COVID-19: Narube blames state for deaths

Unity Fiji Party leader Savenaca Narube during an earlier interview. Picture: FILE/ ELIKI NUKUTABU

Businesses will recover, jobs will come back, but the lives are lost forever.

These were the sentiments of Unity Fiji party leader Savenaca Narube in a statement calling for the remembrance of the decision by Government not to lock the country down in the early stages of the second wave of the pandemic, which he says cost us many lives.

“As the country painfully emerges from the COVID-19 crisis, we hear self-congratulations by this government,” he said.

“There is absolutely nothing to gloat about.” Mr Narube said accountability for the deaths of those who succumbed to the virus belongs squarely with the FijiFirst Government.

“A Unity Fiji government will initiate a full investigation into the management of the crisis by this government.

“We owe it to the many lives that have been tragically lost.”

Requests for a response to Mr Narube’s statement were sent to Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Minister for Health Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete and remained unanswered when this edition went to press.

Let us not forget that the decision of the Government not to lock the country down early in the second wave has cost us many lives, says Unity Fiji party leader Savenaca Narube.

In a statement, Mr Narube said that as the country painfully emerged from the COVID-19 crisis self-congratulations were heard from the Government.

He said Fiji’s COVID-19 performance should be compared with New Zealand and parts of Australia that responded hard and early in the second wave of the virus despite protests from businesses and have seen smaller numbers of deaths.

He added the death rate from COVID-19 per 100,000 population was only 0.5 in New Zealand and 10 in Australia, compared with 85 people per 100,000 population in Fiji, and that being an underestimation, meant the death rate in Fiji was at least eight times those in Australia and 160 times that of New Zealand.

“The suffering has been severe, life has been extremely difficult and the crisis is not over by a long shot,” he said.

He said in the hour of greatest need, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama was absent emerging to claim the credit when the skies started clearing up.

“I think Dr (James) Fong who has been facing the entire country alone with the bad news in the last six months, should now be given the honour to announce the good news.”

He said a Unity Fiji Government would initiate a full investigation into the management of the crisis by this Government.

Meanwhile, recently Mr Bainimarama assured Fijians his Government was in firm control of the pandemic situation and they had nothing to fear.

The permanent secretary for the Ministry of Health Dr Fong declined to comment.

Requests for response to Mr Narube’s statement were sent to Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum and Minister for Health Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete and remained unanswered when this edition went to press.

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