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    Fiji Closes Big Cities as Rise of COVID-19 Cases – Diplomat


    Oceania | Society | Oceania

    Health officials believe the virus found its way into the community after a soldier providing protection at a quarantine facility became infected.

    At the end of last month, Fiji ordered its two largest cities to be in lockdown as the Pacific island nation recorded the first cases of community transmission of COVID-19 as some cases were identified at the onset of the epidemic. .

    The new community broadcast surprised many Fijians, with cases reported only in hotel quarantines in the last 12 months. Confirmed cases have steadily increased since the Fijian soldier was infected at the quarantine facility, with active cases jumping to 50 in two weeks. Seemingly trivial compared to the 400,000 cases reported daily in India or the 300,000 cases reported back in January, this is a major hit for a country that had high hopes of making it through the epidemic.

    Health officials believe the virus found its way into the community after a soldier who provided protection at a quarantine facility was infected and passed the virus on to a housekeeper, who provided several members of her family and other soldiers with the facility Infected in. More than 330 people, who came in contact with the woman, are believed to have been forced into isolation while police began enforcing strict 24-hour curfews in Fiji’s largest cities and surrounding towns, Unless anyone is allowed to leave their home. medical emergency.

    Despite contact tracing efforts and the snap lockdown of Urban Hub, cases continue to increase, with new areas being forced into lockdowns and existing lockdowns being extended. In addition to an increase in cases in the community, cases inside quarantine have also increased due to soldiers who recently returned to the country after serving with each other on a UN peace mission “fraternity” Fiji Permanent Secretary of Health Dr. According to James Fong.

    Confirming that it is the Indian version of COVID-19 that has begun to spread in Fiji, Fong said that the Fijians did not allow the threat to subside.

    “We cannot allow that nightmare to happen in Fiji. We still have time to stop this from happening, but a single accident will bring about the same COVID tsunami that our friends in India, Brazil, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States are permanent, ”he said.

    While Fiji has so far done well in not allowing the virus to catch on, the economic impact of the epidemic has been severe. Fiji’s economy declined by 19 percent in 2020 – the most severe contraction in Fiji’s history – while unemployment rose to 27 percent, According to the World Bank. Fiji’s tourism industry, which contributes 39 percent of pre-COVID-19 GDP, came to a standstill.

    The projected return of Fiji’s growth in 2021 assumed that incoming visitors would reach half the level of 2019 and with Fiji, Australia and New Zealand close to agreeing on a “travel bubble” between them, expectations were high. But the recent spike in cases in Fiji has made that outcome more uncertain.

    In addition, the lockdown in Nadi, Fiji’s third-largest city, has led to the closure of about 80 percent of businesses, Nadi’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NCCI) said.

    NCCI President Dr. Rajiv said, “If the lockout and restrictions continue, then there is a possibility of problems in the society.” Told the Fiji Times.

    Australia’s High Commissioner Fiji arrives late last week with John Faces Announced Australia will provide an additional 55 million Australian dollars (US $ 42.5 million) in general budget support to assist the Fijian government in efforts to manage the current outbreak.

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