Fiji government must give ‘critical’ covid-19 crisis timeline, says lawyer

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Fiji lawyer Richard Naidu 250621
Fiji lawyer Richard Naidu ... “We need to weigh the credibility of the information we are given.” Image: Jovesa Naisua/Fiji Times file

By Felix Chaudhary in Suva

The Fiji government and other health experts must give the country a covid-19 crisis timeline, says prominent lawyer Richard Naidu.

He said they must provide some indication of how bad the pandemic would get and when they believed things would improve.

Naidu said this was imperative because the future of Fiji was dependent on the information.

“Businesses need to budget ahead,” he said.

“Many employers want to spread their remaining cash to help their workers.

“But they don’t know how long they will have to do it.

“Welfare organisations need to plan their future support for people who have been kept away from their work and have no income.

Schools need to plan
“Schools and parents need to plan for how long students will not be in class.

“Health professionals and family members need to plan for how to look after chronically ill people without access to normal health care.”

Naidu said the Fijian people needed a best case and worst-case scenario.

“And, of course, we need to know whose assessments they are,” he said.

“The government’s experts may say one thing.

“Other experts may take a different view.

“We need to weigh the credibility of the information we are given.”

Real-time information
Naidu said getting real-time information from the Health Ministry was critical to decision-making “but equally important are projections for the next three-month and six-month periods”.

He said Fijians needed to understand the possible number of cases the country would face and where they would peak.

“We also need to understand when those numbers will begin to decline and when we will return to some level of community safety.”

Health Secretary Dr James Fong did not respond to the concerns raised by Naidu.

RNZ News reports that the Fiji government has announced that it was too early to say if the coronavirus would be an endemic disease in the country.

This comes amid 12 deaths and more than 2000 infections recorded since the latest outbreak started in April. Prior to this, there were two deaths and 70 cases in March 2020.

Felix Chaudhary is a Fiji Times reporter. This article is republished with permission.

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