COVID-19 crisis timeline ‘critical’

Munro Leys lawyer Richard Naidu outside the Suva High Court. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA/FILE

Government and other health experts must give Fiji 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.

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

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

Mr 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 Ministry permanent secretary Dr James Fong did not respond to the concerns raised by Mr Naidu.

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