the public to be responsible. We will not be everywhere, therefore, their support is needed.”

The onus really is on us as individuals to make sound decisions daily. It is unfortunate that many people are not adhering to physical distancing rules when they board buses and cabs. The question is how do we ensure this is done though!

This certainly isn’t the time to be living dangerously. It’s clear that the cluster that attended a funeral recently came off as a major spreader of the virus.

It is a tough ask, but we can only hope that Fijians consider this when farewelling loved ones moving forward.

It is frightening to note the rise in numbers. However, we can be buoyed by the fact that we know what to do to keep the virus away.

The challenge is to be vigilant. Thousands of Fijians depend on us all making the right decisions daily.

The Fiji Times editorial, 3 June 2021. Republished with permission.

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