Curfew to remain

Do not expect COVID-19 restrictions and the curfew to be lifted any time soon.

Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete said Fiji must keep its guard up even though the country is COVID-19-contained.

He made the comment in response to a question raised yesterday on whether the ministry would recommend to Government the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and curfew hours.

Dr Waqainabete said it was important for people to note the rise in COVID-19 infections in countries across the world and the stringent lockdowns being enforced.

The minister also highlighted a statement by World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that herd immunity was a “scientifically and ethically problematic” strategy for pandemics.

Dr Waqainabete said herd immunity was a scenario where a large enough share of the population was vaccinated against a disease to prevent it from spreading widely, thereby providing default protection to a minority who have not been vaccinated.

“This is something that WHO, Ministry of Health and the Fijian Government don’t believe in because we certainly believe that we need to protect everybody,” he said.

“The vulnerable in our communities and what we are seeing on the data from around the world that the vulnerable and the fragile lose their life in this pandemic.

“We are also seeing that the evolution of this pandemic continues to change in the way it performs and behaves.

“We understand that even though we are COVID-contained, even though there is no COVID-19 in Fiji, we must continue to behave in the new normal, making sure that we have hand and personal hygiene.”